5 Steps to Mastering Project Management for Freelancers

project management software

As we start thinking and deciding about our future/career, we have 2 options, either start our own business, do service or profession. So, there are only 2 options for what you will do or become in the future. So here we come up with an option that takes the good of all these options and combines them into one known as Freelancing. You don’t have to invest capital to start working and you are the owner of your work.

Bonus: You are saved from the time wasted on commuting daily and can work from the comfort of your home. In 2014, Americans spent 1.8 trillion minutes (29.6 billion hours) commuting to work. Remote work can cut commuting times to zero.

Ideally, 9-5 was considered the best time to work, as after 5 you will get time for all your other chores and spend time with your family. But, by doing freelancing you can work whenever you want to, isn’t it great?

A study carried out by Upwork/Freelancers Union found that more freelancers believe their career is more stable than a day job by having a diversified portfolio of clients than a job with one employer.

As you have multiple clients, you will have multiple projects to work on and finish on time, therefore time management plays a very important role here. You will be constantly juggling multiple clients, projects and deadlines. You have to ensure that all the projects are completed on time and as per the client’s desired quality of work.

Streamlining this procedure will save you a lot of time and would enable you to track the time taken for the project and thus based on that you can prepare your schedule. The simple solution would be using Project Management Software. You may think that this software is used to manage a team so why you should use it, but as you will start working on it you will understand how systematic your work has become and the importance of project management for a freelancer.

So, here are some steps to mastering project management for freelancers:

Decide on the right tool for you:

The hardest part is choosing which tool will be best for you when you have so many options out there, each doing something specific with a range of different and similar features.

You can opt to choose from the generalist of project management software or you can choose from a niche-software (Client Management, Content writing,etc.).

Before you choose any software, make sure that you have considered the following aspects:

Cost: If you have just started as a freelancer, a software that costs more than 30$ a month, would become more of a liability instead of an asset, as it will cost you a whopping 3600$ annually.

Ease to use: Many software has a trial version to start with, so before buying consider experiencing for a while. Choose software that is easier to work on, so the least amount is utilized on managing your work.

 Sooner or later, you will realize the importance of integration of your project management software with other used work apps. Examples: Dropbox, Gmail, Slack, etc.

1. Create your workspace:

As you have selected the right software, now comes the time for creating the tasks. Create a project and start entering the tasks in the software. Group similar types of tasks by using custom fields. You should enter all the details of the task in the description, to create a well-detailed task.

Add the start and end date of the task and attach all the necessary attachments. Create a process that can be easily repeated so you don’t have to repeat the process again and again.

2. A basic task would need you to fill in the following information:

  • Task Name
  • Assignee
  • Description
  • Contacts
  • Start and End Date

After filling all this, your workspace has been completely created and now you can start with the project execution phase.

3. Provide deadline and priority to the tasks:

Many of us tend to ignore the difficult, boring, lengthy tasks and to pick up the tasks that are small and fun to do. Moreover, we just delay such tasks to the last minute and then we finish them in the rush.

Due to these reasons, providing a deadline and prioritizing the tasks is a non-negotiable step.

However, if you don’t provide deadlines to the tasks, you are just gathering them in one place and not arranging them, which will ultimately lead to delayed completion of some tasks.

Important tasks can be prioritized to be done first, so whenever you look at the screen you will know what you have to do. Creating deadlines will help you with delivering the work on time to your clients and if there is any delay, you can just compare the current timeline of the project with the project baseline and you can know where the deviation was.

4. Keep the task list updated and clean:

As a child, my mom used to tell me that I should always keep my room clean, and as I am, I would just not listen to her. Eventually, the mess would become bigger and a time comes where I have to struggle looking for some stuff. Then I would just become angry and I would finally clean the room. (BTW, a lot of time was wasted in locating a lot of things)

You choose a project management software to become organized. Therefore you must keep your tasks updated and clean by organizing them.

Do include keeping the task list updated and clean in your steps of planning your daily work. The more organized you keep the system, the more time you will save.

5. Share the board with the clients:

“ I’m just messaging to check the progress” is something you will receive a lot.

Many clients are greedy, which is fair enough as they are paying us, so they should know the progress of the project. Many Project Management Software provides a feature known as a guest user. Using this feature you can share the screen of the task with the client and be saved from the constant poking.

This also creates a transparent environment with the client which ensures that there isn’t any lack of communication. Moreover, monitoring the progress provides the client with the satisfaction their work is in the right hands.


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