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Time - The Most Important Resource
(Page 3 of 4)
Taking Control of Your Work Time
Once you decide to devote certain
hours of the day to work, make sure you actually use them for work.
It’s very easy to get distracted and end up frittering away your
work time; at the end of the day, you find wondering where the time went
and why you didn’t get anything done. Been there, done that. :)
Here’s a few specific tips:
- Eliminate Obvious Distractions: If there’s
something in your office or workspace that you know will distract you,
put it somewhere else.
- Manage and Prioritize Communications: Modern
life features many convenient ways to communicate—perhaps too
convenient. Remember that you own your phone and your email account,
not the other way around. There are few interruptions that really and
truly must be dealt with immediately—to whatever extent possible,
save the ones that can be saved and handle them during times when you
aren’t trying to concentrate.
- Work is Work and Play is Play: Many freelancers
find that they are tempted to spend time on leisure activities when they
should be working; this is part of the same self-discipline issue we
discussed before. It’s fine—even healthy—to take breaks
while working to unwind or have fun before returning to the task at hand.
But take such breaks deliberately, and make sure they aren’t very
long compared to time spent actually at work.
- Beware the Temptation of the Internet:
The Internet is the source of your work as an online freelancer, but
can also be a massive time sink if not managed carefully. Watch out for
those five-minute browsing breaks that turn into a half-hour. I’ve
actually at times disconnected my Internet for an hour at a time to force
myself to work. This not only prevents one from acting on distracted
impulses, it tends to reduce them as well. It’s as if the act of
disconnecting the ‘net sends a subconscious message to the brain
that it’s time to get the job done, not to think about what’s
happening on your favorite Web sites.
Another essential tactic for getting
work done is to be very cautious about giving clients access to your
instant messaging IDs or phone numbers. We’ll discuss this more
in the chapter on managing freelance projects and
Finally, you should expect that your
workload will vary over time: it’s possible to swing from having many active projects to very few very
quickly. As a freelancer you simply
have to learn to deal with this challenge.
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The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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