Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time in the day? Who am I kidding? We all feel like this most of the time!
When you’re building your freelancing career, you’re likely feeling especially pressed for time. (And if you’re a parent and working from home, you have even less time to grow your business.)
Since I haven’t figured out how to bend time and space (yet…but I do love Doctor Who!), I have some time management tactics that you can start implementing immediately so you can spend time where it counts the most: building your business.
The 3D Method
Time management coaches will tell you to put everything on your to-do list in three boxes: do, dump, or delegate. I can’t do or dump your tasks for you, but I can help you delegate.
The time you spend building your business and/or working on projects for clients is valuable. You know this already. You can probably calculate its actual dollar worth, but it also has value in the relationships it builds with your clients and the work it may help you secure in the future.
The key to maximizing your time is to spend it on these career-building tasks and less on tasks that are necessary but that don’t earn you anything now or in the future.
What kind of tasks am I talking about? Tasks like grocery shopping, housecleaning, driving the kids to practice, dropping the dog off at the groomers, etc. Not only do these things not help you grow your business, but some of them are better left to the professionals. 😉
1. Do It Online
These days, especially post-pandemic, you can do so many things online: pay your bills, schedule appointments, have certain doctor’s appointments like virtual therapy, and purchase nearly everything. (It’s true. I bought live fish on Amazon for my husband’s basement aquarium during the pandemic!) It is so much faster (and I think easier) than doing it in person.
And, if you are at all like me, you can multitask: Click off your grocery order delivery while you’re brainstorming and fine-tuning a new pitch letter to a client or drafting a list of previous clients you can touch base with again. Selecting “past purchases” from your grocery cart online takes little brainpower, allowing you to do a similarly less challenging activity in the meantime. And crossing off two to-dos at once?! That’s a mic drop moment!
2. Give It to a Pro
The pandemic also helped rev up small online businesses. With sites like Instacart for same-day grocery delivery, TaskRabbit for all kinds of personal tasks like running errands, and Fancy Hands or Zirtual for all kinds of virtual personal assistant tasks, there are so many ways to get things done without doing it yourself. Just pop over to Google and enter what you need done and you’re sure to find someone doing it as a side hustle or business. (And, by doing so, you’re also helping support other freelancers like yourself!)
3. Share Responsibilities
If driving your children to practice or lessons is on your schedule, start with a carpool. Share the task of driving the kids with other parents and you can spend more time on your work while knowing they’re still getting to that practice or lesson.
You can’t underestimate the value in task-sharing. Take, for example, if you have younger kids. You’re always tasked with bringing in an apple to make applesauce for the fall activity or a bag of popsicle sticks for an art project or some other crazy thing. Rely on your mom and dad network and delegate responsibilities one person at a time. This helps ease the burden of all the busy parents and even builds a network of other supportive parents that is invaluable. I can’t count how many times another parent asked me to do pick-up when they were running late and vice-versa. This network will have your back…and build lasting friendships between parents and kids!
4. Get Over the Guilt
I know a lot of people (I’m especially talking to you, overachieving moms!) feel guilty about hiring house cleaners, thinking that if they’re able to do it themselves, then they should. I dropped this thinking long ago!
If you can pay someone $30 an hour to clean your house and you can use that same time to earn $50 in your business, then you’re ahead of the game. And remember what I said about some tasks being better left to the professionals? This is one of them! I’m a neat freak but not the most careful (or quickest) cleaner, and the cleaners who come in every two weeks to help us out are lifesavers! I’ve often told people that having house cleaners has saved my marriage: No more fighting over how to vacuum properly! (Or is that just me?!) And you can save your weekends for much-needed family time and downtime—time you need to regroup, recoup, and keep your mind fresh to grow your business when you are working.
5. Do It Sooner Rather Than Later
Just when you start thinking that these tasks (and I’m sure there are more I haven’t listed) are taking too much time and energy away from your freelance business then that’s the right time to delegate it.
The longer you wait to remove some of these mundane tasks from your to-do list, the longer you’ll put it off. Procrastinating is not helping move your business forward. It’s holding you back. Don’t wait until you’re burned out to get help.
What are your go-to items to delegate? How has that made your life easier? Let us know in the comments below!