Organization is essential for any professional. However, working as a freelancer increases the essential nature of staying structured in your daily work activities.
You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. You also need to keep different clients and administrative tasks in order.
Here are some veteran tips for addressing the organization in all areas of your independent lifestyle with this in mind.
1. Rationalize with Harlow
There are many suggestions on this list. Some are general; others are concrete. However, none is as complete as Harlow.
In the past, Harlow’s creators worked as freelancers and experienced the ups and downs of independent living. After this extensive experience, they launched their platform, which they designed to bring together all the most significant autonomous administrative activities in one easy-to-use location.
Harlow helps freelancers see all their customers on a single board. It allows them to process invoices, monitor proposals and contracts, and manage task management, all from one place.
The ability to put much of a freelancer’s administrative work into a single program is hard to come by and is extremely valuable. It streamlines the day-to-day activities of running a business as an individual entrepreneur and frees the self-employed to focus on the work for which they are paid.
2. Build a solid calendar
When the organization appears as a topic of conversation, it tends to focus on the physical. Workspaces, projects, and other tangible elements of daily work take center stage.
But time is another critical factor to control if you want to reap the benefits of staying organized. The tidiest home office and the cleanest desktop computer will be useless if time and time-consuming responsibilities constantly put pressure on you.
Building a solid schedule is key to establishing a sense of normalcy and predictability in your self-employment.
Choose consistent times of day to start and finish your work (whenever possible). Then find out what time of day you work best. Establishing a solid schedule can help you manage your workload, maximize your production, and stay organized every step of the way.
3. Create clear boundaries
Reconciling work and family life is not only important. It is also a fundamental part of good organization. However, if your personal life and your business life constantly overlap, it can create chaos and confusion.
One way to avoid this is to set clear boundaries between your different responsibilities. This is essential if you work from home and need to operate professionally in your personal space.
Whenever possible, be sure to dedicate an area of your home to work only. This doesn’t have to be a big office. It can be an extra bedroom or even a corner of your own sleeping space. Just make sure it is dedicated to work. Then, every time you step on your workspace, you can disconnect from your personal life and focus on work, and vice versa.
4. Stay digitally organized
Much of life takes place on the computer and in the cloud. This makes digital organization a priority for modern 21st century workers.
There are many ways to stay organized digitally. Some key suggestions include:
- Keep folders and files tagged with search terms and dates included.
- Place all documents you create or download in a specific location.
- Clean the desktop as a recurring event.
Digital organization can streamline the way we work. For example, if you need a file, you can go directly to the folder where it should be. Even if it’s not there, a quick search will help you locate it easily if you’ve taken the time to tag it correctly.
5. Create a CTS
A CTS or “commitment tracking system” is often considered a business-wide tool to help track a company’s commitments. And that is true. But a CTS can also be an invaluable tool for a self-employed person.
Using a CTS program like OmniFocus can help you keep track of each individual commitment you make. You can also add assigned projects and incorporate responsibilities, to make sure they are addressed in the future.
As a freelancer who juggles numerous clients and projects, a CTS can be a great place to host all of your engagement-related activities. It offers you a unique place to go to keep track of everything that is expected of you. This helps you avoid losing deadlines and maintaining priorities as you move from one contracted responsibility to another.
6. Use your calendar for specific interactions
Having a CTS set up will not only help you organize and keep track of your commitments. It also avoids the temptation to clutter your calendar with endless details. For example, if you include “meeting a new customer” and “taking out the trash” on the same calendar, the little details will make the important things stand out.
Instead, work to put all your activities and projects into one CTS. Then reuse your calendar as a way to keep track of the most important things.
This usually revolves around human interactions. For example, you can track a flexible project deadline in your CTS. But if you’ve scheduled a coffee with a customer, this should be on your calendar, as missing your coffee appointment will significantly affect someone else.
An organized and streamlined calendar not only helps you keep track of things. It also allows you to establish a reputation as someone who achieves the responsibilities that really matter.
7. Spend time on administrative matters
As a freelancer, you wear a lot of hats. You are a marketer who promotes your brand. In addition, you are a customer service representative in charge of customer needs. You are a salesperson who generates leads. You are on the R&D team. Create products and services. You are the accountant in charge of billing, invoices and even taxes.
The complexity of your responsibilities can make it easy to ignore administrative matters in favor of “things that really matter.” But the truth is that if you push things like customer billing or getting new jobs, sooner or later you’ll feel it. It also causes daily interruptions and a general feeling of chaos.
Instead, set aside time for administrative matters directly in your daily and weekly schedules. If you know you have to pay quarterly taxes, plan ahead. If you need to bill a customer once a month, put it on your CTS so you don’t book too much work that day.
Many factors are involved in staying organized as a freelancer. After all, you’re running a full-fledged business on your own. It’s easy to cross the wires as you move from one activity to another.
It is important to take steps to curb the confusion that can come from a disorganized autonomous lifestyle. Instead, use the tips above to establish a sense of structure and composure while providing the best self-service to each of your customers, not just now, but in perpetuity.
Image credit: Ehsan Ahmadnejad; pexels; Thanks!
The publication How to stay organized as a freelancer first appeared on Calendar.