Time is a contractor’s most valuable resource, but it’s also one of the hardest to manage. It’s no surprise that contractors have to wear many hats and be out doing most of the work themselves, especially in the beginning when they’re working alone.
This makes time extremely limited – how can you perform essentially three or more jobs by yourself?
Since adding more hours to a 24h day isn’t possible, you have to find ways to make more time for your tasks. For this, you have to keep your productivity high and automate wherever possible, but all without overworking yourself to exhaustion – your health is precious.
So how do we do this?
“Winging it” is the best way to waste a lot of time. While improvising and adapting are definitely a part of the hustle, you don’t want to be riding without a plan.
Try to plan your days as much as possible using a method you like. You can use a physical or digital planner, a calendar, a to-do app, whatever you prefer. For more complex tasks (such as your marketing plan), plan ahead for the week or month.
Use time tracking tools
Time tracking is one of the best ways to save time and learn about your habits. This will further help with your time management because you will understand how long you take on average to perform certain tasks.
Most importantly, it will help you identify time sinks that you can eliminate. After a while, you should be able to block your time a lot better and more efficiently with this knowledge.
I highly recommend trying Toggl, a free time tracker that works on pretty much any device (including smartphones and smartwatches) and has a useful extension for Chrome where you can easily keep track of how long you’re spending on any given task.
Automate as much as possible
This is more of a marketing tip, but it can also be useful for handling finances.
For example, when it comes to your online marketing, there’s a whole lot that you can (and should) be automating. You can schedule your posts for the week ahead of time with a bit of planning, which is way better than spending precious minutes every day stopping only for that.
And for finances, there are many apps specifically for handling business finances that allow you to easily create invoices, reports, and budget predictions with a single button press. That’s a lot of time you save as opposed to manually typing it out yourself.
Use technology to save time
Obviously, using a smartphone or tablet can really help you out on the field. Easy access to your documents, internet, camera, and planning is extremely valuable.
A tablet is a wonderful tool for a contractor, as it provides a big enough screen to read and write documents on the go while retaining the portability to be taken anywhere.
But you can also use video calls to save a lot of travel time on meetings, for example. You’re not just saving time, but also fuel from the trip. Technology allows for many time-saving shortcuts that won’t compromise the quality of your work.
As obvious as it may sound, the best way to make more time for yourself is to hire others to share the load. Even with a limited budget, even a single hire can free up dozens of hours from your own workload, giving you more time to focus on important tasks, and of course, rest.
As a priority hire early on, contractors usually prefer a secretary and someone to handle the finances, followed by a marketing person. This priority is different for certain niches, since some may prefer to hire a team of other contractors to send out on the field while they take to manage the team from the office.
Either way, you can start out by yourself and build a good foundation with these tips, but you will need help at some point.
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