One of the key aspects of freelancing and small business owners is workload management. If you can’t manage to balance all of the work that you have to do and run your business, then you won’t last very long. Typically the business owner or freelancer will have to manage a number of tasks that would usually be managed by a range of people.
- Supply chain management
- Social Media Management
And if you are predominantly working from home, you are going to run into things that pull your attention away regularly.
A lot of workload management is going to come down to your personal productivity and team management. So here are some tips on how you can manage your workload.
A key piece of the puzzle is going to be where you are working. Freelancers and small business owners don’t always run their operations from an office environment. But that means you are in charge of making the space as you need it to be.
Try to choose a room that doesn’t have a TV. They are a huge distraction, and you might find when you are slightly stuck on something, you flick the switch on the telly. It is an easy way to procrastinate. Many people find that they enjoy working with music in the background, so it would be great to have something to play music on.
The chair should be ergonomic and comfortable for you since you will likely spend a lot of time sitting on it. A simple desk or table is ideal. Even better if it has drawers so that you can store away important information.
If you find you have to work in a high people traffic area, then you should invest in some noise-canceling headphones so that you can block it out when you need to get down to work.
The colours you choose to have around you will have an impact on you from a psychological point of view. Try to choose colors that are known for having a positive mental impact on improving your productivity. Plants are typically something that more people are adding to workspaces too. Green makes people feel relaxed and comfortable and boosts productivity.
While the joy of running your own business or freelancing is that you can create and schedule that suits you, you will thrive when you implement even the most basic of routines. Before you sit down at your desk, handwrite a list of things that you need to do that day.
Put the most important ones at the top of the list, and the ones that you really don’t want to do. Do it first. Break down each of the activities into time segments, and make sure you have a break in between each one. If you want to be super organized, you can even plan what you are going to have for lunch, snacks, and your evening meal.
We covered making a list of things that you should try to do before you start your workday. But here are some tips about how you could plan the day. Of course, it is subject to change and real-life issues – but as a base, it might work well for you.
- Wake-up – up as early as you can. Although most people claim not to be ‘morning people’ many people actually have their most productive period between 4-10am. Try it and see if that works for you.
- Breakfast – always eat before tackling any work, this is the perfect place to write your list
- Focus Period – here is where you eat the frog (tackled the task you don’t want to do) and then dive into your to-do list.
- Lunch- Make sure you hydrate and eat
- Focus Period 2 – You may find that in the afternoon you aren’t as productive, so try to do admin tasks here
- Switch-off – you can plan the time you will stop working much earlier in the day, and then extend it if you are in deep working mode.
You can mix this up into what suits you best. To fit in school runs, global clients, or to account for larger workloads. Try to work with your most productive periods.
It is really important that you have a time when you are going to turn everything off. You won’t be opening your work emails, you will no longer be accessible on platforms like Slack. This will mean you have a clearly defined work-life schedule. Of course, if you choose to work late into the evening – you can. But try to stick to a ‘close of business’ time, so you can get time to relax and an early night.
Also, be sure to take vacation time too. You can’t be all work and no play all the time. It’s important to have some downtime and to travel too. You can always utilize options like St Pancras luggage storage to keep your equipment in while you explore and get back to work when you’re done. It will make you more creative when you get back to work too.
You can’t do everything all the time. As a freelancer or small business owner, there are going to be large projects that you need to hire extra hands to tackle. Luckily there is a wealth of people with ample skills online. Should you need a virtual assistant, you can hire one in hours, much like a graphic designer, accountant, or even a translator.
And, the last thing you need when you are pulling big projects together is emails and phone calls hampering your focus times. A virtual assistant can deal with your emails while corporate answer services can take care of the calls. Freeing you up to take care of the task at hand.
And once you have everything else in place, your attention will naturally turn to software or an application to help you keep on top of your tasks. nTask, Trello, Asana, and Evernote are all great options for helping you keep your projects and task lists in good order. They are all simple to use and have a range of options too.
Even the most seasoned freelancer or small business owner can stand to look at how they are currently managing their workload. And, manipulating it to make sense with their current lifestyle and ideas for growth going forward.