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6 Tips for Managing Time for Freelance Writers

Updated on December 22, 2012

Time - the best asset any freelance writer has. Time management - the best skill a freelance writer should have.

So you finally decided to take the plunge, quit your job that requires you to commute for 2 hours or more every day and set up your very own home-based freelancing writing career. Congratulations! Not many people have the courage and the guts to do what you just did.

Working from home as a freelance writer or a freelancer is not an easy task. It becomes doubly hard if you tell people around you that you are working from home and they think that you have lots of time (and lots of money) to waste. As a result, you oftentimes see uninvited guests suddenly showing up in your home and you’ll end up entertaining them and not accomplishing anything at all. And here is one of the biggest problems of stay-at-home freelancers: how to ensure that they can manage their time and finish the job they set out to do.

Time management is not only a problem for those who are in the nine-to-five jobs, it is also a problem (even more so) for those freelancers who chose to stay at home. After all, time is the biggest asset a freelancer has and one should not really waste so precious an asset. Here are some tips on how freelancers can manage their time effectively:

1. Commit to Your (Freelance) Work

Nothing will make you produce better work (and at the least time possible) than fully committing yourself to this type of a job. Better yet, get your partner, children, your entire family and even your friends committed to this as well. Getting their commitment means they will not bother you when they know you are writing and that they will not just drop by whenever they want to because they think you are always at home to welcome them. This will help you minimize distractions on your work and will help you maximize your concentration on your job.

2. Set a Realistic Work Schedule … And Stick to It

Although one of the biggest advantage of working at home is having the freedom to work anytime during the day (or not to work at all), this does not mean that a freelancer should just work whenever he or she wants to. Set realistic schedules for when you will write your articles and stick to them (as much as possible). Better yet, write down your schedule and post it in the wall where you can immediately see it. If you find yourself unable to stick to this schedule, sit down and re-assess it if it is really realistic and make some adjustments (if needed). Also, think about how you can make up for your lost time so that you can immediately catch up and go back to your former routine.

3. Track Your Time

Don’t forget to document how you spend your time. Include answering emails, making proposals, submitting bids or proposals, surfing the Internet for more jobs, etc., etc. Tracking your time will help you see where you spend your time the most and may help you make any necessary adjustments. Accurate time-tracking will also help you estimate how much are you really earning on a per-hour basis (and if freelancing will really enable you to pay the bills!).

4. Avoid Multi-Tasking

Knowing how to multi-task can be a boon for a lot of people but it actually can be a bane for freelancers. Yes, you may be doing a lot of things at once but are you accomplishing any or all of them? It will be better if you focus on just one task at a time and as you finish them, you get to remove them from your list. Now wouldn’t that be something to look forward to?

5. Remove Distractions

You can do this tip two ways. First of all, have a separate workspace where you can place your computer, printer and other things you may need for your freelance work. Having your own space means you get to control what goes in and what goes out (no TV, no phone, etc.). Your family will also quickly learn that when you’re in that space, you cannot be distracted by anything (unless it’s an emergency!). Second, announce to your family when you are working and that you will not answer the door or the phone and they cannot disturb you while you’re working.

6. Be Flexible…Take Care of Yourself

A freelance work-at-home job’s major advantage is flexibility, so make sure you have this when you commit to freelancing. Do not overtax yourself. Do not bash your head against the wall if you can’t keep up with your schedule or if you make a mistake. Get enough rest and take care of your health. Take a break when you feel that you need one. Do not try to do everything at once. Set goals that are realistic and that you can complete when you need them to be completed. Your job is important, yes, but so are your health and your sanity and you need to take care of both of them to be successful as a freelancer.

When you decide to become a freelancer and work from home, you are your own boss. But being your own boss means you are responsible for your work and what you will accomplish at the end of the day. Time-management is a critical skill any freelancer (or any person, for that matter) should have. The more time you have for your freelance work, the better for you to produce quality work and the faster it will take you to achieve financial success in your endeavor.


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