Freelancing is a balancing act.
All of the clients, projects, and business tasks are in your hands and it’s up to you to keep everything running smoothly.
That’s why organization is critical to any freelancer’s success.
To help keep you organized and productive, there are many different tools, processes, and systems to help with that.
Here’s how to keep your business organized, according to freelancers who are already doing it.
Set a schedule
One of the first things that come to mind when people think of freelancing is the ability to work whenever they want. Freelancers set their own hours. You can work Monday through Friday from 9-5, or you can choose to work evenings and weekends if that’s when you feel more productive.
No matter when you choose to work, stick to a schedule. Having a varied work schedule may work for you, but many freelancers find that setting a schedule or daily routine helps keep them organized. Not only that but having designated working hours can also help create a boundary between work and life — which is essential for remote freelancers.
For freelance designer and branding expert, Hannah Van Woert, being intentional with her time is one of the keys to business and personal alignment.
“I work part-time hours and I take Fridays off, and that is because I now have a one-year-old boy crawling around the house,” she said during an episode of The Leap. “I feel fortunate that both my husband and I work from home…but because I have limited hours, that really makes me want to make the most out of my day. I try to start my day around 9:00am and end my day around 2:00pm, because, for me, that’s when I’m the most productive mentally.”
Her set schedule has helped her stay on track and be more productive day-to-day. She adds, “I’ve actually found that even though I’m working far less hours than I typically would’ve at a corporate job, I’m just as productive.”
Streamline routine processes
Though your projects or clients may bring something new to your business every day, there are some routines that just don’t change, such as sending proposals or invoicing. To efficiently tackle these recurring tasks, it’s important to streamline them using tools or systems.
For example, if you find yourself creating the same scopes and proposals for every client inquiry that comes your way, then tap into Wethos’ scope of work templates to simplify the process. You can use one of our free, editable templates to create a scope of work, or create one from scratch, and save it for future use to send to clients again and again.
“The scoping templates are a huge differentiator,” said solopreneur Molly Montag about Wethos. “Something that used to take me three hours to scope now takes me 30 minutes.”
While Montag previously spent valuable time juggling multiple processes across a variety of tools, she now also relies on Wethos to streamline lead management and keep her clients’ key information organized without ever having to switch tabs.
Lean into project management tools
With all of the different projects and tasks you juggle as a freelancer, it only makes sense to organize them all into one place. A good old-fashioned notebook or spreadsheet might make do when you’re getting started, but once you begin to scale, a project management tool is essential for keeping track of everything you have going on.
“I use all of the project management tools to keep me steady,” said Hannah Von Woert. “Most of my day is [spent] working on client work. I’ll probably go through my emails for the first hour or so while I’m really getting into the work mindset. Then I’ll go through my tasks in ClickUp and figure out what needs to be done, manage a launch schedule, email clients, check on payments, that sort of thing.”
Some of the best project management tools include:
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, these tools are a great place to start exploring all that project management tools have to offer.
Try task batching or time blocking
We’ve all been there: You’re deep into a creative task when you hear a familiar ping. It’s an email from another client who’s requesting edits. You pull yourself away from what you were doing to answer your client. Then you remember that there’s someone else you’ve been meaning to email back, so you search through your inbox to respond to them, and then…the list goes on.
Jumping between tasks and clients is all too common as a freelancer. But multitasking can be mentally draining and it ends up making your day feel less productive than if you had focused on one thing at a time. That’s where task batching can help.
Task batching involves grouping similar tasks together and working on them all at once before switching to another type of task. Similarly, time blocking also works well for getting tasks done efficiently. Both of these time management techniques can help you better organize your day by allowing you to focus on one thing at a time.
For example, if you’re a social media manager, you could set aside time in your day to engage on social media for all of your client accounts. During this time, you would do nothing but engage — no answering emails, creating content, or putting together reports.
Organizing your day, your processes, and your business systems are key to any freelancer’s success. Try these organization techniques to scale and simplify your business in 2023.