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Effective Time and Task Management Approaches

Just when you finally clear your desk of work, the pile seems to always replenish itself. That stack seems so much higher the closer you get to the deadline to finish it. Many contractors on GetACoder can relate to this conundrum, I’m sure. The problem is, it’s difficult to prioritize projects to meet a deadline. For example, if you have ten days to complete twenty pages of writing, you have to make sure that you can get at least two pages done a day. But then life gets in the way. You have to then figure out when you can make up the time you missed.

Sticking to a Schedule

When taking on large projects, you should first work on making a schedule that’s easy to stick to every day, and that you can get enough work done in the time frame. There’s nothing worse than creating a schedule, completely ignoring it, and then having to finish everything at the eleventh hour. Make your project a daily priority!

Creating a Set Amount to Complete Per Day

It’s easy to pick up a little bit of your project and say “I’ll do the rest tomorrow,” but you might as well throw the rest of the schedule away. Once you come up with your work schedule and figure out how much work you should complete per day, it is your responsibility as a contractor to honor that system. It’s unacceptable to turn in work that has obviously been rushed and done without care.

Approach Tasks Individually

Large projects are much more intimidating when you look at the entire picture. Stop doing that and take a look at individual tasks. Once you concentrate on chipping away at your projects, task-to-task, you’ll find that your work will be completed on schedule with a lot less stress than worrying about the finished project before you’ve even begun.

Overestimate Your Deadline

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have too much time in which to complete my tasks, than not enough. If you think that your project will take one week to complete, quote your deadline as two weeks to your client. If something should come up, taking away from the time you had set aside for working on your project, you will certainly need that extra time to catch up. Your stress levels don’t have to climb because the unforeseeable occurred.

If you manage your work task to task, you may find that your work will be much more manageable. If you rely solely on time frames, you may not realize just how little time you have left as the week goes by. Prioritize your work by the most difficult to easy, if you prefer getting the more difficult things out of the way first. Either way, the tasks need to be done and it’s up to you to make sure that you hand everything in on time!

Andrea Lindsay is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Ontario. She obtained her BA from York University, in theatre with emphasis on playwriting and new play dramaturgy. She has written a number of blogs, news articles and information pieces over the years and would like to one day finish her book. Andrea is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Best Android Apps for Freelancers

When you think about apps, iTunes is likely the first thing to pop into your head. Well, while Mac is one of the most popular gadget providers of this decade, there are plenty of people that use other devices that run on the Android platform. There are a lot of great apps out there for GetACoder freelancers who use Android.
1. Manage your projects Wunderlist and Astrid
Being a freelancer means that you have to learn to organize and prioritize your projects. There is no room for error being that the pool of available talent is quite deep. Astrid is a great task management application that allows for easy entry and management of data. Wunderlist is another great app that also has an app in iTunes. It has an easy to use interface that embodies all you can think of in a task manager.
2. Timr for time tracking perfection
This is an Austrian created app that offers professional results.  This application is ideal for freelancers as it has a feature which allows for project time and working hours to be tracked separately you can track time for specific task that can later be applied to different clients or projects. This not only helps you manage your time, but also give you an added organizational advantage.
3. Swype easy typing and Swiftkey easy type
If you usually use your smart phone to take notes or work on simple parts of your project, you will quickly rely it can’t be compared with a computer.  Both of these apps work as an upgraded T9. Your typing is able to be completed in a much quicker fashion. Instead of pushing each and every button, all you have to do is run your fingers across each letter in the word, of course in the right order. The app will then offer suggestion to the word you are typing. If you have the setting turned on, alternatives will also be suggested. The programs learn as you use them and will even suggest complete sentences after you have used the program for a while. This is great if you often use many of the same phrases across a wide assortment of projects.
4. Social Marketing TweetDeck
Any GetACoder freelancer worth their salt will tell you that the best clients are found through networking. Tweetdeck allows users of the app to connect their facebook, twitter, foursquare and buzz social accounts all in one place. You are able to set timelines, follow people, update your own status and share content. The great thing is, you can edit the app to ignore some types of post from each site while picking up on others. For example, you can ignore post regarding online gaming, but have post about graphic design or translation show in the timeline.
5. Google Docs and Drop box
Dropbox is great regardless of the platform you use it on. All information you store on this app is uploaded tothe cloud. You can store all of your project notes, files and other data and retrieve it later from your computer or any other device. You are also able to share the information with any one via a secure link. Google Docs is similar, while it works for Android; you are not able to do much mobile editing on the app.
The last on my list, but certainly not the least is Google Goggles. I ran across this app in a recent trip to Bangladesh to attend a freelance networking event. Needless to say, it isn’t really possible to carry thousand of business cards in your wallet, or in my case purse. This app allows you to take a picture of a business card and have the information automatically stored in your contacts.
Heather Howell is a native Southern Californian. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.  She devotes most of her time to rural development in Bangladesh. Having obtained a degree in from UCLA, she enjoy writing on a variety of topics that range from Infant health and International politics to fashion trends and health advice. Heather is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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