How Does This Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Freelancer Manage Her Time?
I’m often asked in discover calls and virtual entrepreneur meetups, ‘How do you manage your task list?’.
They ask because they know that successful freelancers have a lot on their plates, as does any business in the growth phase.
And like the image I chose for this post, how your time is spent is the puzzle pieces to the income or revenue goals you’re after.
So how do I, a successful copywriting and marketing strategist, manage my time, so I can reap the most financial reward?
Here is my real answer:
1. I neglect my house.
Sometimes the bandwidth I have is just enough to cover the workload and being the parent I want to be. That means, my house gets actually clean for 30-45 minutes a week (and not even thoroughly). The laundry will get done but the clean piles will live on beds and chairs. The floor will be vacuumed and the hard flooring will be swept, but not mopped. The most touched surfaces will be disinfected.
This is coming from a woman who once owned a house cleaning company and loves spending time “making love to the house”, but no one dies and wishes they had cleaned their house more.
When the time is right, invest in a housekeeper. Or free up some time by using a grocery delivery/pick up service like Walmart provides [Get $10 OFF using my Affiliate Link!], pay someone to run errands for you, or use a sitter for your children while you’re home.
2A. I live by my calendar.
Multiple software and systems keep me sane while I grow this business, and they all have to do with my calendar.
All of the Time Management Programs I use are virtually FREE to use.
Google Calendar– This is my master calendar. I put everything here from professional meetings, to blocking out personal time and vacations. When an appointment with someone is confirmed, I send them a Google Calendar event right away. It’s convenient because it can include a Google Hangout link if we need to conference on camera.
Square Appointments– Square Appointments is part of the reason I put my whole life in Google Calendar. It speaks to Square Appointments and vice versa. If I block personal time in my Google Calendar, it will remove my availability from Square’s calendar. Square allows me to create offers, paid or FREE, and put them on my booking page, and give people my EXACT availability so they can book an appointment NOW. If the appointment is a paid appointment, Square can handle the transaction right there, too. They have many solutions that are worth a look for any business!
Sticky Notes– Your computer likely already has a program called Sticky Notes. It’s a way for you to create colored “Post-Its” for your desktop. I use this as my urgent To-Do List. It would also work wonderfully if you have a morning ritual, you can put the itinerary there as a reminder or use the Sticky Note to do it (such as giving gratitude or setting an intention for the day).
Click Up– I used to use Trello, which feels a little bit like Sticky Notes, but in a browser. I loved it 5 years ago, and it’s evolved, but I feel like it’s a bit clunky, especially if you are ever going to consider bringing someone else in to work from it. Click Up is a great project management alternative. You can keep track of clients, projects, tasks, teammates, deadlines, and so much more. You can color code and tag to your heart’s content!
2B. Other Time Management Tips I have for freelancers and business owners regarding their calendars are…
- Make people confirm their appointments, projects, and payments with you. If it’s not confirmed or paid for, it most often doesn’t get honored on my calendar. This ensures you don’t waste time with “tire kickers” or people who can’t respect time, theirs or yours. (It happens, it happens a lot!)
- I should also note that you should also respect time, theirs and yours. I like to respond to messages quickly, even if only ‘I just wanted to let you know I received this! I’m onboarding new clients and will get back to you before end of day Thursday’. When I get the green light to submit a proposal for payment, I try to do it within 24 hours (so that I’m awarded the business and I reward the behaviors I want from my clients- being proactive.)
- Be transparent about your time constraints. It will only work in your favor to be completely up-front about your limited window of availability or how you manage your time. It’s only made people respect me more.
- I use spreadsheets to track my hours for clients that work with me on monthly retainers. I enjoy working per hour with a lot of projects, but even if you don’t, you can benefit from tracking the time you put into projects. You can easily see the efficiency of the projects and if you put in your contract that you will work a maximum of X hours for X amount to accomplish X, you can make sure the project stays on track from both ends (This prevents you from spending too much time on things that don’t move the needle forward and dwindle your pay per hour, and it prevents the client from requesting things outside the lines of productivity until their budget has been spent.)
3. I take CEO Days once per month.
My book, ‘CEO Day Guide: How To Take The Day Off To Make The Rest Of Your Days Ultra-Productive‘ shares exactly how I spend my time when I take the day off to get a better view of my business.
Taking the day off to analyze my data and numbers, note my performance and feelings, and focus on solutions to any hurdles I experienced the past month allows me to make the most effective goals and take the most effective action the month forward.
You can imagine how much time and money this practice recovers.
In this book, you’ll also find ‘7 Essentials For CEOs’, which includes 7 things that keep high-power CEOs on top of their responsibilities (including their calendar!).
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Ivy is a Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Business Coach, and Author based in Las Vegas, NV. Over 10 years of business management and ownership experience has led her to focus solely on Customer Connection Strategies. She lives and works by the philosophy ‘All that matters is how you feel and how you make others feel’. It’s been a profitable philosophy to say the least! She’s gained the recognition of multi-million dollar celebrity ecommerce brands and is fast approaching a million dollars in sales for past and current clients combined.