Time management for freelancers

With 4 clients (one a regular client for the last 18 months), I discover that working freelance feels a lot like graduate school work. There’s no schedule (even though there are more deadlines) and you’re pretty much on your own. Here are some of the things I do to manage my work:

Prioritize

My best-paying, longest-standing clients will always have priority. It’s their business that enables me to survive and get more clients. There is no way I would miss a deadline at their expense. So, best clients first, and then down the list from best-paying to least-paying.

Use a task list

A few months ago I read a review of Things on Profhacker and I thought it was worth the 70$ for the combined Mac and iPhone app. It’s been a heaven-sent ever since. Read the review for a complete list of what it can do. But whatever tool you use, keep a task list. It’s easy to get lost with a lot of clients and projects going on at the same time.

Take the time to breathe

With big, overwhelming projects like those I am involved in right now, it’s easy to just work and work and work. But if grad school taught me something, it’s the value of down-time. It enables your brain to recharge. Allow yourself an hour an lunch. Take your evenings off (or at least an hour or two). Don’t work for at least an hour before going to bed. Take the time to relax and enjoy life!

So here are my time management tips for today. How do you manage your time? What techniques or programs have you found to keep yourself on task and keep yourself sane?

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