As a Freelancer or contractor you may find there just aren’t enough hours in the day. You probably have to multitask much of the day to get work completed on time. Here are some simple time saving tips to help you with the smaller tasks in your day.
Plan, plan, plan.
It instantly helps your work flow if you have a plan in place for your working day. Various research shows that people are most productive during the first two hours of their working day so it’s a good idea to write your to do list the night before. That way you can focus on ticking tasks off your list as soon as you start work. Clearly your list is going to change almost hourly, but simply writing each item down will allow you to stay on track.
Take advantage of Voicemail and out of office
It’s not an easy discipline to adopt, but you’ll soon find that if you can allow voicemail to take the strain when you’re up against it you’ll be much more efficient. Similarly, by logging out of email for an hour or two, you’ll be able to focus on completing tasks without the constant interruption of email alerts and the temptation to deal with them as soon as they drop into your inbox. Simply removing as many potential distractions as possible for set periods of time during your day will improve concentration and output.
Mobiles and tablets
If your contracts mean you need to travel a lot take advantage of (public) travelling times and waiting rooms. Even five minutes on a mobile device will mean one less email to respond to when you get back to the office.
Pick the right jobs
It’s sometimes tempting to take on jobs that don’t closely match your area expertise, particularly when you feel you could competently take them on. Once these projects start you may find that you need to pick up extra skills or do more research to complete them. Stick to your area and you’ll complete work quicker and keep your clients happier.
Use productivity tools
You can download or use an online productivity tool to keep you on track. They’ll help you to stay focused by limiting the amount of time you spend on ‘time-wasting’ websites. You can also use online time-tracking tools which will give the feeling of being monitored making it more likely for you to stay on track.
We’ve mentioned this before in our ‘managing multiple clients’ post, but as well as helping in that respect it will save you many wasted hours. Doing more than one thing at a time has been proven to be counter-productive , it can slow you down from distraction as well as making you more likely to make a mistake.