Setting Up your Freelance Work / Life Schedule
Prepare for the week
Set some time aside on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. It’s the smallest tasks that you do during the weekend that can take up valuable time during the week; like when your client unexpectedly calls with an emergency while you’re about to head out to lunch. These emergency calls often lead to a skipped meal. Do your groceries, prep meals, clean your workspace, and look at your calendar to see what tasks and calls you’ll have for the upcoming week.
Set your hours
Do you want to work for 4 or 8 hours a day? The choice is up to you, but it’s important to choose a start and end time when you will work. A set schedule lets your clients know when they can reach out to you for a prompt response. Setting work hours also gives you the confidence to know exactly when you clock in and out.
Allow for flexibility
“We need this done ASAP!” is a common phrase you’ll hear time and time again in your freelance career. You may also unexpectedly have a critical meeting to attend. Let your schedule accommodate these shifts by not stacking tasks back to back. If you expect something to get done in a week, maybe schedule the due date to be a week and a half. The task may not take a week and a half or maybe not even a week (awesome!). It’s always better to finish a task on time versus telling a client you underestimated the amount of time a task will take to finish.
Take a Walk
Sometimes our minds can get so scrambled with things on our todo list. Working with a frazzled mind is counter-intuitive. Most likely, not a lot of work will get done with you’re stressed out. The best thing to do at that time is, not to work harder, but take a step back and clear your mind. Take a break by doing a calming activity. For some people, it’s taking a walk, eating a snack, maybe even a quick cat nap that quiets all the noise so you can go back to work with a clear head.
Stick to your schedule
While there will be things throughout the day that will change your schedule around, it’s important to clock out at the end of the day. There may be a day where you will have to work overtime. Make sure those days don’t happen often. Just as it’s important to not work too late into the night, it’s equally important to start work early before a task is due or the phone starts ringing.