As a freelancer, self-management and organization is 100% on you. You have to have the motivation to get work done, complete projects on time, and keep yourself focused when you work. Sure, flexible scheduling and no commutes are great. But keeping yourself organized in a world that turns only if you keep it spinning is way easier said than done.
In my experience freelancing, organization is key. If I’m not organized, not only does it stress me out but it’s a huge roadblock to my productivity. If you’re ready to kick things into gear and organize your freelance life, check out these 4 tips to make it happen.
1. Group your tasks into categories.
When I first started in the freelance world, my organization system consisted strictly of client names. It didn’t matter what the task at hand was, I labeled the time for a project by client. Although you do need to keep your clients organized (that one seems like a given to me), organizing the types of tasks you work on is super helpful. For me, this looks like client video trainings, writing website copy, blogging, website edits, housekeeping, etc. By categorizing my tasks, it makes step 2 much easier.
2. Schedule out your day!
“If it’s in your schedule, you’ll do it.” I can’t tell you how many podcasts I’ve listened to that have said that. Yes- sometimes that is true. A lot of times it’s not. But I find that if I schedule my day out according to those categories and by priority aligning with deadlines, I have a much better birds-eye-view of what I need to do in a day. Often times I move things around or want to jump into one project more than another and that’s totally okay. If you’re in need of a calendar, create one through Gmail! Google Calendar is my best friend.
3. Create a hierarchy system.
When it comes to folders, files, and digital storage, it is so easy to get inside your head. It’s so fascinating looking at how others set up hierarchy structures of organization. I totally believe that finding a system that works for you is key. With that said, you also need to be consistent. When a new client comes on board, I duplicate a templated hierarchy folder and rename it appropriately. This ensures that every new client has a storage structure that looks the same and is easy to navigate. Mine looks like this: main folder named after the client>internal folders for photos+graphics, website copy, client assets, and admin items>each folder is then broken down into photo folders by project name, labeled docs of website copy, etc. It’s easy for me to navigate any client and is very scalable. If I happened to hire someone to help me, it would be easy to train them, too.
4. Know where you keep your notes.
I recently had a conversation with my mom regarding the login information to one account or another. I told her to look up the original password and you know what her response was? “It’s written on the corner of some envelope from a few months ago. I don’t know where it is…” My OCD heart burst. It is inevitable that you will need to take some sort of notes throughout any day- whether it’s edits, a phone number, a password- whatever it might be, know where you keep these little (and easily misplaced notes). Get a notebook or notepad, keep a document on your desktop, find a solution that works for you.
Staying organized is definitely a process. What other areas do you struggle with keeping organized?