If you’re self-employed, more likely than not you’ve run into difficulties managing your time effectively. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. But if you would like to change your behaviour and get the most out of the time that you spend working every day, then you’ve come to the right place! Below you will find ten easy steps to creating and following a schedule that will maximize your effectiveness and earning potential.
Crafting A Schedule
Your schedule is going to vary dramatically based on several factors, such as whether or not you have children or the field that you are working in. But a basic run-down of your schedule should include the following: start time, breaks, meals, and an end time. Make sure that your schedule is flexible enough that you have some spare time to make up for any difficulties that you encounter.
Stay Well Rested
My grandfather once gave me a very helpful piece of advice and I’m going to pass it on to you here. He told me “Everyday of your life starts the night before.” Meaning that if you’re not well rested, your odds of being able to stay on task diminish dramatically. So don’t stay up all night watching Netflix! I know that last season of “House of Cards” was great, but it’ll be there tomorrow.
Yes, I know that you’re an adult now and no one can force you to eat your vegetables any more. Just try to keep in mind that your diet directly correlates with the amount of energy that you will have throughout the day. So if you’re always feeling sluggish in the afternoon or find yourself unable to focus, try to refrain from indulging in processed foods and eat something that will give you the energy that you need to do your best work.
Start At The Same Time Every Morning
If you’re self-employed one of your most important goals (excluding making money of course) is doing everything that you can to remain consistent. Consistency will make it easier to put yourself in a frame of mind that will allow you to work to your fullest potential.
Start When You’re Ready
You may find yourself tempted to start working right after you manage to roll yourself out of bed. However, if you want to remain productive throughout the day this is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. It’s very important that you’re fully alert before you start working or you’re going to spend a large portion of your time fixing mistakes that you made when you were in the process of waking up. So don’t feel like you have to jump right into your task, take some time to get ready to face the day.
Hone Your Skills
Try to keep a portion of your day dedicated to improving your skills in your field. If you’re a writer, read a blog dedicated to all of the various ins-and-outs of grammar. If you spend your time designing websites or graphics, browse the web to find inspiration. Taking even 15 minutes a day to improve your skills will help raise your skill level above that of your competitors, improve your reputation, and get you more work in the future.
Take Frequent Breaks
While this may seem counter productive at first, one of the most important pieces of your schedule are breaks. Working for long stretches of time on the computer without any rest can put you at risk for a repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel. Try to take a five to ten minute break every hour or so, your body will thank you.
Have A Set End Time (And Stick To It)
An important part of creating your schedule is making sure that it ends. You should have plenty of time at the end of the day to put your feet up and relax. Everyone needs the time to enjoy themselves and you’re no different. Try to place the end of your schedule two or three hours before you go to bed at the very latest. Then take some time to get caught up on your favourite shows or to browse the web, you’ve earned it!
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Nobody can live a happy and fulfilling life if they’re working 80 hour weeks. Creating a schedule that doesn’t allow for breaks or takes up almost all of your waking hours is exhausting and will quickly lead to you being burned out. Your schedule should make your life easier, not keep you from living it.
Freelancing is not a job for the faint of heart, and you should expect to face rejection on an almost daily basis. But instead of focusing on your failures, try to keep your attention fixed on your success. Whatever you’ve decided to pursue as a career just think of how much better you are then when you started. Allowing yourself to get discouraged can stall your career. So keep your chin up and push through, you can do this!
Have you got any tips? Let me know in the comments below.