Planning for freelancer. How to Achieve 50% More in Less Time

Aug 29, 2018

I’m sure that every busy person was wondered how to do more for one work day, week ok month. And I’m also always find new ways to make more without reduction the quality of work. And I want to share some ways which helps me for my daily business.

I’m freelancer. So I have the opportunity to plan my day, but also I have some surprise events what lead me out of balance. Its normal and everybody have this issues. Therefore everybody should to knw how to back to system at short time.

So I need to tell about my system.


Time terms

I plan my work day really hard — I have work hours, I have lunch time. I have time of work starting and I have time of finish. Thats all are marked at my dairy. Like this : 7.00–11.00 — work; 11.00–13.00 — lunch and nap (Yes! I wake up early and have have day nap as a many people who live in Vietnam where I’m living now); 13.00–18.00 work ( Ok! Usually it have offset to 13.30–18.30). I try to be in this hours, but sometimes allow myself to move one hour. For example I can sleep instead morning exercises or late near computer. Or late with lunch.


For saving the concentration and most effictivety work very useful to make breakes! I have this after every 25-minutes of work. I take a short 5-minutes brake. This not my innovation, but this innovation from person created Pomodoro technique ( Francesco Cirillo ).

If talk overall, the time is measuring by same-lenght segments. Its important to have a break between segments. But when the timer start, we should to work without any innteruptions for defined task. One segment calls the pomodoro. By default one pomodoro is 25 minutes, break-5 minutes. And every 4 pomodoro have a big break — 30 minutes.

So at ideal day I have a 7 hours of a CLEAN work time. Its a lot! Therefore I’m happy if I can to work 6 hours too.


Inside the tame frames of work day we should to define the priorities. How much of hours are you ready to spend at every task. Unfortunately, freelancer need to spend the most of work time to different tasks closer to business, not just to design. I define one pomodoro at dat to work with e-mail, messengers before I start the work. I plan about 10–14 tomatos to clients work daily, depending on the workload and my goals. Other time to my own projects. At first day of week I plan everything I want to do and the I distribute time for work days. So If I got to many projects I need to reduce my personal time to zero. Sometimes I need to increase my work day, but I try to not allow this. Also I try to count time I need to work on microstocks, to write articles, portfolio update, language study, art and etc. Correct amount of work planned at the beginning of the week will take you more time!

Communication with clients I count as client time, not as my personal time. And I count this time for price I setting up.


At last time I came to conclusion that I need to combine some tasks, otherwise time again is not enough. I combine English podcasts with work ( If I draw something routine), and Vietnamise language mp3s with morning jogging. At work I combined all layout, ready work and work files sending after work day, so as not to be distracted by the conversation with customers. Also Its good to combine same tasks, so they took less time and did not irritate you.


If you are not client manager, you can respond to customers not instantly! I use for this my 5-minutes brakes if I need to answer at messengers or e-mail. And set day and time for meeting or call if there is a big talk. Everybody understand this and react good. In general, most important rule is not have any distrubs when you work with tmer. If you get tired you should to set up less quantity of pomodoros at day and set up more time to brakes. But you need work hard at this work segments when timer is counting.

Even 4 hours of CLEAN working time is very good!


You should not to plan tasks closely. For example if you always draw the poster for two hours you should not to plan that you can do it for one and even two hours. Always set up +50% for small-time projects and +20% to big. Its better to have a rest at free time than trying to do something that is unrealistic. Also I not reccomend to set up a lot of different small tasks for one day. Our brain is tired of multitasking. 2–3 tasks is limit. Do not be fooled and evaluate soberly how much time that takes. You can measure this by pomodore timer or any timer counting clean work time.


Its very important step to watch how many hours have really been worked out, what you were doing. Now a lot of software that fixes this. I wrote at the end of the article, what helps me!


If you thinked about how to work more effectively, then you probaly read about delegation. Its easy to talk but hard to do! Especially for freelancer, who are used to doing everything himself.

I not beleive at delegation because if you want to send full projects to somebody, you need to find an expert with professional level same or higher than yours. And he will ask price same or higher than yours. Therefore its not good idea, you just send your work to somebody and do not have something for you. For myself, I decided this issue by hiring a specialist for a fixed salary, not for project pay. But here I need to spend more time searching for orders and self-PR.

Everything is much simpler at complex services. For example, I’m designer but I can take the order for site development. I can send all programming work to my friend-developer and get some % for me. I make design, coder make code. Everyone is happy.

At any case, delegation is a business process and it deny the freelance this freedom which was originally laid in this concept.


The next important point is the ways to keep concentration and energy needed during the working day. If you feel tired you will start distracting or make mistakes. And you can spend all day for tsk needed 2 hours.

You should to get enought sleep. Doing sports or yoga. Waking up and go to bed early. Eating good healthly food. Its sounds realy boring but, beleive me, worth it! Try to have one month of helatly life and you will be excited on the amount of energy! And surely alcohol, drugs, tobacco — all this harms our concentration.

Of course, it’s foolish to try to change your lifestyle in one day, but you can try to introduce good habits.
They also say that coffee and meat are harmful. But I do not know, I did not fit to give up both.

TOOLS — Pomodoro timer I use. Not just an app counting time but also personal era with statistic. — here I keep the articles that I have read. I write my thoughts. I write my global plans, my dreams. This application is very convenient, which gives access from all devices at once and it’s really cool to store everything that comes to mind! — A good thing that collects data about what you did during the day. In what programs sat, on what sites. Good for analyzing what you really do.

Diary — in the diary I write a plan for a month, a plan for a week, a plan for the day. Still have a plan for the year, this is my favorite after buying a diary)))

example of the plan is not a month ( sorry! I use the Russian language for this!)

for a week

for a day (* earlier I had other time frames)

Usually after a day’s work I am in a state of vegetable, but the most difficult thing is to force myself to move away from the computer. You can put alarms on the main time points — the beginning of work, the beginning of lunch, the end of lunch, the end of work.

Tell me, do you use planning?
And does music help you while you work?

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