It seems trite or obvious perhaps, but proper time management is truly equal to productivity and maximizing potential. Nowhere is this more evident than in a lifestyle relying on professional gigs to sustain it. Surviving and thriving within the gig economy demands proper time management: anything less, fails.
The good news though, is that time management does not have to be a burden. Instead, it can be a simple understanding of the factors making business better, wrapped-up in some good, old fashioned common sense.
The facts are simple: If you can better manage your time every day, you will improve the quality and quantity of your gigs – guaranteed.
Identify the Issues
The first thing you will want to do, is identify the problems in your time management. There are likely consistencies in the way you handle things, and some of your practices will be better than others. Fixing your broken habits is a great step forward.
Look for simple things that steer you away from your intended direction:
- Straying focus: do you lose focus while on your mission? Is your wandering attention a result of not driving harder? Are you properly challenged? Are the lines between your professional and personal life defined well enough, or are there internal struggles?
- Ill-defined goal: you need to clearly see the end of any tunnel you are in. Having a clearly defined goal is going to make it easier for you to measure your success rates as well. If your end result is unclear, clarify it.
- Too much work: are you overbooking your time? Being realistic about what you can actually accomplish in a day is much more beneficial than inflating that idea for any reason. Staying busy does not mean drowning in it.
- Not enough work: are you underbooked? Not having enough work to keep busy with can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the reasons it is occurring…and how often. But in general, you want to have enough work to stay challenged and busy, daily.
Through identifying the potential issues in your daily time management, you will be examining details about the way each of your gigs play out. You can see the strengths and weaknesses in your daily execution when you are even just a few steps removed: so, looking specifically at the way you are managing your time is going to be a productive practice to develop.
You might want to use a temporary journal, an app or similar approach toward keeping track of your time spends, but it really doesn’t have to get so involved. I can simply think of how I have spent my time, and I know pretty immediately if it was spent wisely or not. It’s not rocket science if you can be brutally honest with yourself.
However you are most comfortable, you will need to take a sober and clarifying look at the means and ways that govern your expenditures of time. It will tell you a lot.
Build on The Strengths of Flexibility
In the gig economy, a tight adherence to any kind of formal schedule may not be possible or even desirable. It depends on what your gig is, and how it works best for you. But typically, the flexibility in applying your time as you deem necessary is an attractive perk of the gig life – it certainly has been for me.
A huge perk of setting my own schedule, is being able to work when I feel most productive. Sometimes, I try to get going but it is just not clicking – and if so, I can easily stop and resume when my head is more aligned with the game. I also like working at night more than during the day, and most often, I can. These are perks I recognize and appreciate.
If you are gigging for a living, take advantage of the fact that you can set your schedule much more directly than most people. Work when you work best. True, you will generally work more hours than the other folks will as well, but that is also part of the gig life. More hours spent, but on your terms is not a bad way to go.
It also depends on if you are trying to wrangle in your own time management, or that of a fuller team. In either case, the examination is likely the same process, while the solutions will vary.
If you need to let your inner nerd take over, there are apps, sites, software and more to help. Look for time management trackers, like Toggl, Clockify, Timecamp, Hours, Time Doctor, Tick, RescueTime, Hubstaff, and Harvest. They will all have different strengths, depending on the depth of the solution you are putting together.
Zipping It Up
To sum it up, you’ll want to periodically look at your daily time management. Even if you don’t think there is an issue to address, there are no doubt more efficient ways to handle yourself – this is always true. Within better time management is more productivity. Which will in turn, lead you to more gigs, and with luck and perseverance, increased and sustained profitability.