"Time is money". As a freelancer, it is prudent to remember this principle. Moreover, being a freelance designer requires you to wear different hats. For each hat, you will need to take different actions. The common thread regardless which hat you wear is that you will need to make the best use of the time to create time!
For example, when you are knee deep working on the brief, not only will you have your creative juices flowing but to some extend you will be calling upon your organizational skills. As discussed in this article, being able to find your files easily allows you to focus on the creative aspects of the works instead of panicking because time is a ticking and you are busy trying to find the right files.
Other times, you will be drawing on your entrepreneurial know how on running a business. This spans from you managing multiple clients to managing your finances. End day, you want to be making the best use of your time handling the different aspects of your freelance business. Some typical areas you should be mindful of and tips on how you can manage more effectively are shared here.
As a freelancer, the work pipeline can be unpredictable. Some days, you are as free as bird and other days you are sinking in the quick sand of briefs. In the second scenario, learning how to manage multiple briefs will put you in a a saner frame of mind. Below are some simple ways you can "create" time to do what you need to do.
#1. Map out in a calendar or timeline when each brief is due
When all the briefs are put into one basket of delivery, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of briefs you may have to work on . By sorting out the briefs by due dates, this allows you to have an uncluttered view of the deadlines in sequence. Suddenly the world will not seem so impending.
#2. Consider the time and effort needed for each brief
Not all briefs are equal. For example, generally working on a static ad takes less time that working on a video ad.
Consider the time and effort needed for each brief and mark it next to the deadlines map. This provides you with a sense of when you need to start working on which brief so that you can meet the deadlines. This also allows you to determine whether you need to check if a particular deadline is flexible.
#3. Think about what your design strengths are
For briefs whose start and delivery dates overlap or are very very close, consider what you are strong at. Mark those briefs out. Next, mark out those briefs which may take you longer as it may require you to research or factor in "trial and error" time. For both types of briefs, it is prudent to factor in rest time and down time.You may think you are a robot, but your body usually has a mind of its own. Murphy's (Law) loves to bite you when you least expect it.
#4. Choose what you can work on
Once you have done this, choose which briefs you want to work on and which you cannot due to overlapping timeframes. Remember, it is not just about choosing the briefs you are good at. One of the benefits of being a freelancer is that you are able to expand your design horizon and to take on new design challenges. Challenge yourself whenever possible to push your potential and to stay relevant.
Where necessary, do communicate with the relevant persons the fact that you are unable to work on those briefs.
#5. Allocate when you will work on which brief
Once you have chosen which briefs you are going to work on, map out when you intend to start working on each brief bearing in mind the deadlines. It is impossible for you to work on multiple briefs at the same time (unless of course you have a clone). By allocating time, you can anticipate if you are going to slip on any of the deadlines as you are working on each brief. Or if you finish earlier than expected, you can choose what you want to do with that extra time. Beats being a panic mode half the time .... for most people.
The life of a freelancer can be a lonely road. However, there are opportunities to work with a variety of people and a myriad of briefs. So enjoy the journey. After all, Life is Journey and not a Destination!