Time. Both an abstract concept and a concrete fact. The struggle is real in this department folks, either we don’t have any time left over, or we have too much time on our hands and no idea what to do with it. As a freelancer or independent contractor it’s imperative to schedule yourself just as an employer would do, and then follow through with that commitment (that’s the most important part).
When you have the ability to schedule yourself you have the great freedom to put yourself working on something when you have the most motivation for that task or when your creative juices are flowing.
Since I work both an at-home call center job as well as work on several freelance writing projects I know that I need to get the least interesting or most dreaded task out of the way first. So my schedule looks something like this.
As you can see at the top I have a blog post going up on this day, I plan to wake up at 8 am, then I have times scheduled for breakfast (food breaks are important! Don’t skip scheduling yourself breaks to eat and to be quiet and recharge) then my emails. Once that is complete I have a 4-hour block scheduled for my IC call center job, since I want to get that out of the way first.
Then another food break (yay food!) and an empty block. Empty blocks can show two things, a block to use to recharge or a free block to schedule something else.
I don’t schedule in recharge times as I like more flexibility but if you do better with a more rigid schedule then please do. During the afternoon is when I feel most creative, so I have myself scheduled to write an article, a short empty, write a blog post for the following week, then a larger empty and then dinner.
As the day wears on my breaks are larger and more frequent because I need more time to recharge during the day and I find I have more commitments outside the house in the afternoons as well.
If you are more of an Excel or spreadsheet type of person there are multitudes of templates both built into Excel and available for download from Microsoft or 3rd-parties. I created a weekly example using a built-in template in the Excel example below.
I really like this view as it allows me to see what the full week entails (this can be done in Calendars as well), and adding in events is much easier than in the Calendars app. It just depends on your personal preference. It’s not so much the application or process that you use to schedule yourself, it’s that you accurately schedule your time, allow yourself to be flexible when needed, and follow through with the commitments that you make to yourself.
What are your most effective strategies for keeping your time organized?