The secret of time management for creatives

It seems like an impossible task finding time to finally start to work out your ideas. How is it possible that I can’t seem to start working out my creative thoughts?

Many of us struggle with these thoughts on a daily basis.

Finding the perfect balance to start working out our creative thoughts seems more difficult than it sounds. It leads to stressful and chaotic moments where you constantly ask yourself, why didn’t I start on time?

One day I was racing against the clock to finish a deadline that I didn’t start on time because I had been focusing too much on brainstorming instead of actually working out an idea. Due to my poor planning skills, I missed a deadline by a day for an important client which affected my reputation in the industry for a while.

Many creative freelancers deal with unfinished deadlines due to being distracted by everything around them. As if managing our time isn’t difficult enough we also have to deal with several clients and constantly trying to find new project while finishing others.

The moment I realised that missing a deadline affected the way others perceived my work and attitude it affected me on a personal level. I lost confidence in my abilities career wise and made poor decisions based on that, therefore I came to the conclusion that something had to change in order for me to become successful and most importantly happy pursuing my dream.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”

Alexander Graham Bell

I always thought that it would be impossible for me to plan my activities trough out the day, however, I must say that it was difficult at first but the results in my work, as well as the positive feedback of clients, gave a boost to my career.

Even if it seems impossible, being prepared does make you feel more confident about your work and life balance.

Get rid of distractions

Social media, Emails, Skype and phone calls put them on hold when being productive. Try to schedule two or three moments a day where you focus on these tasks. By eliminating the time you spend on these activities your productivity will increase and it will allow you to focus more on your daily tasks. Since I have applied this to my daily life routine it has helped me to eliminate external distractions during the creative process of my work.

Just do it!

One of the biggest stress builders that affect our productivity is procrastination . Whether it’s about calling back a difficult client or responding e-mails, dealing with multiple things on a day is always better than leaving it to pile up on your to-do list for tomorrow. The best way to approach this is by just doing it as soon as possible. There is no greater feeling than going to bed knowing you ticked off all your activities on your to-do list at the end of the day.

Learn how to deal with distractions

Even if you have applied all of the tips regarding time management and prioritizing your tasks, distractions will occur because life and work are full of surprises. It’s essential for creative freelancers to know how to deal with distractions during their workflow. Distractions can vary, from opening  e-mails to receiving phone calls, and they can shatter your concentration on a task or assignment.

Social media is one of the main distractions creative freelancers face with. Being online on social media is important for marketing and networking purposes, however, if used too much, it can take up a lot of your billable time. Therefore, the solution is to schedule a few moments per day to focus mainly on this specific task.

I would suggest to plan out 3 moments of 15 minutes spread trough the day. During other tasks close all tabs related to social media and marketing. If you find the correct approach handling this, your productivity and success as a creative freelancer will increase.

By eliminating distractions it will become easier to express your creativity and thoughts to complete your assignments. Dividing your day in time frames by using a time management tool makes it easier for you to keep your concentration without getting bored.

People often think that because you are a freelancer you have lots of spare time and therefore should be reachable 24/7. It’s important for your work life balance to set priorities and manage your time correctly to prevent a burn out in the future.

Learn to say no!

One of the main fears of creative freelancers is losing the passion for their job over time. Whether you are a writer, artist, photographer, producer, or something else you should understand that you must prioritize and choose wisely which offers to accept. In order to continue a positive career path with a positive workflow being selective when choosing which offers to accept is a must. I can relate to the idea of having less revenue at first is a scary thing, however, losing your passion and confidence over not worthy clients seems scarier if you ask me. Selecting your projects wisely based on your capacities and interests will be visible with the results leading to word of mouth and more projects.

Now that I’ve explained the positive impact time management has had on my career, would you dare to try something different and track your time?
How do you maintain focused when working on your freelance projects? What other advice do you have on how to handle distractions and manage time as a freelancer?

 

About Laura

Laura Jane is a Dutch International Business and Languages student. She is currently working as a Marketing Intern at Timeneye. In her daily life, she enjoys traveling, dancing and being creative.

  • Duska Durdevic

    Great post Laura. Some very valuable advices. Even though I’m not a freelancer, I mostly struggle with the SAYING NO part when it comes to prioritising my daily tasks.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    Regards,
    Duska

  • Laura Jane

    Dear Duska,

    I am happy that you enjoyed reading the blog. SAYING NO is extremely difficult the first times, however, I believe that prioritising is the key to success!

    Goodluck this week.

    Regards,

    Laura Jane 🙂