Time management tips for contractors and freelances
Posted: Nov 02, 2017
Time is money, especially when you are a contractor or freelancer of your own limited company. You are contracted to fore fill the role as best as you can, even though you work for yourself.
Competition is high in the contracting and freelancing industry, so there is no room for scatty time management. We thought it may help to condense a few points so you can enhance your performance and time management out on your roles as well as cutting your limited company admin.
1. Have a strong weekly and daily task list
Distractions are prominent and occur regularly, sometimes even when you know what tasks you have to do things can get hectic and the less important but necessary tasks may well slip your mind. If you write a task list for a week on Monday or the Friday before you can then assign these to yourself everyday in a daily task list. If technology is more your thing then, Outlook or Google Calendar is the ideal planning tool. It may seem mundane to save time out of your valuable day to write down tasks, but in the long run it will help you manage your time better, and you will realise if you are overscheduling or under scheduling yourself.
2. Create an agenda of your most essential tasks to do first
When scheduling your day, put the most important tasks to do first at the top of your list, as are most likely to be the tasks that will take up most of your time. Starting the toughest and most important jobs to begin with, you will achieve a greater sense achievement, which will therefore motivate you to get everything else done.
Award-winning author of time management book ‘Eat That Frog’, Brian Tracy, said "...If you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then persist until the task is complete before you move on to something else."
3. Setting aside a specific time every week to do admin, such as updating timesheets and claiming expenses
Having your own limited company comes with some admin, for example weekly timesheets and claiming expenses through your accountant via a web portal. These are small tasks you have to do so you can get paid and to get your tax relief on expenses, this means you can enjoy your free time. For example, take half an hour on a Sunday morning to input your hours on your timesheet (dependant of course when you need to submit your timesheet).
4. Use apps to track mileage and store expense information
The use of the mobile app helps store information especially if your on the go, and if you have run out of time to log your accountant’s web portal this app will help. Apps can assist you to track things for example mileage and expenses, this means you don’t have to keep writing things down for when you later need to claim them.
MileIQ is an app that automatically logs when you are driving as well as logging your mileage for you, so this means you don’t have to reset your trip odometer every single time you are driving for different contracts.
Evernote is an app which allows you to store notes and audio recordings, this is fantastic for recalling what expenses you gathered and must claim later. When contracting or freelancing with your own limited company, you must hold onto copies of expense receipts for six years in case HMRC request to see them, however you will not have to necessarily need them for claiming your expenses on a weekly or monthly basis. This app is a great idea because it keeps your receipts protected and safe until you need them, as well as allowing you to have all the information on hand.
Read our blog to find out what expenses you can claim through your limited company.
5. Gain the ability to say ‘no’
Do you feel like you can’t get everything off your list and you are completely snowed under with work? Don’t forget you have the ability to say no, if clients or colleagues repeatedly ask for extra help you can turn it down. That’s part of the perks of working independently – you are simply paid to do what was laid out in the contract, so you don’t have to take on any other work that will diverse you from finishing the job you are contracted to do. Of course, being of assistance to your client here and there can create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and them, but you cannot forget what you were employed to do. Also overworking yourself wont allow any free time to yourself and this is one of the key benefits of contracting. As many see the main benefit of contracting is a better work-life balance, which should be taken advantage of.
It is easier said than done to manage efficiently your time but practicing will get you in good habit, rewarding you with the contactor benefits - says Paul from PWD one of the construction companies in oxford
If you have any more tips to help manage your time that you would like to share please leave a comment below.
Growth marketer. Digital strategy consultant. Consulting Audio engineer by background. Digital marketer by choice. Helping freelancers and smart companies being fully digital.