Once upon a time I used to have a manageable capacity of freelance work while working a full-time job.  Then, after having a baby I decided I wasn’t going to go back to a 9-5 job and I traded it in for an amazing life of freelancing with considerably more clients. Now, if you’ve being working freelance for any amount of time, you’ll know that almost everyone wants their project completed yesterday. So, I bet your left wondering, how do you juggle several freelance projects at once and still delight your clients?

Simple. ORGANISATION!

If you know me you’d know I’m the ‘Organisational Queen’. I have labelled EVERYTHING! And I’m constantly setting reminders in iCal. No I don’t have OCD (well maybe just a little) but as a full time mum to a toddler and a freelance graphic designer & virtual assistant I’m always kept on my toes. I have tantrums and timelines to wrangle. The only way you can truly have that work life balance is if you’re organised. So let me share with you my 5 tips on how to juggle it all and not burn out.

  1. Apps – I rely on a number of apps. But who knows where I’d be without Apple Notes app (probably under a huge pile of post-its!) I use it for all my thoughts and note taking. Now some bag out Notes, but for me, I find it incredibly useful. The biggest reason is it syncs over all my devices and it’s paperless. Plus it’s super straightforward to use. (Side note: I’m looking forward to the iOS9 update as it’s going to be super beefed up). If you’re not into the Apple Notes app some other popular note taking apps are Evernote, SimpleNote, Microsoft OneNote, & Google Docs.

Another big part of my organisation is Asana. Think conversation and tasks without email. I use it to list all of my projects for each client and then prioritise them accordingly. It’s great for showing you what your deadlines are and the mobile app (iOS & Android) is just as streamlined.

Another time saver is Toggl, which integrates with Asana (#winner). There’s nothing worse than losing track of time and not realising how long you’ve actually spent on a clients’ work. I believe tracking your time is really important, for two reasons. First, for billing purposes. I have clients on retainer packages and have purchased a set amount of hours. I also charge by the hour so I want to ensure I’m not under or over changing my clients. Secondly, I believe tracking your time is a good measure to help you quote for futures clients. The more frequently you do something the better you get at it. I know from tracking my time the average time it takes me to design most commonly asked material.

  1. Communication – I’m a strong believer that you can’t do business without communication. It is the key ingredient to running a successful business. It’s a big player for being organised. Ensuring you keep your clients up to date with where your at with their project is not only good work ethic it’ll will give you brownie points that you’re always keeping them in the loop.
  1. Personal time – We all need to have down time. Now I know you’re thinking “I have far too many deadlines to have time to myself” but it’s so important to schedule down time into your week. It gives you the opportunity to unwind and recharge so you can be productive for the next day. Trust me, it’s not a waste of time. You’re investing in your health and creativity. Just don’t be confused between down time and procrastination.
  1. Time is precious – One of the delights of freelancing is you have the freedom to set your own hours. As a full time mum I generally work nights, as I know I won’t be interrupted. It’s also near impossible to do anything during the day without a little person wanting to sit on my lap and bang on the keyboard. I also take full advantage of nap-time (while my little one is young enough) along with any other time I can get to myself where I can be productive. Use your working time wisely and you’ll soon be crossing off that to-do list.
  1. Meal planners – Now this sounds like a bit of an odd tip but believe me, it’s a game changer. There’s nothing worse then at the end of having a really productive day to then realise you’ve got nothing planned for dinner. You either have to search high and low in the pantry to pull something together or you have to race to the shops and dodge all the others who are in the same boat.  I get organised and write up a weekly meal plan before I do the weekly shop so I know I have all the ingredients I’ll need. Being organised with a meal planner it a huge time saver. It’s just one less thing you have to worry about and lets you get on with more important things.

Overall, getting organised and staying organised is the key to staying on top of your workload and achieving the work life balance. So give these tips a go and you’ll be delighting your clients in no time.

Andrea Finch

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