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The very best time management habit for freelancers and consultants

Sometimes it’s difficult for us self-employed freelancers and consultants to sit our butts in the chair and get the work done. Or at least, it is for me.

But I have found a habit that always works for me.

My secret to success is to get assignments and specific the dates that they are due. No matter how much work is on my plate and how many fun things I want to do instead, I always complete work by deadline.

When necessary, I may set the alarm earlier than I usually arise and get a substantial amount done before breakfast. Sometimes I dawdle for hours and complete it before exercise class. Sometimes I settle down late in the evening and enjoy the quiet of the night to work. Sometimes I fall asleep, unintended, during the day and get up at 2 am to work.

Sometimes a longer assignment requires several days of this style of attention to complete on time.

The way to complete more work on time is to land more assignments with deadlines. Somehow the work always gets done by deadline.

It’s possible to take on more work than we can handle. When we are in danger of doing so, of course it’s advisable to turn down additional assignments or to postpone their completion date.

But sometimes these assignments serve as motivation to get the preceding assignments done faster to fit everything in. So bring it on!

The worst time management practice ever is suspiciously like the best one. The worst time management practice is procrastination, in which we put off an assignment to enjoy the adrenalin rush of completing it in an abbreviated time span. Not recommended!

There’s lots of solopros on the Internet who brag about their ability to structure their schedule just so. They outline in advance exactly how they will spend each hour, adhering to the exact same schedule every day. Sounds good but it simply isn’t me.

When I was expecting our first child, my then-husband and I couldn’t imagine how we would find time to care for a child. I worked outside the home and we were busy every evening. So what would happen to the kid?

Somehow it worked out. I’m not sure quite how, but time magically expanded to allow the activities required. (And sometimes sleep lost out.)

So let’s keep on taking on more. It works!


Originally posted 7-15-13

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