Learning to Manage Time as my Own Boss

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I thought when I left my office day job that I would have so much more time for everything else. I was wrong. I read a ton of articles leading up to the career change about the transition into freelance, working from home, and being your own boss. Everyone said that you still have long days, and probably work even longer/busier days in order to grow your business. It has been so true. I thought at first that I would be able to efficiently complete big projects that had been looming over my head for the past year, or just really move into high-gear boss mode and kick ass. But, it’s been a slow and steady learning process.

Sure, I now have my days, and weeks to plan at my own will. I finally have the flexibility to meet up with friends, even go to the gym or grocery shop – but I never stop working in between all of that. I don’t necessarily get the luxury, like some, to go home at the end of the day, close their computer and call it good. This post is by no means complaining how busy I am – I am BEYOND thankful that I have been so busy as a freelancer. I work here on the blog, I assist stylists on shoots, I style my own shoots/clients, I do social media for a start-up, and a million other tiny projects in the mix. But with the craziness of multiple jobs/projects, I have had to try and figure out a new schedule and plan to managing my schedule. Today I’m going to share five tips and tricks I have read from others, as well as some things I have picked up in the past few months working for myself. Scroll down to read more!

And in honor celebrating the holiday weekend coming up, and you just being here with me today reading the blog, I am hosting a killer giveaway on Instagram! One lucky follower will win this amazing iPhone 6 case from Minto Tech! Check out my Instagram (HERE) for contest details! xo

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Prioritize based on deadline and amount of work needed for the project

Since I juggle a few different projects, before each week, I plan which days, hours, etc. I’m working on each task. I schedule social media at the beginning of the week, build blog posts on Sunday before the week, and have a list of each current project in order of importance. That way I make sure I’m working on the most important tasks first and able to meet deadlines.

Solidify a couple regular gigs and use that income to create a budget.

As I mentioned above, I do social media for a start-up. That is my consistent weekly gig that helps me create a budget. From there, my photoshoots, blog, etc. money is factored in. Almost every freelancer article stated that this alone is what keeps you from going back to an office. Although money flow might be different each month, or you’re unsure when you’ll be paid for projects, a consistent gig is your finance safety net. It’ll be a financial adjustment at first, but having a consistent gig (even a savings) helps propel you forward so you can grow your business.

Compartmentalize your time

This has been the biggest struggle since I wear multiple freelance hats – I break my jobs into hours of the day, emails are broken into chunks throughout my day, and somedays I only focus on one task or project. One of the quotes I read that really stuck out to me was, “Completion increases your energy level and sets the standard for consistent forward motion on projects at all levels of importance.” I have found this true. I make sure I work efficiently between meetings, client calls, and I have to break up my time, just as if I were in an office, in order to get through my daily to-do list. Multitasking is not a thing – I used to think I was a mutli-tasker, but I have found that in order to get anything significant done in a day, I need to compartmentalize my schedule.

Work in short bursts

In almost every article I read said, “never underestimate what you can get done in as little as 15 minutes. This ties into compartmentalizing my day – working in short uninterrupted bursts work best for me. I can easily get distracted, or since I work in my apartment most days, I get stir-crazy and just want to clean! I often will work in 15-30 minutes bursts, leave my room for water, social media/text break, or even go to the gym. This way I reward myself for quickly finishing a task and still fitting in so much more throughout my day. It’ll surprise you what you can accomplish in 15 productive minutes versus an hour of trying to multitask and not completing anything. Another good quote I read in one of the articles was, Time is like money. If you don’t earmark and manage it like you would your budget, it will disappear. Even though you think you have an entire day to accomplish a task, you have to put a little fire under your butt to finish small, even big, projects.

Taking ‘me’ time 

Before freelance life, I would constantly feel a cloud of anxiety and guilt for hanging out with people after work, or doing things for myself – gym included. I felt like I needed to be working on all my side projects, but still never had enough hours in a day between the office, work events, and freelance projects, to even think for myself. If I were out and about, I would be glued to my email, thinking about how much I needed to be doing, and it sucked. It sucked hardcore! Now I realize that I need sanity, I need to sometimes leave my apartment or coffee shop for human interaction, and not feel guilty. I now attempt to go to the gym, I cook, and try to make time for friends. And when I’m doing these things, I’m off email, and focused on my current situation. Although I’m still working insane, almost 18-20 hour days, I am “okay” with taking an hour out of my day to focus on myself and wants.

If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or managing a side hustle, I hope this has helped you, and please comment below with any great articles or tips you’ve come across!

You can find the articles I read here:

The Freelancer’s Guide to Time Management

How A Freelancer Manages Her Time, Money, To-Do List And Despair

5 Time Management Tips for Freelancers

6 Practical Time Management Strategies for Freelancers and Solos

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