How to manage your workload as a freelancer?

Juggling projects, time, and your personal life as a freelancer can be tough. Click here to learn how to effectively manage your workload as a freelancer.
How to manage your workload as a freelancer?

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It’s no secret that working as a freelancer comes with a refreshing amount of flexibility. Not only do you get to work when and where you want, but you also get to choose the type of people you work for.

As many new freelancers quickly find out, though, managing your workload isn’t always easy. So, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of everything you need to know.

Let’s take a look at how to manage your workload as a freelancer.

Don’t overreach

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when managing your workload is the concept of overreaching. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, it involves taking upon far more work than you’re able to reasonably handle.

As you might guess, this could easily lead to working far longer than you initially intended. Similarly, it could affect the overall quality of your work and also cause you to miss deadlines.

In many cases, you could find yourself damaging the relationships that you have with your clients, something that could drastically impact your overall revenue.

Instead, it’s imperative that you only accept projects that you can handle within the given timeframe.

This means that you need to have a strong understanding of both your current workload and your limits as a professional. As a general rule of thumb, you should always anticipate that a particular project will take a bit longer than you first expect.

This will give you a bit of leeway if you aren’t able to complete it within the projected time. In turn, you will find that managing the rest of your freelance obligations becomes much easier, laying the foundation for your career to flourish.

Our home base tool serves as a centralized location for all of your projects. As such, you'll find that it's notably easy to stay on track and handle your responsibilities accordingly.

Plan your week ahead of time

Taking the time to thoroughly plan your week is something that simply can’t be overlooked. Not only will it provide insight into your upcoming workload, but you can also arrange your projects in a way that allows you to strategically tackle them.

For instance, many people tend to get the most work done at the beginning of the week. It would make sense, then, to begin working on your most difficult or most complex tasks on Monday or Tuesday.

Of course, you should also consider the deadlines of each project. Time-sensitive tasks should always be completed first regardless of complexity to avoid causing any delays for your clients.

Hectic offers a comprehensive project management tool that is specifically designed to help freelancers handle their workload. Not only does it allow you to easily add and remove projects, but it also provides suggested actions for those who are unsure of which task to complete first.

You can visit this resource to learn more about what it has to offer.

Eliminate distractions

You’ll need to take the necessary measures in order to eliminate distractions in your workspace if you want to achieve peak levels of productivity. Getting more work done within a shorter period of time will give you much-needed flexibility when handling larger workloads.

But, it will also make you more efficient overall.

Distractions come in many forms. But, the most significant ones are often within arm's reach. To elaborate, it’s not uncommon for freelancers to waste a significant amount of time by checking their phone, email, etc.

While it may not be realistic for you to avoid doing so for an entire workday, you could strive to minimize the impact these actions have on your productivity. Placing your phone on the other side of the room, for example, can go a long way when it comes to how quickly you are able to complete projects.

In some scenarios, though, it will simply be impossible for you to get rid of certain distractions. This is especially true for those who live with other individuals, have children, etc.

If possible, consider changing the environment in which you work. Common places for freelancers to work on projects include cafés, restaurants, or even public parks. Even a few days per week where you switch your work environment can go a long way in helping you manage your workload.

Implement time tracking

A common pitfall that is difficult for many new freelancers to overcome is implementing a proper form of time tracking. The truth is, though, that it is virtually impossible to reach peak levels of productivity without actively monitoring the time you spend working on each project.

But, time tracking also comes with another notable benefit — you will create a much more streamlined experience for your clients.

By having an accurate log of your billable hours, there won’t be any surprises when it comes time for your clients to compensate you. Time tracking will also provide insight into whether or not you are working at the intended pace.

For instance, let’s assume that’s a particular project is estimated to take over two weeks to complete. By breaking down this project into individual days, you deduce that it should take you four hours per day in order to get X amount of work done.

Without tracking your time, you run the risk of falling behind without realizing it. Similarly, you may be ahead of schedule but feel as if you’re running out of time, something that can cause you to rush through the rest of the project.

The time tracking tool that Hectic provides allows freelancers to easily document their billable hours and track their progress. In practice, managing your workload will become a much easier process.

Stay communicative with your clients

In general, clients don’t like unexpected scenarios. As a freelancer, it’s in your best interest to stay as communicative with your clients as possible.

If you find that you are having trouble reaching a specific deadline, you should notify your client as soon as you become aware of this. The same can be said if you encounter a particular issue during a project that you need your client’s help to resolve.

Properly communicating with your clients will ensure that no issues arise during a project timeline, allowing you to provide a better overall experience for the people you work with. Of course, this also directly translates into having more efficient management over your workload as a whole.

It is also worth establishing a regular form of communication with your clients regardless of whether or not you have urgent information for them. For example, it’s fairly common for freelancers to get in touch with their clients once or twice per week just to give them an update on their progress.

This will also provide your clients with an opportunity to request any changes, additions, etc. that would otherwise change the scope of the work. Staying communicative will allow you to always have comprehensive insight into your workload, something that is essential to reaching peak levels of productivity.

Optimize your workspace

As previously mentioned, the work environment will play a large role in your overall productivity. By extension, this also has an impact on how you manage your workload.

But, your workspace should also be a location that is specifically curated to help you be as efficient as possible. For instance, let’s assume that you are a freelance graphic designer.

An optimal workplace setup could include multiple computer monitors, equipment to help you work faster (such as a tablet), etc.

But, the overall atmosphere and aesthetic appeal of your workspace are significant factors to consider. In general, many freelancers find that the following items enhance their productivity:

  • Plants
  • Lighting
  • Forms of personalization

Though you might not consider your environment when improving your focus, it can make a big difference. Keep this in mind when moving forward in order to help keep yourself as organized as possible.

Knowing how to manage your workload as a freelancer is critical

The above information will also ensure that you easily handle this obligation. Once you are able to manage your workload as a freelancer, you will find that you become more productive than you thought possible.

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Geoffrey Mina
Geoffrey Mina
Geoff has always focused on building technology solutions that solve real-world problems for real people. Over the years he’s developed a reputation for optimizing strategy for efficiency and high-performance outputs. In other words, he’s skilled at selecting the right strategic paths for organizations but can also mobilize workforces to execute action plans and critical initiatives. He’s passionate about building high-performance teams, inspiring them to push beyond their limits and perform at levels not thought possible.
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