Freelancer’s Guide to Managing Multiple Projects
As the demand for freelancers grows, many freelancers want to grab as many work opportunities as possible and take on multiple projects at once. However, juggling multiple projects is an overwhelming responsibility that can be a source of stress and anxiety. Even for a single project, managing and keeping track of every task that needs to be done can get complicated.
A freelancer is responsible to deliver high-quality work for all clients. If you don’t have a strategy for managing multiple projects effectively and efficiently, you might risk failure on a client project or ruin your business relationships, plus it can damage your mental health too. Therefore, it is vital to know the guideline on how to manage multiple projects.
The following guide will help you deliver your projects on time, and still maintain the high level of performance and quality of work that your clients expect without losing your sanity.
1. Create a Project Plan
It is important to create a project plan ahead to keep things organized. A project plan helps to make sure everything is clear and each project goes smoothly. Your plan should outline your project goals, deliverables, deadlines, and other things related to the project. Traditional way to create a project plan is by writing down your tasks and progress on a notebook, a sticky note or a white board. However, there is a more efficient way of tracking and monitoring the progress of each of your projects by using project management tools like Asana, Monday.com or Trello. A project management tool also gives you the ability to store all your projects in one place so you’ll be able to easily access them. There is a possibility that the plan might change, but at least you have a structure.
2. Prioritize Tasks
Freelancers must know which tasks will have a greater impact on the business goals and prioritize effectively. Your projects will have different levels of importance or urgency. Even each task within those projects will also have different priorities. Identify and make a list of what’s the most important tasks to each project you’re managing based on the deadline and importance. Once everything is identified, it’s easier to understand what needs to get done first. When you don’t prioritize, you will be tempted to do the easier projects first. It is critical to always prioritize the most important tasks and get everything done on time.
3. Manage Time
The biggest challenge freelancers face is being able to allot adequate time for each project’s tasks. It’s important to get a clear understanding of how you are spending your time. Even though you are dealing with multiple projects, it’s better to do the tasks one after another. The best way to get work done is to give all your focus to one thing at a time. When you switch back and forth between tasks, you actually become less efficient and are more likely to make mistakes. One way to ensure that you are focused on a specific task or project is to schedule a block of time. Time blocking is a worthy strategy used to increase productivity by blocking a specific time for a specific task. Not only your work time, you should also manage your free time. Schedule your time to do non-work activities to refresh your body and mind.
4. Track the Progress
To efficiently manage multiple projects, it’s essential that you monitor all of your tasks regularly. Keep an eye on how your projects are progressing. By tracking the progress, you can pinpoint any issues and determine what changes you need to do going forward. When you track the progress, you can also review your pending tasks. If you use the project management tool, you can easily give updates on the project plan and keep track of every progress.
5. Communicate With Clients Regularly
Effective communication is an important skill that every freelancer should have. Giving your clients occasional updates is necessary to serve as an assurance that you are working on the project. Clients need to know the status updates of the project, so you need to be able to give regular updates about the progress. With regular communication with the clients, you can also discuss any issue and ask for feedback. Also, when you can’t complete the project on time, just be upfront by explaining the situation honestly and don’t be afraid to ask for an extension. Of course, this should be avoided, but if you regularly give them updates and are transparent with the progress, they will appreciate it more than if you don’t say anything to them. By hearing clients’ good feedback, you will gain more confidence and relieve a small portion of your burden.
6. Outsource When Needed
Sometimes a freelancer outsources the task to another freelancer. Getting an extra pair of hands can be a good consideration to reduce the burden of having loads of tasks. With more hands on the deck, you can get more projects done sooner. When you outsource a task or project, make sure you pick someone with the right skills to get it done efficiently. There are online marketplace platforms for freelancing and crowdsourcing to find available experienced freelancers that can provide you with quality services.
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