You can plan your week using pen and paper, time planner of some kind, Google calendar (that’s what I use, always), outlook calendar or any type of application, program or platform to your liking. Only if written down, you will have exact idea at a glance what you have to do when – and you will be able to focus on following the plan and implementing the tasks. These are hypothetical situations but you get the idea why building a time buffer is important.
Usually it isn’t a good idea to check your email in the morning because you get sucked in and you can waste good 2 hours purging mail – and those often are your most productive hours.
Skype, Yahoo messenger, MSN, Google Talk or whatever else instant messaging program you use – they are all a huge distraction.
Your daily horoscope won’t change the course of your day; neither will your virtual fortune cookie.
I have noticed it is a common habit for the 9-to-5 employee to leave their work for tomorrow. Being a freelancer, you care (or at least you should) about the quality and turn around time of your work.
Unless you are sick or totally lack focus or inspiration, do not leave your work for tomorrow if you can do it today. Maybe tomorrow you will need that time buffer you left when planning your workload for the week – yes, for last minute edits or design changes. Hardest part for me is procrastinating on certain projects that will help my business grow.
I was speaking with a terrific productivity expert about managing my time and she had the same advice you offer here, I particularly like the idea of buffering your time.
But yes, i can see how this tactic would be very helpful to others – thanks for adding it to the post, Debra! Time management, ironically, is the topic of my latest guest post, and the tips you offer here are great, Diana.

I do have separate email accounts for personal email and one that I use for less urgent needs. Those are skills of crucial importance for everyone, especially the freelancer, to organize their work process and to complete projects with quality in the agreed timeframe.
Monday morning (or better yet, Friday afternoon, right before you close the shop for the week) write down all the tasks you have to do the next week – per day, even per hour if you can. First, you had to stop doing whatever you were doing and agree on a time and a place for that meeting with this other person. At last it came – only to leave in the middle of your first sentence, when the next instant message comes in and you are too curious not to look. You put your name and reputation on the line every time you take up a project and deliver the end result.
Or better yet – a long forgotten friend will call you out of the blue and you will have the unbelievable opportunity to go to Vegas on his expense.
She also suggested that I look at including several 15 minute jobs in my day as opposed to big blocks. More often than not it would be helpful to set alarms to know it’s time to move on to the next item on your to-do list and calendar… thanks fro the addition! I wish I could only check my email a couple of times a day but like Leora, I work with clients and I need to check that email account throughout the day in case someone needs me for something.
I don’t check my accounts often but I do keep Buffer so that I can schedule my shares throughout the day. Here are 6 time management tips which you can start using right away to improve your time management and productivity immediately.
And secondly, your mind is probably now thinking of scenarios what this great news is that begs for having coffee and talking about it and not sharing it right here and now on Skype. We don’t have a supervisor who thinks time spent in the office equals completed work.

I have to day that key for me as a writer is to sit down in the morning and NOT go near my email until noon or after. I would add something to management skills is to take at 10 minutes every hour and get up and move around. I always give myself too much to do and not enough time, so I end up staying up working later than I’d like. I make a time table and break my project down into smaller parts so that each part should be completed according to the time table.
In those days I check my email way more often than twice per day – and it shows as my productivity falls immensely.
Get your clients used to the idea you reply to emails within 24 hours and no within 30 minutes.
We have clients who care about the completed work indeed – its quality and turn around time is way more important than the time of day it got done. When you come back you feel refreshed and can get back to the tasks at hand instead of staring at the computer trying to figure out what you need to do next. That’s why I am always trying to move my client communications to a project management platform. I noticed later on that he had just fed the cats the last of the cat food and told him that he needs to let me know when we run out of cat food.

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