As a freelancer, you’re bound to have the envy of your friends and family, but a lot of the time there doesn’t seem to be much ‘free’ in freelancer. Most of your time is taken up by work and the remaining moments by tasks that people think you can handle because you work from home.

Being a freelancer is arguably much more difficult than being an employee. You’re likely to work on an hourly or per project basis rather than a salary, and that means that you’re always working flat out. If you don’t, you’re losing money.

With that in mind you want to achieve two things; to work more efficiently when you’re at your desk and to waste less time away from it. This will give you more free time, allow you to achieve more with less and will give you the freedom that you always lusted after.

Eat the Frog

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

An overwhelming majority of workers struggle with procrastination and 20% of all workers can be classified as ‘chronic procrastinators.’ But once we get started we often have no problem finishing the tasks on time.

So, the problem is getting started. We always have something better to do, and the thought of doing the work usually is worse than the work itself. Therefore, we have to game ourselves to act when our motivation is strongest and build momentum.

If you struggle with procrastination, then it might seem logical to start with the small tasks, giving yourself some easy wins. Then, only when you’ve got into the rhythm of things will you tackle your largest and most difficult tasks.

While this is nice in theory, our willpower drops throughout the day, and by the time you get to your biggest tasks, it’s very easy to put them off until another day.

Instead, you need to eat the frog.

Eating the frog is when you start the day with the task that you are dreading doing. This could be a project that is exceptionally difficult, or it might just be a chore like gardening that you hate. Either way, by striking when your willpower is highest you’re most likely to succeed.

And when you do succeed, you’ll know that it only gets easier from here. The day is downhill so when your willpower begins to drop there is less and less demanded by each task.

Plan Excessively

StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay

If you’re struggling to segment your time effectively to ensure that by the end of the day you’ve achieved what you needed to, then you need to plan excessively. Planning isn’t a waste of time.

One of the most intuitive planning methods is the humble calendar. Take an hour by hour calendar and religiously segment your time for every moment that you’re awake.

Want to eat three meals tomorrow? You better plan them into your calendar then. If it’s not on your schedule, then it doesn’t get done, that’s the rule. Sometimes acting like a robot and following exact directions is the only way to get things done.

The great thing about using a calendar as a freelancer is that it forces you to look at the deadlines of projects and plan accordingly. It’s hard to justify working on that job the night before when you plan each hour of your life ahead of time.

Using a calendar is the best way to ensure that deadlines are met, procrastination is avoided and your free time is free for you to relax and enjoy yourself.

Work in Bursts

freeGraphicToday / Pixabay

Although it’s smart to plan your day like a robot would, you’re still human, and that means that you’re going to get distracted and wish you were doing something else. Often this is because we look at large tasks ahead of us and get overwhelmed.

The Pomodoro Technique is a method whereby you work in short bursts to maximize your efficiency, reducing a large task down into smaller time restricted segments.

The traditional method calls for twenty-five-minute bursts of work, separated by a five-minute break. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you are free to take a thirty-minute break.

The principle of the Pomodoro is that it’s indivisible. You must work for the entire twenty-five-minute stretch, and you can’t only use a part of a Pomodoro or quickly jump to another task. Your goal is to work on a single task and get into a state of ‘flow’ so that it becomes easy.

Practice Saying No

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Working from home is convenient and comfortable, but it also makes it difficult to separate from the demands of your home life. Rather than working on that looming deadline, it becomes exceptionally easy to choose to vacuum the house or do the dishes instead.

This often extends to your family and friends, who think that because you work from home that you have the time to grab that package for them or let the plumber into their house.

As tough as it’s going to be, you have to practice saying ‘no.’ If you’re high on agreeableness then you’ve probably never been good at saying ‘no,’ after all, you want to please everybody.

But when your home and work life are intertwined as they are for many freelancers, you have to be ruthless with your time. The consequences of not being ruthless are severe, not only will your work suffer but your home life is likely to become the target of resentment.

The next time that somebody asks you to do something that you would rather not, tell them ‘no.’ Don’t create a white lie to protect their feelings, tell them the truth. You’re too busy with work at the moment to help them with their task.

Saying no to our friends and family can be overwhelmingly stressful, but it’s the only way to ensure that you get the time that your freelance work demands. If you can’t, the only solution is to work outside of your house so that you’re not physically there to help.

Freelancing can have immense benefits and be quite enjoyable, but you’re the only one who can budget and manage your time. Doing so effectively will boost productivity, improve your outlook, and give you more time to do the things you love.