5 Ways to Organise Your Work Life as a Freelancer
Freelancing has many perks: from being your own boss to having the freedom to start your day at 2PM and dash off on a holiday at any time, it definitely sounds more glamorous than a typical 9-5 office job. But working for yourself also requires additional skills such as organising your time and space.
Hence, freelancing can be stressful: 67% of self-employed, interviewed for a recent Leapers report, felt that even taking time off created stress for them, and 47% declared being stressed from not having control over their own working hours or workload.
The VM is sharing a few tips that could help you get your freelance routine — and stress level — under control.
1. Track time to switch between projects
When you’ve got several projects you’re working on, keeping track of the time you spend on them can be hectic and add an additional worry when you least need it. Luckily there are apps that will calculate the hours you dedicate to a project for you, like Clockodo or Toggl. Both free, they allow you to easily switch between projects and give you weekly reports that you can use when compiling your invoices.
2. Set up boundaries — social and physical
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get distracted, wander outside for that cup of coffee you’ve been promising your friend for months and end up working in your pyjamas without getting out of bed.
To each their own, of course, but having a clear distinction between work and “life” could help you be more efficient in the former part — and more relaxed in the latter.
An example of how you could set a boundary in your physical space is to separate an angle in your house that will be used only when working. Changing into a clean ironed shirt can also help you get into the working mode, as is putting your hair up and wearing shoes. When it comes to social boundaries, you might find it helpful to set a working schedule, during which you are “inaccessible” for social engagements, as if you were in an office.
3. Use your calendar
It may sound like an additional task you didn’t need, but using your calendar (whichever one you prefer) can help you visualise your work and be more efficient as a consequence. You can have fun here: use different colours for different projects/commitments or to separate your work from life — say, use yellow for work meetings and red for gym classes.
One more tip: don’t overcrowd your calendar, as this might have the opposite effect: waste your time and stress you out. “Feed the cat” doesn’t need a half-hour slot in your calendar, but “call with potential client” does.
So find what works for you, set rules for yourself from the get-go and stick to them.
4. Make time for administration
The less fun part of freelancing is taking care of admin: from sending invoices to filling in tax return forms.
But let’s face it: the longer you put it off, the more files will pile up on your (cirtual or physical) desk, so be wiser and get it done without leaving it to last minute.
There are dozens of online services that make invoicing for freelancers easier, depending on type of business and country. From Zoho to Quaderno, take some time to familiarize yourself with them and pick one that does it for you. If you’re and established freelancer with a steady income, you might even think of hiring a personal assistant to outsource your admin to — there are plenty to choose from on Fiverr or Upwork.
5. Make the mosts of technology
Wouldn’t it be cool though if there was a magic app that could take care of all of that though? Well, there’s something similar. Services like Harlow work as aggregators that allow you to handle all of your freelancing stuff in one place: from contracts and invoices to to-do lists and time tracking.
Technology is constantly evolving and with freelancing becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle (70% of freelancers say perceptions of freelancing as a career are more favorable than in previous years), more and more services are becoming available to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable.
You just have to keep an eye out.