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As a freelancer, your time spent working is very crucial since you only get paid for the work you complete and submit. Yet if you’re running your own small business you have to take care of administrative duties.

These duties include tasks like checking and responding to email. You have to send invoices, pitch jobs and network. You also have to promote yourself and your services.

While many of those tasks are necessary for your success, they are basically unpaid. Dedicating time to these tasks is important, but spending too much time on them can eat into your profits and create an income problem.

They key is to establish a solid balance between paid and unpaid tasks when you’re freelancing. Here are some of the best ways to better manage your time to support that level of balance.

Set a Timer

If you’re worried you’re spending too much time on unpaid tasks instead of freelancing, set a timer to time yourself while you work on unpaid admin responsibilities.

Timing yourself will provide you with an accurate understanding of how much time you’re spending on each task, and it can even motivate you to work more efficiently.

If you only allow yourself 10 minutes to send out invoices and 25 minutes to check and respond to email daily, you won’t have to worry about wasting hours on end completing these tasks.

Get Organized to Avoid Unpaid Tasks

Sometimes, simply getting organized can help you save time and energy. If you know you need to pay quarterly freelance taxes, make sure you set up a spreadsheet to sign up for bookkeeping software so you can track your income and expenses.

Nothing is worse than having to spend hours getting all your tax information organized. If you can spare a few minutes each week to go over income and expenses and file away emails and other documents, you’ll be much more organized and save yourself a ton of time and frustration.


If you do the same unpaid task each day, week, or month, see if you can automate it to save yourself some time. Create email drafts you can send to answer common questions you receive.

You can also schedule social media posts to promote yourself and your work so you can reach more potential clients. You can also sign up to receive email alerts from different job board sites.

Depending on what invoicing software you have, you may be able to set up templates so you can bill clients quicker. When it comes to networking, you can sign up for Meetup groups and receive notifications for events you might be interested in so you don’t have to seek them out yourself.

Joining local Meetup groups can be a great way to connect with others in your niche and once you’re a member of a particular group, you’ll often be automatically approved to join any event or workshop.

Hire Help

Finally, you may want to consider hiring someone to help complete your unpaid admin tasks. I know this may sound counterproductive since you’ll be paying someone to do work that you wouldn’t even get paid to do.

However, if you can earn money by gaining that extra time back, it might be worth it. Do the math and run some numbers to see if hiring a virtual assistant to help you.

A virtual assistant can schedule social posts, find clients, send invoices, or manage your email will actually help you be more profitable.

For example, if you’re able to take on a whole new client after freeing up time, you may be able to earn money (even after paying a VA) than you would have made in the first place.

Or, if your goal to just to have more peace of mind and flexibility in your work day, handing over the reigns to someone else may allow you to have that extra free time you desperately crave and make it well worth the cost.


Doing unpaid admin tasks may not be your favorite thing, but it’s necessary if you wish to keep your business running smoothly. You can regain control of your schedule when you use these tips to better manage your time spent on these tasks so they don’t take over your entire workday.