The Art of Self-Management: Time Tips for Freelancers

Brad Bartlett
3 min readAug 9

If you aren’t designing your time, someone else is.

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

When I first took the leap into freelancing, I was fueled by the dreams of limitless flexibility and the freedom to choose my working hours.

What I didn’t anticipate was the challenge of being my own manager and the master of my own time.

While the world spun around, deadlines loomed, and my inbox never seemed to hit zero, I realized that the onus was on me to design my time rather than letting the world determine my schedule.

Over time, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and optimization, hunting down the best techniques and methods to master the art of self-management.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. The Power of Time-Blocking

The first method that transformed my workday was time-blocking.

Instead of merely creating a to-do list, I scheduled specific blocks of time for each task. This ensured that I was not only setting intentions but giving myself a realistic amount of time to achieve them.

Personal Tip: Use different colors for different types of tasks (e.g., client work, personal development, breaks) to get a visual snapshot of your day.

2. Prioritize the Big Rocks

Stephen Covey introduced the concept of “Big Rocks” — the primary tasks or goals that must be accomplished.

I learned to set my big rocks first, ensuring that critical tasks weren’t left for the end of the day when energy dwindled.

Personal Insight: Once the big rocks are in place, it’s surprising how the smaller tasks (or “small rocks”) naturally find their way into the gaps.

3. Embrace the Power of ‘No’

It was tempting, especially in the early days, to take on every project that came my way.

But I learned that saying ‘no’ allowed me to prioritize tasks that truly mattered, ensuring quality over quantity.

Reflection: Every ‘yes’ means saying ‘no’ to something else. Choose wisely.

4. The Pomodoro Technique

Brad Bartlett

Professional Freelance Copywriter. ( Musings on #freelancing, #productivity, #self-development, and more!