How do you stay productive and stay organised at work as a freelancer? How do you manage multiple clients, work on creative projects, do business admin and stay sane?
Sometimes you may have all the tools, but it’s hard to get the gears going. With multi-passionate pursuits, clients to look after and business admin, how do you know where to start and where you should focus your time.
We had similar struggles when we went from freelancers to business owners. All of a sudden there was an influx of work to do and we had to get motivated, stay disciplined, and account for our time.
Now you must know The Moderna ethos is all about living life in a flexible lifestyle so that -
- We aren’t regimented into a rigid work schedule that makes us feel trapped or chained to a desk.
- We are able to make time for spontaneous things in life that add meaning, like a 1pm dance class, a late breakfast with an old friend, or an extra long writing session.
- We are able to truly take advantage of the most sensible times of the day of us, and make productive use of our work hours.
- We have more quality time to spend with and take care of our families, no matter what.
As much as we love our flexibility, one thing we quickly learned was that it is so important to set up STRUCTURE in our day to day work lives so that we actually get shit done.
HOW TO GET ORGANISED
In that vein, over the past few years we have come up with a schedule that works for us and we are happy to share that with you today in hopes that it helps you get organised as a freelancer, a digital nomad, or female entrepreneur.
We’ve gone over some tips and tricks to stay organised in this blog post, and as we mentioned there is no one way to best organise yourself for success. It all depends on what your workload looks like, what type of work you are doing, what your workstyle is and how you are most productive.
BALANCING YOUR WORKSTYLE AND WORK HABITS
If you are starting out as a freelancer, digital nomad or remote worker you may be THRILLED to say goodbye to your commute and say hello to pyjamas.
Or you may be overly excited to be working on your own that you jump straight into over-work and overwhelm without balancing all areas of your business.
We’ve found that maintaining structure is important when you are building a brand, but it becomes even more imperative when you start adding stakeholders like clients, assistants or investors.
For me (Clara), I’m a night owl. It’s easy for me to be distracted during the day and as a writer, I really need to be without interruptions to get my best work done. That’s awesome when I’m on a writing retreat, but not so great when I’m managing business admin, client deliverables, creative projects and a family life.
As much as I’d like to, I can’t stay up until 4am writing everyday simply because that’s what works for me. Instead, I find balance.
While I (Pauline), find that my productivity waxes and wanes on a daily basis. For instance, Mondays are just not good days for me to do client work. After the weekend, Mondays are better spent focusing on business admin, sorting out what client work needs to be done for the week and organising affairs at home. My mind needs this on a Monday to knock the rest of my projects for the business and for clients out of the park.
Scroll down and click below to receive your own Freelance Work Schedule templates to help plan out your week.
THE FREELANCE WORK SCHEDULE
AM - Weekly task check, Organisation & List-making
PM - Client work
We usually talk and check in all throughout the week. We’re both sisters and business partners, so we’re pretty much talking all the time. However, every Monday morning we have a strictly business meeting to prepare for the week. Like a scrum meeting in agile business strategies, we go over our priorities, talk about what we accomplished last week, what we didn’t get done, and what the goals are for the week ahead.
In this way, we both are aware of our individual and combined tasks to complete without constantly needing to check in with each other. This strategy also works well if you are a one-woman train. Make your to-do list, carve out your time for the week in your calendar, add notes in your project planner (we use and love Asana) and get organised.
Nine times out of ten, Mondays are work from home days for us so we are at our respective home offices, and we avoid scheduling outside client meetings unless absolutely necessary. Pyjamas and hot tea at the ready! In addition, we never hate Mondays anymore. Our week starts out restful and low stress, and the first thing we do during the week is to organise ourselves for success.
AM - Client work
PM - Social media
Tuesdays are for getting shit done. While we use Mondays to ease into work, set goals and make sure we’re communicating with clients about the week ahead, Tuesdays are the days that actions start getting ticked off the list. Tuesdays are also a good time for us to do consultation or catch up calls with clients, suppliers and partners. Then we try to spend one or two hours in the afternoon focusing on our social media accounts, scheduling through Planoly for Instagram and posting on Facebook.
We will usually also leave the house today, heading to our co-working space at Mortimer House (if you are looking for a work home away from home in London, this is it!) or at some dedicated space like WeWork. During lunch time we usually attend one of the great fitness classes at our our coworking space like Ballet Barre or Core Strengthening.
AM - Creative project work
PM - Client work
On Wednesdays we wear pink.
Just kidding, we wear whatever we want - but often it’s multiple outfits as we try to leave these mornings open for when we need to shoot our content. Or we leave it open for writing or our own creative work.
The afternoons are back to managing client work and ticking things off the list. It can sometimes be a tricky balance between client work and our own brand, and some weeks are more client heavy than others and vice versa, but when we try to stick to this basic plan, it works.
Again, we are either in the studio, on location or at the co-working office.
AM - Client work
PM - Marketing and Business development
More client work. More catching up. More ticking things off. Thursdays are great days for face to face meetings and, if necessary, going into client offices. The afternoons are a good time to check in with our own marketing and business development. And if there are any of our own projects to take care of, we’ll continue that work now.
Since Thursdays are a get up and go kind of day, it’s nice to work at our co-working space or at one of our fave local cafes. A lunch meeting often turns into the best place to get work done for the rest of the afternoon. The Hoxton Holborn is one of our favourite places for this, and Mortimer House has a beautiful restaurant on the ground level of our co-working office that we like to impress our clients with.
AM - Admin/Finances
PM - Catch up OR FUN
Finally, Friyay! Fridays are often a lot more chill than the rest of the week, but we also try to finish off tasks and set the scene for a stress-free weekend. Admin includes emailing people that need to be caught up with, going through our accounts, tweaking the website and going over priorities for the next week.
Most weeks we try to NOT SCHEDULE anything in for Friday afternoons, and those are leisurely days to finish work at an easy pace, or to head offline for an early weekend.
Of course, sometimes that’s unavoidable, but we like to keep that buffer in the schedule for our own self-care. This is also the time we like to celebrate good news, a finished project or client wins - or when we just want to drink prosecco during the day...
Downtime (and/or catch up on creative work)
As business owners, we are constantly thinking about how we want to serve our customers, so while we love spending time with our families and friends and flipping the ‘off’ switch on the weekend, we often find ourselves catching up on creative work, or strategising about our next idea. When you love it, it doesn’t feel like work. Now listen, that’s not always true all the time, but we do have fun in our business. We started this blog grinding on Saturdays at the Starbucks on West End Lane 5 years ago, and even now you can often still find us in the same spot.
Briefly look over the week ahead before heading to bed
Now Sundays are truly down days for the both of us, but we do often end up having a quick 5 to 10 minute business chat sometime on Sunday evening to check in on the week ahead, especially if there is a major project, event or deliverable happening. If you are on your own, it’s a good time to take a few minutes to check in with your schedule and plan out where you are going to be each day of the week ahead.
And that's it!
A mainstay in our business is flexibility. Constant communication is the most important aspect of how we run our business, because truthfully, no week ever looks exactly like the one before.
The balance between flexibility and structure is KEY in how we thrive in our business and we work to keep our sense of freedom in tact while executing tasks for our own business and for our clients.
Overall, this schedule changes each week - Pauline will be running an event, Clara will be running to an audition that pops up at the most random moment, there’s an emergency pitch we need to prep for, or there’s a conference we’d love to go to - whatever the case may be, we keep coming back to this schedule because it works for us.
How do you schedule out your week? Do you crave structure or flexibility? Are you a night owl or a morning person? Let us know in the comments below how you plan your freelance work week!