POV. You quit your full-time job to freelancing. Now, you have the flexibility to select your own schedule, rates, and projects you'd like to work on—all while you’re working from the beach or the mountains. Sounds appealing, doesn't it?

I’m an independent social media manager, and my income is based per project not hours. I get paid the same amount, regardless of how long it takes me to finish it. The quicker I complete a project, the more opportunities I have to take on additional work and the more time I get to spend with my puppy.

In order to maximize my time and earnings here are my top productivity tips I swear by:

1. Maintain set work hours

I, like many freelancers, often find myself prone to overworking. Therefore, I've learned that defining clear work hours is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When I establish designated start and end times, it becomes much easier for me to separate my work from my personal life and avoid overworking.

Setting work hours also holds me accountable for how I use my time. I can track my work progress more effectively and adjust my schedule as needed to meet my goals.

While it's essential to have set work hours, one of the great aspects of freelancing is its flexibility. I can adjust my schedule when necessary to accommodate urgent tasks or personal commitments. Still, having a baseline work schedule remains incredibly beneficial for maintaining a sense of structure and balance.

2. “I touch it once” rule

How many times do you read an email before you answer it? (Answer honestly; no one’s looking😉)

I started implementing the “I touch it once” to my work flow and my productivity has  dramatically increased.  The “I touch it once” rule is when you receive an email or a request that needs  an urgent response, you address it quickly, or touch it. This could be fully completing the task at once or determining the next actionable steps to move it along.

Touching each email or task once will allow you to clear it out of your to-do list, both mentally and physically.

3. Saying No Is A Skill

Freelancers often have limited hours in a day. Saying "no" helps us manage our time effectively by prioritizing tasks and ensuring we have enough time to complete existing commitments without rushing or compromising quality. Quality over quantity.

Setting boundaries is essential in freelancing. Learning to say "no" reinforces those boundaries and communicates that our time and expertise as a freelancer are valuable and should not be taken for granted. We hope these tips can help you build a sustainable freelancing lifestyle.