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How To Create Your Freelancing Schedule

How To Create Your Freelancing Schedule

Schedule? Isn’t having no schedule one of the allures of freelancing? We didn’t want to be tied to a 9-5 and that was one of the many pros of freelancing, right?

Well, yeah. That is correct, but it is not realistic. Take it from someone with a lot of experience with this, having done it the wrong way for years! You don’t have to work 9-5 or 8-4 or any other set times like that. That isn’t what I’m saying. What I am saying is you need to develop a schedule that fits your needs, both personal and professional, and stick to it.

If you don’t, I promise you don’t just risk getting burned out or not getting things done in time, it WILL happen!

Not only should you have a “general” schedule of working hours but you should assign the last small chunk of your day, say 15-20 minutes, to plan out the following day.

FIND THE TIMES YOU ARE MOST PRODUCTIVE

Have you heard of the term “circadian rhythm”? What about “Night Owl” or “Early Bird”? Well, it turns out these are real things. Some of us are night owls and some of us are at our peak performance in the mornings, early birds.

Use this when setting your schedule. Find the time you are most productive and arrange at least some of your work during those hours. Of course, some of your tasks that involve meeting with your client may have to take place during their working hours, but the bulk of your work can be done any time you choose.

Sleeping Cat

ASSIGN DEGREES OF URGENCY TO TASKS

Starting out, this may not be as important but once you have a few clients on your hands and your schedule starts to fill up with tasks from multiple projects, you’ll start to see how important this step is. Tasks that are urgent and important should be listed at the top so you complete those first, then tasks that are just urgent, then tasks that are just important, and finally the other tasks that are not tagged with either urgent or important.

This gives you a list of to-dos that are arranged by level of importance, allowing you to be sure to knock the most pressing things off the list first. It makes no sense working on something like, let’s say, building out your personal freelancing content calendar when you have a deadline on a client task quickly approaching.

SET FIRM BOUNDARIES

You are probably working from home as a freelancer, right? Not many of us have offices to go to. That is another perk of becoming a freelancer, but it can be a double edged sword, like many of the perks. It is often very easy for the lines between our personal lives and our professional lives to cross, especially when they are both in the same space.

You’re always very near your work and sometimes you’ll even have clients that see it this way too. This is why it is important to set those boundaries early and stick to them, with yourself and with your clients.

Like I said above, have a schedule made out of your working hours and let your client know those hours when you onboard them. Also specify what is the best method to contact you, whether that be by phone or email. Once your hours for the day come to an end, shut shit down! Walk away from your work and don’t return to it until your hours start the next day.

Line On Pavement

MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR SET SCHEDULE

While work can easily intrude on your personal life, sometimes it can work the other way around too. You’ve got to make dinner. You’ve got to pick the kids up from school. Your mom calls. It happens. Having a flexible schedule is nice but try to keep interruptions and changes to your schedule to a minimum.

The recurring interruptions should be scheduled in. You need to make dinner for the family every day? Account for that when you are setting up your schedule. The kids get out of school at 3:15pm Mon-Fri? Same thing, schedule that in.

Life happens. Just set your boundaries and let everyone know what your working schedule is. It’s important that your friends and family know your schedule and respect it. I know this can prove difficult. I’ve been working from home for around a decade now and I still get phone calls and people swinging by. It still blows my mind too. If I worked in an office, I know they wouldn’t be bothering me because “I’m at work”. I don’t know why it is a hard concept for some people to get but it is. You simply have to politely remind them that you are working and you’ll have to call them back after.

TAKE REGULAR BREAKS

When making your schedule, don’t just fill an eight hour block with work tasks. It is important to schedule in regular breaks as well. This is the quickest way to burn yourself out.

Not only will you burn out, sitting at your computer for 8 hours but it is unhealthy. Plan for several short breaks throughout your work day in addition to at least a 30 minute break for lunch. Get up, walk around, stretch, and get some fresh air.

Lazy Cat on Bed

PUT IT IN WRITING

A schedule in your head is sometimes easy to view as a “suggestion” or optional. A written schedule feels much more like an obligation and much easier to stick to.

Using a calendar, being sure to put all of your meetings, deadlines, and deliverables on it along with those personal time interruptions, you’ll find following it will eventually become second nature.

SET YOUR FREELANCE SCHEDULE THE DAY BEFORE

Once you’ve decided on the hours you will work, it will be easier to plan the following day out. This is going to make you much more productive.

  • Pay attention to your body and decide when you are at your best.
  • Set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Don’t forget to schedule yourself regular breaks.
  • Write down your schedule.

To learn more about becoming a successful freelancer, find more interesting articles on our blog. As a freelancer, you are building the future and GroLancer is here to help you do it well! Create your free account now to get control of your business and become a better freelancer. You’ll have all the tools and guidance you need, all in a single place!

About The Author

JD Simpkins

JD Simpkins is the creator and founder of GroLancer, The Freelancer's Growth Platform. As a web developer, he fell in love with freelancing back in 2005. He has mentored many up-and-coming freelancers over the years and developed a passion for helping others work towards their dreams. He used a lot of tools to run his freelancing business and remembers how expensive this became. That's when he decided to build GroLancer, not only to share information with aspiring and established freelancers but wanted to offer all of the tools a freelancer needs to run their business and make it affordable to everyone, no matter what level they are at in their career!

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