Whether you’re a novice or a professional, time management for any given freelancing workday can be a regular challenge. Of course, strict deadlines can keep you on track, but then there are the projects that are a bit more open-ended – you know, the ones where you can log in and complete work as you see fit. Such projects can lead to procrastination, and the inevitable decrease in productivity.
The Time Zone Conundrum
If you’re new to the freelancing world and used to a job with definite days and hours, start simply. By this, I mean begin by only taking projects that are run by clients/companies 5 hours or less ahead/behind your own time zone. As you start to adapt to these differing schedules, then consider taking more ambitious projects, but I would recommend no more than two at a time.
Some adjustments are easier to make than others. For example, if you live in Maine, and you’re working on project that’s dictated by Pacific Standard Time (PST), then you’ve got an extra 3 hours to work with. Switch that around, though, and it’ll mean earlier mornings or later nights. In more general terms, if you live in the United States and accept a project in New Zealand, then you’re more than 12 hours behind them!
So, in these instances, the necessary tools of the trade would be a reliable alarm clock, as well as a time zone converter on either your PC/laptop, or your phone.
Building in Breaks
Even if you have any time zone differences accounted for, it’s important to stop every once in a while throughout the day to recharge. After all, a productive freelancer is a rested freelancer! Some freelancers might prefer to take one larger break in the middle of the day for lunch/errands/a walk. Others might want to take little 15-minute breaks after every hour or so of work. Still others might have a set window of hours to work each day (for example, in a 4-hour increment), and that’s it.
All it takes is a little planning to make each workday valuable in both time and money.
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