How to manage time properly when you’re an independent consultant

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Time management deals with how you plan and allocate time to important tasks for improved efficiency and productivity, therefore, it should go without saying that time management is a very important part of any business or career. In fact, it is fundamental to success. This is particularly true for consultants, as you probably have to meet the needs of multiple clients at the same time. If you constantly find that your inbox is crowded and you can’t keep track of them these time management tips can help you learn how to manage your time properly.

1. Always Have A Plan

Planning is a fundamental tool for effective time management. At the start of your day, make sure you list out the day’s work giving priority to the important tasks for the day. Space-out your workload by priority. Do not forget to review all your crucial tasks at the end of each day. This will help you track your projects.

2. Depend On Your Team

It is very important to depend on and trust your team. They are each capable of getting the job done, which is why you hired them in the first place. Make sure you lean on them to solve daily tasks as well as other minor issues. You should be informed if a major problem has been solved, but delegating work will give you more time to focus on the big picture-- expanding your business.

3. Schedule Face Time with Clients

During your free time, make sure you schedule face to face meetings with your clients. This will help you save you from wasting time replying to emails or responding to calls. A face-to-face meeting will build trust between you and your clients and make them feel important.

4. Use Time Management Apps

Let’s say you’re looking for details about a client engagement status, but you have lost track of the team lead or emails. To resolve this, you need to invest in a project management system that can help you track all your clients with precision. This tracking system gives you details about the team lead and consultant for a particular client. You can even track the details of the last meeting with that client. There are plenty of apps, like AirTable, Trello, or Asana to help you manage all of your projects.

5. Place Filters on Your Inbox

As a consultant, it’s typical to have a crowded inbox, but all these clients want an immediate responses from you. Every morning, make sure you separate the spam from the important emails. Delete the junk emails and prioritize the ones from your clients. Mark the emails according to their level of importance. This will help you save time when you are ready to reply to all your messages.

6. Set Realistic Goals

You’ve got a lot on your plate, and it can easily get overwhelming. Every week take time to map out what you can realistically achieve. Your clients expect results, so never make a promise you can’t keep. If your client demands that you get something done in an unrealistic time frame, explain to them while it will take longer and the benefits of waiting for quality work.

7. Don’t Pack Your Calendar Full Of Meetings

When planning out your week, you need to account for the possibility of interruptions. Leave time open on your calendar for your teammates to come to you with any concerns they have about their projects. If your day is completely jam-packed it will feel like your constantly being pulled away from your work if anything unexpected turns up.

8. Don’t Get Distracted

Social media is wonderful but it can get easily distract you from your work. Constantly scrolling through your newsfeed is a bad habit. You could surf social media for a whole day without achieving anything. Instead, leverage social media to improve your business and market your services.

9. Review Your Time

It’s important for you to know how well you utilized your time. This is why you should make time audits. Take a look back at your calendar and ask yourself what went wrong. Check for the things you don’t enjoy doing and the things you waste your time on. Finding out these things will help you follow your schedule with effectiveness.

The tips listed above can be useful in helping consultants prevent procrastination. No one is perfect, it’s natural to procrastinate sometimes but these time management tips can help you stay on track to not only get your work done but expand your business as well.

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