- Keep a planner. Write everything in it, even things you are sure you’ll remember.
- Make a list. On a piece of paper, write down all of the thing you need to accomplish. Then, number them from most to least important. This will help you determine what to start working on first.
- Respond to e-mails. I struggle with this one, but I do try to stay on top of my communication. It shows people that you care and that their projects matter to you.
- Honor deadlines. This might sound simple, but one of the most important things you can do to be efficient is to get things done on time. After all, if you don’t honor deadlines, you might not have any deadlines to honor in the future.
- Celebrate achievements. When you finish a big project, allow yourself some down time. A fresh mind allows you to tackle the next project with efficiency, while forcing yourself to move from one project to another can result in distractions. Instead of wasting time while I’m working (browsing websites, etc.), I give myself short, designated “breaks” — this is time I don’t feel guilty about “wasting,” because it’s time I’ve decided can be used for rest.
- Get exercise. It might be weird to see this on the list of things to keep yourself on task, but trust me: exercise will help you get things done. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and be more alert. Plus, I always feel better about eight hours in front of the computer if I’ve just run six miles.
A few days ago, as I was responding to e-mails, I came to a realization: I juggle a lot of things at once. From multiple client projects to homework to my own writing endeavors, I usually have several things going, and most of them require a lot of careful attention. I’m not always the most efficient person in the world, but I am pretty good at juggling my many projects. So, I thought I’d share some of the tricks of the freelance trade. Here are a few ideas to keep yourself organized, stay on task, and be as efficient as possible: