Do you feel like you work all hours of the day, but never feel like you get anything done? Whether you are a freelancer, independent contractor or consultant, time management is essential to completing projects on time and more importantly, keeping your sanity in check. But, as we all know, managing your work day is not as easy as it seems.
Time management for IT consultants is so important, because many earn their living through billed hourly work. The more efficient your day, the more money you can make. To help, our team put together a list of time management resources as well as tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your day.
To start, we love keeping these three suggestions in mind every day to squeeze the most out of our working hours – always schedule time for work and marketing each day, use systems and tools to stay organized and minimize distractions during your work day.
Use an online project management tool to stay organized. Finding an online management tool to help you stay organized and accountable can be an excellent resource to keep track of your work for each of your projects, track your to-do lists and store all your documents in one place. When comparing online management tools, keep in mind the way you work and what system will be the easiest to integrate into your day. Like all resources, these tools will only be as useful as you make them. For a comprehensive breakdown of some of the various tools out on the market, check out this review.
Keep track. We agree with Entrepreneur, “Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.” We bet, you will be surprised, how you are really spending your time. If you don’t know where the hours are going, how will you begin to claim those hours back?
Schedule your day. Take the information you gathered on how you are spending your time and map out a new weekly schedule. Input this information onto your calendar as blocks of time and begin to see your productivity skyrocket.
Keep in mind the following when putting together your working schedule:
- Set goals and deadlines for each week.
- Schedule time to check and respond to email each day.
- Make sure to build in time to recharge your batteries.
- Schedule weekly time for conference calls and client catch up meetings and calls.
- Set aside time each week for your own networking and marketing efforts.
- Prioritize the times of day when you are the most productive and work during those times.
Putting together a regular weekly schedule, even if it is just a loose outline, will incorporate accountability into your week and will make a habit out of routine work, ultimately saving you time and opening up opportunities to make more money.
Time management will always be a work in progress, but incorporating the strategies above will give your days structure to be successful and productive.
Interested in more? Check out these additional resources on valuable time saving techniques: