How To Manage Your Time As A Freelancer

woman holding a clock

Time management is an important aspect of a freelancer’s life – especially for stay at home mothers. You need to learn how to balance your time because when you are not working, you are not earning. At the same time, you need to take care of home-related responsibilities that were the very reason why you opted to work from home. If you try to obsess about it, you will realize that you will never have enough time to finish everything. In most cases, you might even overwork yourself.

That had been one of my struggles for the past few months.

Now I am not going to make excuses for my long hiatus but let me just give you a brief scenario of the reason why it took me 7 months to update this blog site..

My 3 year old son started going to school and the mother in me just couldn’t help but feel very excited for this new milestone in his life. We also enrolled him in summer school to see if he can skip one year and proceed to Junior Kinder. Well he passed (Yipee!) and all the hard work paid off. I am brimming with pride and joy and I just want to share what I have learned for the past couple of months.

Obviously, time management was a big issue for me while my son was in school. He is at an age wherein he cannot be left alone in school. That meant I had to stay with him and the waiting eats up my precious time. But since I’m committed to guide him and be a supportive mom, I am not complaining. But it does bring up some issues about how I can manage my time better as a mother and a freelance writer.

The thing is, when my son started to go to school, a lot of job offers suddenly poured in. If you work on oDesk, you should know that there is this new feature wherein you get invites for interviews. Well I got a couple and it became a struggle between the mom and freelancer in me as to whether I should accept them or not. I was tempted to decline and focus on my son’s schooling but I knew that my husband and I needed the extra income to save up for my son’s tuition.

This is where time management became a real savior in my freelancing life. I knew that I could not sacrifice the attention that my son needed but I also had to boost the freelancing jobs that I had to take on. So here are the things that I did to cope with what could have been a chaotic time in our household.

  1. I put everything on schedule. Before the start of every week, I wrote down all the projects and chores that I had to accomplish and plotted everything in my schedule sheet. That way, I knew what had to be done the moment I woke up, while my son was sleeping, etc. I was very detailed at first and I found myself consulting this sheet every now and then. I set at time limit for each project and task to make sure that I finished them on time.
  2. I built my schedule on my priorities. I had to weigh the important tasks and this time, it was my son’s schooling. I built my freelancing career and household chores around that time to make sure that the priorities will not be compromised.
  3. I took note of those that were not my priorities. I ranked my tasks to identify which of them can be given up. That way, when certain tasks took longer than planned, I knew what to give up or move to another day.
  4. I did not obsess about the changes. Now this did not happen immediately. I initially, became upset when things did not go according to my schedule. But I soon learned how to let go of the things that I could not control. I just made sure that my schedule have some free time that can be used for the tasks that I needed to move because some projects took longer to finish.

If you find yourself faced with a lot of things to do, planning really goes a long way. This is how time management helped me be there for my son and at the same time, allowed me to put in more time on my freelancing career to save up for his tuition fee.

How about you? Do you have time management issues in your work?

Image courtesy of stockimages for FreeDigitalPhotos.net.