When you work from home as a freelance designer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of letting your time get away from you.

From online games and articles to household chores, there are just so many ways to get distracted.

But wasted time means less time spent on design projects. Wasted time cuts directly into your profits.

All freelancers struggle with wasted time, but you can learn to control how you spend your time and get more work done. In this post, I’ll share ten easy tips to help you make better use of your time. If you liked this post, you may also like How to Get More Work Done In Less Time.

10 Timesaving Tips for Freelance Designers

Does it seem like you never have enough time to get everything done?

If you answered “yes” to the question, take a look at the following list of timesaving tips:

  1. Focus on the most important tasks first. Do you flit from project to project? Do you sometimes leave the important stuff undone? Take a few minutes to prioritize your projects, you’ll find that you are working much more effectively. Plus, you’ll be able to finish the tasks that you really need to complete.
  2. Set daily goals. At the start of each day, make a note of what you expect to accomplish in that day. Be realistic about what you can do. Base your daily goals on your experience of how long it takes to do things. Setting daily goals will help you to stay on track with longer projects.
  3. Find a system that work for you. Too many freelance designers re-invent the wheel when it comes to routine business tasks such as invoicing clients and responding to client requests. Don’t be one of them! If you find a certain method of completing routine tasks that works, re-use it.
  4. Get organized. Messy desks, inboxes, and files can slow you down. You don’t want to have to search for what you need. Eliminate paper documents when you can. Develop a computer file system that makes sense. A sloppy work area is also demotivating. Control the clutter and you’ll find you have more time.
  5. Use time tracking and time saving apps. There are many great apps designed to help you track and save time. Several are free or available at a very low cost. Find the time management tools that work well for you and make consistent use of them.
  6. Schedule calls. It’s often necessary to stay in touch with clients by phone, but phone calls can also be an interruption that keeps you from getting your work done. Instead of allowing clients to call you at any time during the day, schedule your phone calls. This may mean allotting a certain time each day for phone calls.
  7. Check your email twice a day. As a freelancer, you probably rely on your email. You receive messages from clients and prospects there. But it’s easy to get caught up in using your email as an excuse to avoid work by checking it too often. It’s more efficient to handle all email tasks at once. Checking it twice a day is enough for more freelancers.
  8. Take breaks as needed. It’s counter-intuitive, but you don’t accomplish more by working more hours. That’s because you slow down as you get tired. It’s also because you make more mistakes when you are tired. More mistakes mean more corrections, which means more work. Get enough rest.
  9. Review your work. You may think that you didn’t make any mistakes in the project you just completed, but you’re probably wrong. It’s best to take the time to correct mistakes before sending your work out. Once you’ve submitted a project to your client, fixing that mistake means rework. You will also have to contend with a dissatisfied client.
  10. Hire helpers. Most freelancers that I know are the ultimate do-it-yourselfers and they like it that way. But you can overdo independence, especially if your workload is heavy. Sometimes it makes sense to delegate your time-consuming, yet routine tasks to another freelancer so you can focus on more challenging work.

Your Turn

What is your best timesaving tip?

Share your answer in the comments.

Image by Alan Cleaver

Posted by Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.

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