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Nov 08, 2022
5 Ways Freelancing Reduced Wasted Time in My Workday

Having worked as both a full-time employee and a full-time freelancer, I can see a huge difference in how much time was wasted on non-productive work as a full-time employee.   I always had a goal of writing more blogs and week after week I built a list of things that I wanted to write about...the wish list.  However, working as a full-time employee didn't leave me with the needed time to pursue the activities I wanted to.

Now being in the freelancing world, I have more control over my time. As a result, I've noticed more creative ideas coming to mind.  Also, I still work about the same number of hours per day, but I am much more productive in that time.  

Below is a list of the top 5 non-productive and unenjoyable work tasks that were taking up my time:

1. Meetings:  This was the #1 productivity killer and time-wasting activity.  There were some planned meetings but a lot of them were "quick connects" or unplanned "Can I call you quick" time meetings. These were the real-time eater, and some "quick connects" would go on for hours and it can be very difficult to be productive while you are in the meeting.

2. Reporting: I was in an IT consulting firm and we had to produce a monthly report on how well we were doing.  Every month, at least the last week would be spent preparing a PowerPoint presentation. We had to collect, organize, and review data at multiple levels. Furthermore, every time we had restructuring at the client's office, the report format would change.

3. Emails: Emails were another time waster. It seemed like the more I read the more I got.  I used to get at least 20-30 email newsletters from my company itself, and then a lot of other work-related emails.  Over the years, I built a great email management system for myself (that's a topic for another blog post) that helped a lot but almost all my other colleagues had a tough time managing their emails.  An empty inbox was always a distant dream. And what's worse, the most important emails always seemed to be buried under hundreds of unwanted newsletters and emails.

4. Timesheet: The typical organization has one internal timesheet and one client timesheet and if you are very unlucky you will have a stone age timesheet system that would not integrate with any of the other systems.  Managing a large team was a mess as some people would wait till the last day for filling out the timesheet only to make mistakes. I had to deal with late-night calls from clients and then calling the person to correct the timesheet. 

5. Mandatory Training: Every company has some policy training, security training, and then at the end some training (only 1%) where you get to learn something new.  These policy trainings were important to the organization, but all of us would just scroll through, click buttons and at the end just copy answers.  To add to the pain, we had a lot of training from the client side which was ages old and had a poor learning management system.

Now as I started Up-working, I have complete control over these activities. I still do training, emails, meetings, and reporting (when needed) but it's with a greater purpose.  For me, the number one formula for being more productive is saying "no" and eliminating waste.