by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 21st November, 2018
When it comes to self-employment, time management is key to success. It can be so easy to overwork yourself or fall behind on projects. The line for handling your work well is a thin one! However, with great time management skills you can provide yourself with a solid foundation for success. We're here to help you build that success through discussing some important tips that can help to keep your productivity levels up, without becoming miserable in the process.
Depending on your personality, it can be so easy to be driven by anxiety or ambition into overworking yourself or begin to let things slide until your projects are behind schedule. In order to bring in a decent income and allow yourself some time to just live, you need solid time management skills.
Using these skills to create a decent balance isn't easy, especially early on into a self-employment career. However, it is completely possible to learn these skills and build them up for a solid foundation. Once you reach your flow, you're sure to be unstoppable.
While it can seem beneficial to work yourself to the bone every day of the week, that can only go on for so long before it begins to wear down on you. For the most part, it's ideal to give yourself a day off every couple of weeks, or once a week if you can.
It's understandable that this is more difficult early on, when pay can be very low and it takes a lot more work to stay on your feet. Even when you can't manage a day off, it's a good idea to make sure you're engaging in self-care and taking breaks to avoid burning yourself out completely.
The tips below are tried and true, and you can rely on them even when the walls seem to be closing in. Just take a deep breath, focus on the tips that are going to be most effective for you, and take it one step at a time.
This is one of the most important tips that can be provided. Many people consider self-employment to be synonymous with "make your own schedule" type situations. However, what this often actually means is that you end up working more than you might with a typical full time job, at least early on.
Consequently, keeping a regular schedule like you would with other types of employment is key. Getting up at the same time, having regular hours and sticking to that schedule is a great place to start. After that, it's a matter of making those hours as productive as possible.
One of the largest issues that can occur comes from trying to make yourself work in a certain way, when that method doesn't fit you for some reason. For example, maybe you try to work exactly like you would at an outside job, with two 15 minute breaks and a half-hour or hour lunch.
This might work for some kinds of work, or certain mindsets, but not for all. It's going to be up to you to figure out a way to balance work time and breaks in order to keep yourself sane and productive.
Don't forget that self-employment can allow you to take breaks as you need to. In many cases, there's no need to burn yourself out by pressing on for hours without letting up. Instead, you can often work longer hours, but with more breaks throughout the day.
This can be a great way to work at a pace more suited to you. Just don't forget that you get out what you put in when it comes to your body and mind. Keeping it well-fed and rested can allow you to get a lot more done during your work time, rather than sluggishly trying to wade through it all.
When you get a routine going, it will be easier to get yourself up in the morning and off to start your day. You'll also have a more strategic way to get through your work. Depending on what you do, this might just mean setting regular work hours, while in other cases it might mean setting aside time for different projects.
However you decide to arrange your schedule, it needs to suit you. Remember that no one else is going to be making sure you stick to a certain number of hours or level of productivity. It's all up to you, which can be very difficult, but also very rewarding.
It's not always easy to keep track of the things you need to do, such as projects, errands, important phone calls and much more depending on the work you choose to do. As a result, it can be so easy for things to become disorganized and extremely stressful.
Luckily, there are a number off applications and programs that can help you to keep everything straight. Or for those who might not be as technologically-inclined, lists can still be a great friend!
If you do a lot of computer work, having two or three monitors can increase your productivity levels so much. You'll be able to write and look up necessary information at the same time, or use one screen for what you're working on and the other for a timer, application or checklist to keep everything organized.
Just make sure that you have a computer that is able to provide the ability to connect to multiple monitors at once, and that you have the space for them. Once you've discovered how helpful a second monitor can be, you'll never want to go back!
Getting wrapped up in your work is easy, but it can run you absolutely ragged. It's so important to make sure that you take time to make sure you get decent sleep, eat healthy food and take breaks for fun when you need them.
It's not a waste of time or lazy to take some time to do the fun things you enjoy. Our brains need breaks from time to time in order to keep functioning well. So enjoy a bath, play some video games, watch a movie, or get out and do whatever helps you to relax and have fun.
Whether you're self-employed full time or are working your way there, it's important to know the absolute minimum amount of money you need in order to get by every month. That way, you can have a monthly goal to work towards.
Once you're able to reach that minimum goal, you can strive to earn more than that. Keep in mind that saving can often be a huge benefit when it comes to self-employment especially. You never know when things might get slow in your chosen line of work, so having some backup is a great idea overall.
Another balancing act that takes place for the self-employed can be either not having enough work to stay afloat, or having too much on their plate. It's a very fine line, which can make a huge difference in income as well as the amount of stress you have to deal with.
If you can start slowly, it's a great way to get a feel for how much time certain projects take. When you've gained some experience, you'll have a better idea of the workload you'll need to take on in order to earn a decent income without working all hours.
Early on, self-employment work can take a lot more time and effort than a typical full-time job. Often, self-employed individuals can begin making less than minimum wage, and therefore need to work more than full time in order to make a decent living.
If you're considering taking a self-employment route, it's worth taking that aspect into account so that you can plan accordingly. It's a great reason to make sure you have some savings built up, or that you move slowly from standard full time work into full time self-employment. You can save yourself a lot of stress that way!
Don't ignore how you're feeling. If you overwork yourself without paying attention to the needs of your body, it's a quick way to become burnt out and miserable. If you're tired, take a short nap, have some water or coffee, or go for a quick walk to wake yourself up. If you're hungry, eat something!
The more you give yourself, the more you can ask from yourself. This is important to keep in mind when you have deadlines to meet or just a lot of work to get done. In time, you'll be able to work out a system that keeps you functioning well and plenty of productivity.