You’re probably managing multiple projects at once. You might even feel like you’re doing it wrong. But don’t worry. There are ways to make things work better. Here are 17 tips for keeping your clients happy while managing your workload.
1. Set Deadlines
If you want to satisfy your clients, you must set deadlines for every project and every task internally. If you don’t, they’ll start thinking about what else they could be doing rather than focusing on the task. This is especially true for freelancers who often take on multiple jobs simultaneously.
2. Prioritize Your Work
You shouldn’t spend all day working on one project. Instead, divide your time among several tasks and focus on completing the most important ones first. Once those are done, move on to the next highest priority.
When you prioritize, then make sure to vary the tasks. If we have to do the same types of tasks all day, then we burn out. Having a variety is a huge motivation boost.
3. Keep Clients Informed
Your clients should know exactly where they stand on the status of their projects. For example, if you’ve been waiting for feedback from a client, send him/her a quick email letting them know how long you’ve waited. They’ll appreciate knowing that you care enough to check on them.
And opposite, if you know already you’ll be late delivering the project, then be upfront with your client. They will appreciate your professionalism so much more by being upfront than they have to find out when it’s too late.
4. Set aside time to plan your week
Like most people, planning your week helps you organize your tasks better. You know what needs to be done and how long it will take to complete each task. This gives you peace of mind knowing that everything will get done on time. But do you ever find yourself rushing around to finish work before Friday? If so, you might want to try setting aside some time to plan your week.
Planning your week will help keep you organised and prevent last-minute stress. Here are three ways to set aside time to plan your week’s activities:
• Make a list of things you must accomplish during the upcoming week.
• Create a calendar showing where you are supposed to be at certain times.
• Use a planner/calendar app such as Planzer.io
5. Break up big tasks
Many people struggle with getting things done because they don’t know how to break down their work into smaller chunks. This is especially true for those overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work they must do. They feel like they just can’t handle it all.
The problem here is that we often try to tackle everything at once. We think that if we just start working on one project, we’ll eventually finish it. But what happens is that we end up doing nothing. Because we didn’t set aside enough time to complete each task, we never actually accomplished anything.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever attempt to do too much at once. You absolutely should. It’s essential to manage your time effectively. However, there are ways to ensure you don’t overwhelm yourself. Here are some tips for breaking down your work into small pieces.
6. Focus on one thing at a time
When trying to manage your workload, focusing on one specific goal at a time is essential. If you try to do too many things at once, you won’t be able to achieve any of them. Instead, pick something to focus on and dedicate your energy to it.
7. Start every day with the most challenging task
We are all guilty of starting our days with easy tasks. We want to make sure we do something productive, but it seems like everything takes longer than expected. If you do the same thing repeatedly, try tackling the most challenging problems first. You’ll feel better about yourself because you’ve accomplished something difficult. You’ll also feel less stressed out because you won’t have to worry about what else needs to be done.
8. Track your time in detail
Timing helps you track your time accurately with detailed reporting. You can use it to monitor your time spent on projects and clients. Timing lets you know exactly what tasks are taking up your time.
You can even set up automatic reminders for yourself, so you never forget about important deadlines.
9. Work on one task at a time
Multitaskers are terrible because they don’t focus on anything long enough to complete it. They switch from task to task without completing any of them. This leads to frustration, stress, and burnout. Research shows that people who work on multiple projects simultaneously are less productive than those who work on just one project at a time.
Time batching helps us finish things faster and avoid distractions. If you want to do something important, like write an email, set aside some uninterrupted time. You might think you can multitask, but you probably won’t be able to concentrate on both tasks well.
10. Maintain a checklist
A checklist helps you keep track of everything you need to do. It allows you to focus on the most essential tasks while avoiding distractions. You can use it to organize your workflow, plan, and ensure you don’t forget anything.
Here are some tips to help you write a checklist that works for you:
1. Write down every task you need to solve
2. Make each item actionable
3. Include deadlines
4. Keep it short and simple
5. Use bullet points
11. Use productivity tools
Spreadsheet software isn’t enough if you want to make sure you are managing your projects efficiently. You need to use these tools to help you keep track of everything. Here are 8 apps that will save you money and help you manage your time effectively.
Planzer.io is an online planner that helps you stay organized. With the calendar, to-do list, goal module and time tracking. You can keep up with your calendar, plan accordingly and use the time tracking module to track your time while achieving your goals. The best thing is that Planzer.io integrates with Trello, Monday.com and Notion. So you can easily drag in your client’s tasks from these project management software.
Trello allows you to organize tasks into boards and lists. You can assign due dates and even add comments to each task. This tool helps you plan your work and break it down into manageable chunks. If you find yourself overwhelmed by everything you need to do, start off small and build momentum.
Asana is another great app to help you manage your projects. With Asana, you can set goals, prioritize tasks, collaborate with others, and much more. You can easily see what needs to be done next and how long it will take to complete.
12. Set reminders for important tasks
Set reminders for due dates and deadlines. Reminders help you remember things you need to do.
When creating a reminder, include everything needed to remind yourself later. For example, include the date and time it needs to be done. Include the person responsible for doing it. Include what task it is. And include anything else that might make sense.
13. Don’t be afraid to ask for extensions
If you’re working on a project deadline, don’t hesitate to ask your client for an extension. You might think it’s too late to ask for one now, but there are ways to do it without coming across as a jerk. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Ask politely. “I’m sorry I haven’t been able to finish my work on time,” says Laura Hensley, founder of Creative Growth Partners. “Can we talk about how best to move forward?” If she asks her clients upfront, she knows what to say. She doesn’t want to come off as pushy. But she wants to avoid being perceived as someone who won’t complete projects on time.
2. Make sure you’ve done everything possible. “Don’t just assume that because you’ve completed 90% of the job, the client will give you an extension,” says Hensley. “Make sure you’ve delivered everything you promised.” This includes delivering final drafts, meeting milestones and providing feedback.
3. Show empathy. “You don’t want to sound like a victim, but you want to show that you understand where the client is coming from,” says Hensley, adding that it helps if you can empathize with the situation. “Let them know that you understand it’s difficult to close out a deal when you’re still in the middle of it.”
4. Give concrete reasons. “Say ‘I’d love to extend our contract,’ but I can’t unless you agree to pay me extra money,” says Hensley’s colleague, Mike Smith. He suggests saying something along those lines. “Be specific about what you need and what you’ll offer in return.”
5. Keep your tone positive. “Even though you’re trying to negotiate, you shouldn’t sound angry or aggressive,” says Hensley; you should speak calmly and professionally.
6. Know your limits. “There’s no harm in asking for an extension, but you don’t want to overstep your bounds,” says Hensley — especially if you’re dealing with a more prominent client. “Know your worth and stick to it.”
14. Say no to new projects
The best way to say no to new work is to decline it outright. This allows the client to find another freelancer or hire someone else. If you don’t want to do the job, simply explain why. For example, “I’m sorry I cannot take on this project,” or “This is not something we can offer.” Don’t worry about hurting the relationship; it won’t happen. You’ll still have plenty of opportunities to work together down the road.
If you’re unsure whether or not you want to accept a particular project, consider asking yourself some questions. Is there anything about the project that makes you uncomfortable? Would you feel better doing it for free? Do you think it could be done better by someone else? These questions will help you decide whether or not you want the job.
When you decline a new project, thank the client for his or her consideration. A simple email saying thanks goes a long way.
15. Outsource when you have too many projects
Outsourcing is a great way to take care of overload work without losing clients. If you don’t have the time to do something, it might make sense to outsource it. But there are some things you shouldn’t outsource. For example, you shouldn’t ever hire someone to write articles or do other freelancing projects for you. This is because you want to retain complete control over the quality of the writing. And you want to ensure that you are getting paid fairly.
There are many ways to find people online to help you with your workload. Some of those include:
1. Craigslist – Find people willing to work for free or cheap.
2. Fiverr – People sell their skills here.
3. Upwork – A marketplace for professionals.
4. Freelancer – Another marketplace for professionals.
5. Guru – An app where you can post jobs and connect directly with potential employees.
16. Take mindful breaks
You know how important it is to take breaks during the day. But sometimes, we don’t realize how much our minds need those little moments of downtime. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or burnt out, here are some ways to start getting yourself back in a good mood.
#1 – Get up every hour
If you’re working long hours, try setting a timer to remind yourself to get up every hour. You might feel like you’ll never make it through another workday without collapsing under the weight of everything you have to do, but even small doses of exercise can give your brain a boost.
#2 – Go outside
One thing that’s been proven repeatedly is that spending time in nature helps us relax. Even if you live without trees, parks or beaches nearby, you can still spend five minutes meditating in front of a window. Just look out at something beautiful and breathe deeply.
#3 – Do something you love
When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to think about anything besides what you must do. Instead, focus on doing something you enjoy. Maybe it’s watching TV, reading a book or listening to music. Whatever it is, find something that makes you happy and do it.
17. Context switch to boost productivity
Context switching is a technique to help you refocus on what you are working on. You might think it sounds like multitasking, but it isn’t. Rather, it involves shifting your attention from one task to another. This allows you to take breaks, do something else, or even go home early without feeling guilty.
The key is to make sure you don’t let yourself drift off into daydreaming. Instead, shift your attention to the next task immediately. If you’ve been staring at your computer screen for hours, it’s probably because you’ve lost track of time. Take a quick walk around the office, check your email, or just close your eyes for a few minutes. Then return to your original task.
This method works best if you know how long each task will take. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting time trying to figure out where you left off.
Freelancing is a great way to earn money while keeping your sanity intact. The only problem is that it can also be overwhelming starting. However, by following these 17 tips, you’ll be able to keep your workload manageable and avoid burnout.
What are some of your favourite tips for managing multiple freelance projects?