According to statistics, there were over 57 million freelancers in the US in 2019. This number has likely grown, thanks to the global pandemic.
Pandemics aside, there are many other reasons people are turning to freelancing. Research shows that not only are freelancers often happier in their careers — but they can earn more.
However, to be happy in your work, earn a decent income, and nail your career goals, you must know how to prioritize your freelance projects and organize your time.
Otherwise, you might be continually laboring under deadlines, earning less than you anticipated, and falling short of your goals.
There's no getting away from it. Structuring your work as a freelancer can be challenging, especially if you're new to freelancing.
Fortunately, you can implement several strategies and methods to ensure you hit those freelance career goals. Eager to know what these are? Don't go anywhere.
One of the most essential things to do when prioritizing freelance projects and goals is creating a schedule.
Having a schedule means that you'll have set times for working. Without this, it's easy for freelance projects to fall to the back burner. Next thing, you've been watching TV all day or been sidetracked by personal tasks.
One of the advantages of freelancing is that you have flexibility over your working hours. Instead of letting flexible hours derail your productivity, use this to your advantage and structure your schedule according to when you work best.
Are you a night owl? If so, factor this into your schedule.
On the other hand, maybe your brain works best early in the morning? In that case, why not wake up early and get all of your work done by 3 pm?
Let's be honest. There's no point in creating a freelance work schedule if you can't stick to it.
If you've been freelancing for any amount of time, then you're probably familiar with some of the common schedule-wrecking scenarios. Getting sucked into social media, family and friends asking you to do things, oversleeping, etc.
The way to stop these things from infringing on your work time is to set boundaries, both with others and yourself.
Make your workings hours clear to others. Do the same with yourself and set boundaries around things you know are 'dangerous' like social media and Netflix.
Another way to set boundaries is to ask others for assistance when you need it. Working on a deadline? Communicate this to your spouse and ask them if they can take over dishes duty that night.
Parkinson's law states that work will expand to fill the time you give it. Multiple studies prove this theory, and you've probably encountered it yourself.
To stop Parkinson's law derailing your productivity and freelance project goals, set yourself time limits.
Whether it's editing a video, writing a blog post or long email, making a call, or anything else, make sure that you decide how long it will take you.
A great way to do this through time blocking. You can do this in a daily planner or by using a time blocking cube.
Another productivity principle that many effective entrepreneurs, business leaders, and freelancers live by is to do the most urgent task first.
Making lists is not going to get you far if you leave the most urgent tasks until last. By tackling the most pressing task on your list before any other, you can ensure you stay on deadline and knock those freelance goals out of the park.
You won't be rushing important tasks at the last minute. You'll execute on your current freelance projects and have happier clients. Through this, your freelance business will be sure to thrive.
Productivity for freelancers is multipronged. Not only do you want to get those freelance projects done in record time, but you also need to scale your income and hone your skills.
Therefore you need asses your freelance projects in terms of the value they pose.
If we take income as an example, you might want to prioritize projects from clients who pay well. Not only are you maximizing your time, but by fast-tracking their projects, you might also be increasing the chances of getting further work from them.
However, keep in mind that pay rate isn't the only type of value. Perhaps you have a freelance project on-the-go that's going to net you a lot of exposure. Or perhaps it isn't that well paid but will give you key experience in an area you wish to develop.
When it comes to picking how much energy and priority to give freelance projects, remember to prioritize by their value to you, not just the client. It's easy to get sucked into being at the beck and call of high maintenance clients — but at the end of the day, you need to keep your eyes focused on your freelance career goals as well.
Speaking of freelance career growth, unless you're at the top, it's essential to schedule in time to accelerate your growth as a freelancer.
For instance, if you are a freelance writer, don't get stuck writing for one client or publication for years. If you do this, your pay won't increase, nor will your experience or portfolio.
Always be on the lookout for that next opportunity that accelerates your freelance career. Keep an eye on the job boards, apply to places you have always wanted to work with, and always aim to keep growing.
There are many ways you can structure your time and your freelance projects to hit your goals. However, one thing that can help the most is having the right tools at your disposal.
Do you wish you could do away with that plethora of apps, schedulers, and to-do lists?
If the answer is yes, then we have exciting news for you.
Here at Hectic, we were created by freelancers for freelancers to manage projects and track client relationships. No more spreadsheets, calendars, and cumbersome invoicing.
Instead, you can manage it all from one dashboard. Track your projects, prioritize your tasks, get reminders, and invoice your clients, all from one place. Besides this, you also get access to your own freelance business metrics so you can see where your business is — and where it's heading.
Sound like the answer to your prayers? Start today and supercharge your freelance business.