If you think that managing your time is challenging now, in your regular job, and you’re planning to set out on your own as a consultant, here’s a reality-check.
Managing your time as an independent consultant is going to be much tougher, I promise you.
Just Another Consulting Challenge
Of course tough time management isn’t something that should put you off the idea of becoming a consultant; after all, challenges are what your new career will be all about. It’s just good to know in advance, that managing your time is something you will need to get good at.
The following four tips will help you to get a handle on your consulting time—which in turn will make you more efficient, productive, credible and ultimately, profitable.
- Be realistic in scheduling your deliverables. As a new consultant, you will, of course, be eager to please your customers, but that can lead to an over-ambitious approach when scheduling your deliverables.
- Always remember that it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver, than the other way around.While your customers might be impressed at promises of fast delivery, they will be less so when you don’t meet the aggressive goals you agreed upon. When you first start out especially, it’s better to be conservative, protect your credibility, and give your customers a pleasant surprise when you deliver early.
- Budget daily time for predictable tasks, such as administrative jobs, reading and replying to email, and invoicing. Factor these tasks into your daily, weekly and monthly schedules and remember to subtract the time from your available hours when calculating delivery timelines.
- Set regular hours. Freeing yourself from the 9 to 5 might well be one of the attractions which motivate you to become your own boss. However, even when you work for yourself, it’s beneficial to set yourself a fixed start and finish time each day, which you should of course communicate to your customers. If you don’t discipline yourself to following a fixed schedule, you’ll soon find your work/life balance is more of a WORK/life balance.
You’re the Reason for Managing Your Time
In your current job, time management is important to help your employer meet its goals.
In your new consulting career, great time management will be a necessity to survive and succeed.
Don’t underestimate the self-discipline you will need to employ in managing your time as an independent consultant.
There will be more at stake than a salary hike and a positive performance appraisal. On the other hand, the rewards for getting it right will be all yours to enjoy—and that’s a great reason to go forward and conquer the time-management challenge.
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