By Carrie-ann | Nov 22, 2012 | Do It Yourself

Time Management Tips for the Self-Employed

One of the struggles of being self-employed – particularly if you work from home – is to manage your time effectively.  Once the structure of a 9 to 5 routine is gone it can be the devil’s own job to be as productive as you feel you should be.
Who’s not heard of someone working 5 am until 11pm? Some of us thrive under pressure. But surely most of us want to work effectively, leaving more time for family and friends? So here are my best time management tips for the self-employed.  In a sense I am saying take back what’s yours: Your time.

 Create a Routine
Creating a routine that works for you is one of the secrets behind self-employed people who seem to get a lot done! Structure your day to suit your circumstances and to take account of when you’re most productive.    A 9 to 5 routine may not suit you. If you do all your best thinking in the small hours (and some do), then factor that in to your routine.
Creating a routine is even more successful when you learn to prioritise. It’s not just a question of putting the most important tasks at the top of your list but also scheduling them for the time of day when you’re at your most productive. For example, if you’re a morning person, that would be the best time to get those big jobs done or the things you find difficult.

Use Tools and Resources If Helpful
Tools exist to make life easier and there are certainly services you can use to help make the best use of your time.  Large chunks of your time may be devoted to bookkeeping or appointment making or fielding calls.  To make bookkeeping easier, think of buying in specialist accounting software or outsourcing the task.
When it comes to making appointments or handling inbound calls think about using a virtual PA service.  Delegating or outsourcing can be very liberating! But don’t be a slave to systems and software if it’s not you. The same goes for Internet Marketing, you can’t always do everything yourself! outsourcing your website marketing is a wise move.

Create a Sense of Achievement
We’ve all had days when we feel as if we’ve not achieved anything or at least not accomplished what we set out to.  Here’s what I do to avoid this. I write list of 5 important daily things to do. These can include non-work related tasks such as paying a household bill. If you always complete your daily 5 important things, this will give you some sense of achievement. It’s the best way  I know of avoiding feelings of under- accomplishment and keeps you focused.