Managing Your Time5:40 with Pasan Premaratne
Aside from our project activities, there are plenty of other tasks that freelancers need to manage. Time management is essential in figuring out how to balance your duties and in this video, we spend some time talking about the different ways we can be more efficient with our time.
In addition to developing a proper workflow, 0:00 one of the essential skill sets for a freelancer to develop is good time management. 0:03 Let's take a step back from some of the more technical stuff we've been talking about—proposals and all—and let's talk about time. 0:08 There are 2 separate areas of time management that are important as a freelancer. 0:15 First, you have to manage your time efficiently when it comes to working on your projects. 0:20 Then, there's time spent on non-project-related activities. 0:25 Projects bring in direct revenue, and most freelancers don't have any problem dedicating time toward these tasks. 0:29 It's the non-project-related activities that get neglected. 0:36 While they don't bring in short-term revenue, 0:39 they contribute to your long-term success and need to be considered on a recurring basis. 0:41 The danger, when you work on your own and work at home, 0:47 is that it becomes hard to compartmentalize time. 0:50 Certain people tend to work all the time, which is unhealthy, 0:54 and others tend to get distracted easily. 0:57 Setting aside time strictly for work and knowing how to say, "I'm done for the day" 1:00 will make you more efficient in getting your tasks done and you won't burn out so quickly. 1:04 But how do you get better at time management? 1:10 There are so many approaches that you can follow and plenty of books have been written on them. 1:13 We're going to look at some of the ways you can get a start on how to handle your time. 1:17 Start by being goal-oriented. 1:22 If you start your day without a specific objective in mind, 1:24 then you're going to just work on tasks as you remember them. 1:28 This won't help at all when it comes to delivering the final project on time 1:31 and making sure things fall into place when you need them to. 1:35 The best way to tackle this is to start a project with high-level goals. 1:39 If you created a timeline like we did earlier, then you have milestones that you need to hit at the end of each week. 1:43 Take a weekly milestone and break it down into specific daily goals. 1:50 Now, you don't have to do this for the entire project at once. 1:54 At the end of each week, set your daily goals for the following week only. 1:57 That way, if things change and you need to accommodate, you are flexible enough to adapt your goals. 2:02 Having a goal that you are working toward will make it much easier to stay focused until that specific goal has been accomplished. 2:07 Once you have set goals, you can become even more efficient by setting deadlines on these goals. 2:14 If you followed our plan and started at a higher level, 2:20 you probably already have these deadlines in place. 2:23 Now, that's great. Set deadlines on your daily and weekly goals as well, and you will get things done much faster. 2:26 The key is to have a good balance between flexibility and efficiency. 2:32 One of the reasons you probably branched out into freelancing is because you wanted your own flexibility. 2:37 Don't shy away from this—the deadline is there as a reminder 2:42 that if you want to deliver the project on a certain date, 2:45 these are the dates and times you need to hit to get your work done and keep your client happy. 2:48 If you miss a deadline, don't work late into the night or work on the weekends. 2:54 This gets us to our next point: Have a set ending time. 2:58 Don't be tempted to work longer than you want to. 3:03 You may think that working late into the night and delivering the project faster will get you bonus points, 3:05 but there are 2 reasons why this won't work—actually, there are plenty of reasons, but we'll just go over 2 points 3:11 First is the law of diminishing returns. Now, this is a concept borrowed from economics. 3:17 To explain it very simply, the longer you work, the lower the quality of your work. 3:22 Your brain will get tired and you won't be producing your best results if you work 15 to 18-hour days. 3:27 The client may be ecstatic that you delivered earlier than expected, 3:33 and that's great, but the next time, they will expect the same results. 3:37 If you work normal hours and take a few days or weeks extra, 3:41 they're going to be unhappy that you're working slower, based on their past experiences with you. 3:45 So avoid all these situations. 3:50 If you're being goal-oriented and producing quality work, but consistently missing deadlines, 3:53 that doesn't mean you should be working longer or faster. 3:58 It probably means that you didn't set realistic deadlines to begin with. 4:01 Take notes about how long it takes you to finish tasks 4:05 and use what you learn to set more realistic expectations, 4:09 both with yourself and when communicating with the client. 4:11 Finally, understand your time. We're not great at every single thing, and that's fine. 4:16 Working to become more efficient with our time management means not only utilizing our time better, 4:21 but also understanding where we waste time. 4:27 Certain activities take us much longer to complete 4:30 and we can compensate by allocating more time to those activities 4:33 or educating ourselves on that activity to become more efficient at it. 4:36 Roughly track your time on each activity to get an idea where you can improve. 4:41 Be as granular as you want to be. 4:45 Now, I'm not asking you to punch in and out of work, 4:48 but if that's the kind of day that you want, go for it. 4:50 As you get better at managing your time and understanding your workflow, 4:53 you will start to learn how to group tasks to be more efficient, 4:57 and form good habits as a result. 5:00 Another tip to keep you focused is to take breaks often—as paradoxical as that sounds. 5:03 Now, I prefer the Pomodoro Technique and it works great for me, but it may not be the best for you. 5:08 Understand when you're starting to get stressed or mentally fatigued 5:13 and take a break to get you back on track. 5:17 If you want to know more about the Pomodoro Technique, 5:20 check out the Quick Tip I made in the link provided below. 5:22 Incorporating what we have learned about project workflow and time management, 5:26 we should be able to get a good grasp on how to work on projects. 5:30 But that still leaves us with non-project-related activities. 5:34 Let's figure out how to tackle those next. 5:37
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