Time Management & Learning To Say No.

Since June I’ve been carrying work on a freelance basis alongside the role I have at BPN Architects (3 days per week). I work with MADE one day a week which leaves the remaining day a week up to me. A few months ago I changed my facebook status to “time to start saying no”. There’s a reason for this.

There’s a certain amount of pressure I’ve put myself under to ensure that I try and find paid work that suits my timeframe and allows me to indulge in all the stuff that was the reason for embarking down the freelance route in the first place. There was no formula to how I planned to spend my time. As anyone who has ever worked for themselves knows, in the early days you want to please everyone, take every offer that comes your way, go to every event/seminar/conference.

It simply can’t be done and I’ve found it a challenge to manage my time.

So here are a few things I’ve learned over the first 9 months of being freelance – I hope it’s of some use to others:

– Don’t say yes to everything, think through your options. If you say yes, do you have the time to make sure you do the best possible job? (if you say ‘no’, remember to say ‘thanks, but…’ beforehand!)

– Value your time and don’t give too much of it away for free. Yes, be helpful, but remember you have a skill that is worth paying for.

– If someone helps you out, return the favour, preferably twice over. Reciprocation is rewarding (and is very web2.0 of course) – it will pay off.

– Keep neat and tidy records of everything you do. Backup every file and be meticulous about your finances including producing cashflow reports.

– Communicate well with your clients. They will appreciate regular updates and good communication is key to a good working relationship.

– Don’t let anyone down. If you say you’re going to do something, follow it up and do it!

I was asked to be a guest speaker at BCU’s media department a few months back as part of the Enterprise module of the MA Social Media course.

Here’s the video of my talk at BCU

And here’s the Q&A Session (I was speaking alongside Marverine Cole and Hick Holzherr – Nick had to leave early so it was down to Marverine and me to hold court)

The last couple of slides from my presentation might also be of interest:

3 thoughts on “Time Management & Learning To Say No.

  1. Really succinct post Lorna; and the presentation slideshow is funny! Your post title will be my mantra very soon I’m sure, but there is this little gremlin that sits on my newly-liberated-freelancers-shoulder that keeps whispering ‘Say yes, and you can work out when you’ll do it later’ in my ear.

    • I hear that gremlin too, (the cheeky little rascal!), only now I hear another voice saying “OI! Do you have the time to make a really good job of it if you do say yes….?”.

      Well with all these voices we’re hearing it’s safe to say it’s been an interesting journey… as you well know!

  2. Bit of explanation about some of the images in my presentation… Funny as they are, they’re there for a reason.

    The family photo at the beginning was to support the point I intended to make about having a good work ethic passed onto me by my very hard-working (non-academic) parents. I cut it from the final presentation as it wasn’t quite right for the audience. Nice point though, nonetheless, and a great photo.

    The Pierrot-style clown fancy-dress picture was taken at my Hen Party and signified a turning-point in my life. It was taken around the time I realised I had more responsibilities, I was turning 30 and I needed to push myself rather than waiting to be pushed.

    Also, I’ve found that including daft pictures of myself in a presentation makes me feel less uncomfortable about standing up in front of a room full of people 🙂

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