Not-To-Do List For Freelancers: Why It’s Important And What To Include


Freelancer to-do lists can be found all over the Internet and offer lots of good advice. However, if you try following all of them, you’ll soon come to the conclusion that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your work done. Which is why it’s important that you, as a freelancer, not only focus on the things that have to be done, but also be aware of the ones that don’t. And this is where a not-to-do list comes in. 

  1. What is a not-to-do list?
  2. Things to include in your not-to-do list
    1. Don’t check emails too often
    2. Don’t spend time on social networks unless it benefits your business
    3. Don’t promise something you can’t accomplish
    4. Don’t go into a week/month/year without a plan
    5. Don’t forgo marketing when times are good

What is a not-to-do list?

A not-to-do list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of tasks you shouldn’t do, no matter what. These lists serve as a reminder of all of the things that waste your time and energy and are extremely handy tools that can help you stay more focused on the important things in your life and freelance career. 

Just like a to-do list, you create an orderly list of items that you review from time to time. And, unlike a to-do list, you only get to check items off when you have not done those tasks.

Things to include in your not-to-do list:

Here are some things you might want to include in your not-to-do list:

1) Don’t check emails too often

As a freelancer you have to stay connected with your clients almost all the time. But there is nothing worse than realizing that the day is almost over and all you did was check and answer emails. 

Communication is one of the most important parts of your business, but you should learn to manage your time properly. Make a simple rule and follow it – for example check your email only once every two hours. That way, they won’t distract you as much and you’ll be able to have a much more productive workflow. The same goes for phone calls – set aside a time to get back to as many clients as you need to and then put your phone on silent.

2) Don’t spend time on social networks unless it benefits your business

Social networks are a huge waste of time that, unfortunately, most of us just can’t seem to shake out of our daily routine. The deceptive feeling that you are connecting and working on your online marketing strategy lulls you into a sense of productiveness. However, more often than not, you find yourself looking at funny pictures or reading things that don’t have anything to do with your work.

To avoid this, consider having a professional Facebook or Twitter account (or both) for your business and only use those instead of your personal ones during work hours.

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3) Don’t promise something you can’t accomplish

One of the worst mistakes that many freelancers make, especially at the start of their careers, is to try to impress their clients by overselling themselves or overstating their qualities. Stating that you have skills that you don’t or agreeing upon a too short timeframe to complete a project is one of the biggest no-go’s in freelancing. Be honest with your client from the get-go. Remember, work well done is worth a thousand hollow promises.

4) Don’t go into a week/month/year without a plan

Before going into a new week, month or even year, you usually have a general idea of what you want to accomplish. However, that is not enough – you need to write it all down or you could run the risk of forgetting something really important, like a deadline, an important call or that one idea that would have brought in the client you’ve always wanted. 

That’s right, number 4 on our list is making sure you don’t forget to make a to-do-list. There’s a reason they’re so popular – they get the job done.

5) Don’t forgo marketing when times are good

We’ve mentioned this several times in other articles about running a successful freelancing business, but it cannot be stressed enough. Marketing is not something you only do when you have no clients – it should be done throughout your whole career. You never know when a new, brilliant opportunity is going to arise. So don’t neglect your marketing when things are going good, because you never know when you might be missing out on something exciting. 

Do you use a not-to-do list for your freelancing business? Share your experience on the points listed above or add some of your own tips to help your fellow freelancers out!

Viktor Marinov

Viktor is the voice behind the freelancermap blog. Every week he comes up with helpful hints, checklists, and guides for freelancers and independent workers. If you would like to know how to find remote jobs online or how to niche yourself as a freelancer, don't miss his freelancer tips!

By Viktor Marinov

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