What I’ve learned about time management

One of the fundamental differences that I’ve found between men and women is that men never feel that they have to prove they’re supermen. Women, on the other hand, need to prove they’re superwomen by running a Martha Stewart-like home, producing meals like Nigella Lawson, being the perfect wife and mother and – just to top it all off – having a superbly high-powered job. Although this is what we women all strive for, I’m afraid to say that it will never happen – believe me: I speak from personal experience!

I think that this dilemma is even more real for us women who are freelancers as we work from home. And because of this, our partners who go out to an office every day think that the responsibility of the home, cooking, etc., falls on us as we’re “at home” all day. The thought that we’re working – and not sitting around watching horrendous daytime television – doesn’t cross their minds.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that we’ll ever get past this mindset so we need to find a way to figure out how to live with it – and try to deliver as best we can in all spheres of our lives. So, here’s what I’ve learned on my freelance management 101 course. It’s not easy – and I’m not saying that I’ve got everything down pat – but it’s a start.

Decide what your priorities are

A wise man once said – I think it was South African speaker and author Douglas Kruger – that if you say ‘yes’ too often, your value to your clients will diminish. You’ve got to be selective about what you choose to do. My priority is to finish my LLB, which I started in around 2008. I’ve got 20 modules to go and nothing – and no one – is going to stop me from finishing this in the next two years. This is my priority: you’ve got to figure out what yours is.

Plan, plan, plan

From the time that you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed, you need to have a plan about what you’re going to achieve that day.

When I left full-time employment and started out as a freelancer, on the days I knew that I didn’t have much to accomplish, I would lounge in bed until 9am and then find myself in front of the TV for the rest of the day. Don’t do this! If you do, you’ll find days going past without you knowing where exactly they went. Now, on days when I don’t have much to do, I wake up at the same time as my husband does and I go to gym. This gives me focus and I find the rest of the day flows much smoother.

These are just two methods that I’ve found helpful in managing my time as a freelancer. What do you find helps?