Time is indeed important. For freelancers, time is money. Hence, you should be able to make use of it really well and be productive all the time. To avoid stress, frustrations and unfinished projects, make a timeline for your projects and always follow it. When you are able to use this effectively, this can help you create a positive reputation, thus, allowing you to gain more clients. Here are some tips to make a realistic timeline :
1.Create an outline or task list.
Using your pen and paper, you can make a task list of your work and your goals. You may also use online time management tools. Make the list chronological and it is up to you on which tasks comes first. Make sure you do not forget anything. This will help you monitor your time, stay focused and organized.
2. Know the length of time you need.
For every task, you have to determine how many hours or days you’ll need to finish it. Estimate this and use it in making your outline. Remember to count business or working days only. Allocate weekends for yourself and for your loved ones.
3. Use labels.
You may use labels in making your task list so that when you post it, it is easy to spot things. You may use letters or images. You can make it look artistic, too. Make some task overlap so that you can save time.
4. Identify the critical path.
Critical path means the task wherein you will spend the longest time. Determine which ones belong to that. Once you spend more time on these, there is a possibility to ruin the entire timeline. So make sure that critical activities are finished on time.
5. Know when to start and end.
After writing your tasks and knowing how many days or hours you’ll spend on it, determine the start and end of the task. The most effective way of doing this is by knowing the deadlines then count backwards.
6. Make deadlines that are realistic.
Make sure your deadlines are realistic. When we say realistic, it means that you can really finish it on or before the said date. Give yourself enough time to finish it. Do not make your deadlines too short, unless it is a “rushed” project.
7. Know your priorities.
Image: Giovanni Sades
Of course, you need to determine which ones are more important. Work on the most important project first. Even if a client came first when he really doesn’t need the output right away, you can work on another project first which is needed at once. It depends on how you set priorities, just remember to do so.
8. Always start on time.
Image: Matthew Masin photo
Since you already have a schedule, follow it. Start on time. Do not delay for it will ruin the entire timeline. Avoid procrastination. Follow what you have planned and for sure you’ll be able to achieve everything.
9. Set reminders.
When you have a timeline, you still have to set some reminders. Set your reminders ahead of time so that you will know when another tasks is about to start. You may use your cellular phone to remind you of other tasks to be done. This will help you stay on track.
10. Do easier task in between.
Since you have done the critical activities first, you can insert easier task in between them. This will help you finish more tasks and will give your mind a little rest for the activity is less complex. Just be sure to complete it on time, too.
Remember that in making your timeline, may it be for a week or for a month, you should always make it realistic. Aside from that, make sure it is complete for it would be hard to insert tasks which consumes a lot of time. But in making a timeline, leave some days or some time vacant so that if ever there are sudden important activities which are not so time consuming, you can easily insert it. And, do not forget to allot time for yourself.