4 ways to stop wasting time as a freelancer

One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting time. Time is valuable and I don't think we should take that lightly. That doesn't mean that we have to spend every minute of every day doing something, but it does mean that we should use our time wisely so that we don't end up wasting hours on end doing something unproductive or unnecessary.

As freelancers and solopreneurs, it is easy to get sucked into the trap of working all the time. There are so many responsibilities of a business owner and there is always something to be done. With the added pressure of keeping up with everyone around you, you can easily get lost working on #allthethings only to look up hours later and realize you haven't really made any progress in your business. A common problem with freelancers is that they quickly realize all their free time is gone. But that doesn't have to be the case. I genuinely believe that with the right system we can work more efficiently, grow our businesses, and still have time to live a life we love.

stop wasting time as freelancer

If you find yourself feeling like all your free time is virtually non-existent and are inching closer and closer to burnout, you are not alone. This is a common issue for many freelancers and small business owners. But these 4 things can help you turn it around.

You may not have the best tools for the job

Now that you’ve thrown yourself into a freelance career, harnessing your productivity is your greatest tool in achieving work/life balance. While you play a big part in this, it’s also a good idea to take a good, long look at the tools you’re using to make sure that they’re fit for purpose and flexible enough to keep you agile so that you can preempt any issues that tomorrow may bring. Even freelancers can benefit from bespoke business network solutions and managed IT services. This will ensure that your business tech enables you to be the best that you can be.

Avoid doing unpaid work for “exposure”

When you’re starting out in your freelancing career, you will likely find many struggling startups offering you “opportunities” of unpaid work. They will try to frame this as a great way to boost your exposure and get your work seen by “industry leaders”. They usually just want a professional to do something for them but don’t want to pay for it. Although it can be tempting, your time is better spent building your business foundation and marketing to potential paying clients.

It’s okay to turn down paid work

That said, you may feel inclined to go the other way and accept whatever paid work you are offered without stopping to think whether you can do it (or at the very least do it well). Accepting every paid client that comes your way may not be conducive to developing a good reputation. If you find yourself handing in poor quality work just so that you can meet your deadlines this will not provide a solid foundation upon which you can build a reputation.

Plus, saying yes to everything only leads to burn out faster. You'll end up overbooking yourself without realizing it and not be able to keep up with your workload without crashing and burning.

Finally, set your working hours and stick to them

If you’re a freelancer (and especially if you work from home) it can become tempting to fall into a state of always being “at work”. While this may bring in a significant income, this is not sustainable and ultimately, the quality of your work will suffer if you overextend yourself. Work set hours and stick to them and you’ll find that work/life balance takes care of itself.

 

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