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Jan 05, 2024
Workstyle Flexibility: How 9 Freelancers Customize Their Schedule

Workstyle Flexibility: How 9 Freelancers Customize their Schedule


Join the productivity talk with nine freelancers, including Editors and Content Writers, who spill the beans on how they make their work schedules click for maximum efficiency. From kicking off the day with a morning workout to keeping tabs on weekly to-do lists and spreadsheets, these pros share their personalized strategies for finding that sweet spot between productivity and balance. Get ready for some insider tips on crafting a schedule that works as hard as you do!


  • Workout Early to Ignite a Productive Day
  • Tackle Dreaded Tasks First for Momentum
  • Prevent Work Burnout With Time Blocks 
  • Leverage Time Zones for Design Efficiency
  • Enhance Work-Life Balance With Freelancing Flexibility 
  • Schedule Tasks Around Peak Energy Levels
  • Set Client Boundaries for Better Balance
  • Free Up Your Evenings With Productive Mornings
  • Keep Tasks Straight on Weekly Lists and Spreadsheets 


Workout Early to Ignite a Productive Day

At 5 a.m., I drag myself out for a wake-up workout session. Whether it’s a run around the neighborhood or weights at the gym, it just flips that switch in my brain from sleepy to "let's crush this day." By the time 7 a.m. rolls around, after a quick shower, I’m fired up and ready to laser-focus on my most demanding projects for a good four to five hours.


I map my day in 60- to 90-minute blocks so I can zero in without distraction before taking a quick break to recharge. It works like a charm until around noon when I’m starving and desperate for a change of scenery! Grabbing lunch, going to a coffee shop, or knocking out errands is my reward.


The afternoon is my chance to handle less brain-burning stuff—I return calls and emails, and free up mental space for creative problem-solving, before wrapping up the day feeling accomplished instead of fried.


Sophia Victoria, Editor and Founder, Sophiv.com



Tackle Dreaded Tasks First for Momentum

I make sure that the first thing I do in the morning is to "eat my frog," i.e., work on the task that I dread the most first. For me, that is usually writing, as I run a blog and coaching business. With that out of the way, I feel like I already have a major win under my belt. This positive momentum then carries me throughout the day.


I space my blocks of work out over the day, with a session in the morning, two sessions throughout the day, and usually two long sessions at night (the last one right before I go to bed). In between these deep work sessions, I maximize enjoyment and recovery. For example, I will go to BJJ training or swim in the sea. These physical activities provide a great counterbalance to all the screen work.


I have strict rules about social media and communicating online, including never checking social media or YouTube unless it is work-related and avoiding Netflix. I can read books on my Kindle, but only classics and self-help books. 


Email and messaging apps are trickier, as they overlap with my business; coaching clients reach out to me via these channels. I used to check them only twice a day, but that was not feasible; I would miss stuff. Now, I check them whenever I think is appropriate, but will only open messages and reply to things that relate to work. Personal stuff I still only reply to twice a day.


Neils Bohrmann, Founder, Bohrmann



Prevent Work Burnout With Time Blocks

The simplest thing I've done to improve my work schedule is to work in time blocks. I take only three major tasks for the day, apart from other administrative tasks. I block one to two hours for each of the three major tasks. I do the work required for that task only for the blocked time.


For example, instead of writing an article for three hours straight, I write for two to three days for one to one and a half hours each day. I can do more without working long hours.


I save my work once the blocked time is up and switch to another major task after a quick break. This has been life-changing for me since I've put this into practice. This way, I'm able to finish tasks without burning myself out.


Shubham Davey, SEO Copywriter Growing Blogs Organically, Prachar Max



Leverage Time Zones for Design Efficiency

When freelancing as a UX/UI designer, my primary goal was to complete a project within the deadline. This might sound easy when you work with the same client repeatedly, but if you have multiple clients, it can be a challenge. 


This is why I always schedule my work week in advance. I am from Ukraine, and most of my clients were US-based, which allowed me to be very productive. For example, I preferred to choose one client from New York, and another from California. 


The time zone difference of 3 hours was perfect for me. I could schedule meetings in advance with both clients in the evening time while doing my design tasks during the morning and day. So when they woke up, they saw the progress. Also, a 3-hour gap between clients allowed me to find a perfect slot for each of them.


Apart from the timezone difference principle, I love to use productivity tools to track my progress. I use Google Calendar to schedule all my meetings and tasks. While this might sound like a simple tool, it works best for me. It syncs with all my devices and I get notifications no matter what device I am on right now. 


It's also important to schedule a workweek in advance and be productive. In terms of peak productivity, I am the most creative in terms of the idea generation for my UX/UI project in the morning, while I prefer to do all other simple tasks in the evening time. This tactic is ideal for me because feeling inspired and energetic is crucial for my design work, while I can do routine tasks at the end of the day when I can relax my brain and concentrate less on my tasks because I have created the main chunk in the morning.


Olha Bahaieva, Lead UX&UI Designer, Dish



Enhance Work-Life Balance With Freelancing Flexibility 

I'm a morning person. I'm also a mother who sometimes needs time to cook dinner at 4:30 PM, rather than 6:30 PM. As a freelancer, I love not being locked into a 9-5 schedule. I can answer emails and do other asynchronous work at 6:30 AM when I'm the most productive, yet still talk to clients at 8:30 PM after my kid is asleep. By aligning my schedule with my natural abilities and situational needs, I have a much healthier, happier life.


Beverly Gearreald, Owner, Live Fearless Mentoring



Schedule Tasks Around Peak Energy Levels

Being a self-employed freelancer comes with the benefit of working from home. This means I can be flexible in how I set my work schedule. I have found from experience that my energy and focus are at absolute maximum levels around mid-morning; therefore, I schedule the most important task of each day for this time, meaning I complete it with the most efficiency and to the best quality that I can. 


I stress the importance of taking the time for proper meals away from the desk, but after lunch, I find this time is great for calls and meetings with clients and other collaborators/partners. I find I start to lose energy around 3 p.m., so I blank out an hour each day to do some light exercise or run errands before returning. 


This is a great opportunity to get out of the house. I use the late afternoon for admin, emails, and planning out the next day. I have found that efficiency and comfort levels have increased since adopting a more structured routine.


Jack Genesin, SEO Consultant, Jack Genesin Consulting



Set Client Boundaries for Better Balance

I've been working as a freelancer for nine years, and for the last two, I've had to schedule my work around childcare. Before starting, I thought this would be challenging and would affect how many freelance contracts I would win; however, this hasn't been the case. 


When I have an initial discussion with potential freelance clients, I always set out work boundaries about the times I will be available and the need for flexibility in working hours. 


Setting this out at the very first stage has helped keep everyone informed and reduced any potential problems along the way, making sure that my work-life balance is exactly how I need it to be.


Heather Scott, Independent Recruiter



Free Up Your Evenings With Productive Mornings

Every freelancer should know when they are the most productive. For me, it's in the morning before I eat my first meal. Knowing this, I make it a point to work for three hours before my first meal. After I eat, I have my first and only coffee of the day, then I work for another four hours. After my second shift, I make my way to the gym and work out. 


Afterward, I have my second and last meal of the day. Food can make you tired, so I like having my biggest meal after work. By 6 p.m., I will be free to do whatever I want. As a freelancer, it can sometimes feel like you are always working; there's always something to do. 


You need to set yourself daily goals, pick the times you are most productive, and set your working schedule. My approach makes me feel free during the evenings; I can socialize with people who have regular 9-to-5 jobs. Also, I spend seven to eight hours a day behind my computer. This leaves me feeling agitated and nervous sometimes. Working out is the perfect cure for that. I feel refreshed and calm afterward, ready to work the next day.


As a freelancer, nobody keeps you accountable. I found that treating my job like a 9-to-5 job, where I'm employed somewhere, helps me stay focused and stick to my routine. Even though we are free to work whenever we want, everybody needs a routine. We need to plan our days and stick to our plans. This is the only way we'll succeed as our own boss.


Heythem Naji, Psychologist, heythemnaji.com



Keep Tasks Straight on Weekly Lists and Spreadsheets 

I use two methods to keep up to date with what's happening, which are pretty simple.


1. A Weekly To-Do List


The emphasis here is on weekly. Every Saturday, I check in with what's going on for the coming week and plan out each day. Daily tasks are copied over so I never forget them, and then upcoming one-off tasks are assigned to a specific day. You can then add to the list as the days go by, and new tasks arise.


I use notes on my phone as it allows me to quickly write a task out when it's in my head without having to deviate too much from what I am currently doing. By planning weekly, I have oversight of what's coming up, which allows me to move things around when something last-minute is sprung on me.


2. Google Sheets


All of my clients' work is set to one spreadsheet so that I can mark each task as they are completed. I mark each row with a different color regarding where the task is up to.


Very simple. Very effective. Also free, so you don't need to spend on expensive CRM systems. That being said, my processes are currently quite simple as a small business. I realize for a larger company, with lots of employees, this would not work.


Jake Perry, Content Writer, Jake Perry Writes