So you’ve been hired as a freelance assistant and you actually work 2 different jobs. How do you manage two jobs and make your deadlines?
Scheduling is the key to success! It could be writing a timeline, to do lists, using a calendar app for your phone. Whatever works for you use it.
If you get busy enough, you have to find a way to keep all your projects in line. The Who, What, Why and When of freelancing is important when scheduling your tasks.
- Who – are you working for? Remember who is paying your bills when working with a client, the most important thing is keeping them happy with the work you are completing for them.
- What – are the projects you are currently working on? Stay focused on the job at hand.
- Why – are your working as a freelancer? Always remember why you have chosen to work for yourself (it will keep you motivated)
- When – are the projects due? Don’t let deadlines sneak up on you, get things completed in a timely manner.
So now that we have ourselves focused we need to learn how to use the scheduling tool properly.
- Timeline – This is the method that I use, as seen before in “Organizing, Scheduling and Menu Planning…No one ever said it was easy!” I have a dry erase board. The night before I write what I want/have to accomplish the next day. If you are working for more than one customer be sure to use names/initials to identify what project is due for whom. *If it helps you can use different color markers for each client*.
- To Do List – Just writing an ongoing list of what you need to do, usually on paper so it is portable.
- Calendar App – This works well for a lot of freelancers because everything is at your fingertips. You literally schedule out your day and use your calendar on your smart phone. It’s nifty because you can schedule reminders and you will get an alarm telling you what you should be doing.
I am sure there are many other ways to schedule your tasks but these are the most popular. I prefer the Timeline on the dry erase board because when I tend to daydream I will end up looking at the board and that gets me refocused.
Remember when working as a freelancer you are your own boss and this is not time for excuses. You want to make sure you complete any project a client gives you within the time frame you quote the client. This is your reputation on the line, you hold your own future in your hands. If you cannot fulfill your contract with your client there is a problem.
When quoting your services to your client you need to be sure your honest with time frames. Don’t promise the moon if you can’t deliver. Don’t think you can quote a short time frame and produce a less than stellar project and expect a good rating either. You need to look at the project, think about the time frame (factor in issues e.g. computer problems, software malfunctions, etc.) and give a realistic quote. This is not time to see if you are superhero of the clerical world.
Right now my day is stressful because I have my 18, 9, and 7-year-old children at home for summer vacation. This makes my schedule very hard because the older kids are unpredictable so it’s hard to schedule and stick to it.
When the kids go back to school I will be working around the baby’s naps. This will give me 4 hours of uninterrupted work during the day and when the baby is awake I will be doing Mommy Chores (laundry, cleaning, cooking, and baby care). I did the math and I have 7 hours of down time during the day and evening to work (which is about a normal workday minus lunch). The good thing about freelancing is when the weather is ugly, and you don’t have things planned working on the weekend is not bad.
I hoped I gave helpful hints and insights in this post.
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Next post I will be covering “The Internet is Your Oyster” I will be blogging about free online services you can use for your freelance business.