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For many people, freelancing is something extra that is done alongside a full or part time job, and it can be difficult to balance the two, especially if there is very little cross-over. While it may seem better to have too much work than not enough, it is important not to over-commit yourself. You could risk jeopardising the quality and integrity of the finished product.

Here’s some handy tips to help you manage your commitments, maximise your time and find work in your desired industry, while still ensuring a high quality portfolio.

Learning when to say no

If you’re new to freelancing, one of the most difficult things can be developing the confidence and self-belief to effectively define your boundaries. To avoid over-committing yourself, it’s important to evaluate what worksfor you and what doesn’t – and learning to say no to work that doesn’t bring enough appreciable benefits.

The defining factor in this decision doesn’t always have to be money. The project on offer may bring other benefits such as raising your profile, indirectly advertising your skills and services, and adding to the breadth of your portfolio. Think about the work that you have already done – how well-rounded is your portfolio? Do you have a wide range of experience? For example, a photographer with a diverse and interesting portfolio will be much more marketable than one that only shoots weddings.

Prioritise effectively

Lists are a simple yet effective way of staying on track. Writing to-do lists complete with due dates and where you need to go to do them is the first and most obvious step to prioritisation. The next move is to work out how long something will take, how much research is required and whether you will be reliant on input from others. A list like this enables you to gain a visual overview of your month’s activities, allowing you to see what tasks can be doubled up and what must be started first. Then you can set timelines and plan the required steps for each one.

Get familiar with apps and online tools

The internet is full of tools and apps to help make our lives more efficient. You can now download apps that will help to manage your time, prioritise (and share) tasks, map and analyse productivity, log and bill work hours, and organise, share and edit documents – particularly useful if you’re a freelancer working in creative teams.

Evaluate how you spend your time

We all need time to chill out, especially when we are working hard and perfecting our never-ending entrepreneurial duties. But if something is important enough to you, you will make time for it. How many times do you say “I don’t have time” when what you really mean is “I don’t make time”? Answering this honestly will mean you quickly start to re-evaluate the most effective ways to spend your days.

Most adults feel that time runs too fast and they run too slow – particularly those balancing work, home life and creative freelancing. The majority of commitment-balancing tips always boil down to how best you optimise your time. Doing it effectively will mean the ability to take on more work, while using up less of your days leaving you more free time and less stress.

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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