Although the easiest solution to time management woes would likely be the invention of a Delorean that travels through the fourth dimension, most of us are working with significantly less glamorous options. And when your time is self-managed, keeping an eye on the clock is particularly important to keeping your business in the black.
Every freelancer and web content writer has their own time management strategy. Here, we offer some of their suggestions:
1. Check Yourself
One of the first steps in diagnosing a “time leak” is to analyze the areas where bottlenecking occurs. Rescue Time helps you track and monitor where you spend your time online, in applications, or on mobile apps. They offer a free version of their software for this purpose, and a paid version that provides even more bells and whistles (like blocking distracting sites, alerting you after too much time on one, and providing kudos when you’re extra-productive!).
2. Get It Together
Perennial favorite Evernote is a great product that brings all your thoughts together in one place. It syncs notes, clips, itineraries, and more across all your devices and allows you to share with colleagues. Having access to your notes and bookmarks means that you can access your body of work anytime–something that you’ll be grateful for if the clocktower is struck by lightning, rendering your desktop useless.
3. Show Them Your Good Side
One of the benefits of having to manage your own time is the opportunity to manage your own time. To this end, you can find out what time of day is most productive for you! Take a day or two to track your output and then cherry-pick the ones that work best for you. There are no hard and fast rules that dictate all work must be completed between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm.
4. Be a Drag
Those who are not interested in overly complicated task management programs with love the ease of use offered by Trello. Trello allows you to create project boards that function as simple drag-and-drop space and easily enables you to assign categories, add board members, and manage multiple tasks at once. Its intuitive interface is foolproof, but has no shortage of offerings. Each module allows you to add notes, sub-lists, attach documents, and more. As a bonus, the boards feature a “feed” panel, allowing you to see who has been active on the board recently and what they’ve been up to.
5. Go Deep
If you want to analyze the amount of time spent on each item in the day, week, or month for you or your team, consider a program like Toggl. Toggl offers a straightforward timer that you can start and stop for any number of tasks, projects, and users. They then provide access to reports that allow project managers to ‘slice and dice’ data to suit their analysis needs.
Of course, there’s always good, old-fashioned pencil and paper–timeless classics if there ever were.
Helena L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.