FREELANCING / JUN. 07, 2015
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5 Time-Saving Hacks for Repetitive Tasks Freelancers Hate

My Modern Met

You have a billion things in your to-do list: write a blog post, create an infographic, talk to a prospect on Skype and, as if that’s not enough, you also have to send an invoice and pay your bills.

Sometimes a task never gets done, no matter how many times you check it off your to-do list. Even worse, doing them distracts you from the core tasks that really make a difference in your business.

What you need is a system to keep menial tasks from getting in the way of your work. Batch processing is an easy solution for this.

See also: Hacks to Boost Your To-Do List

1. Cure Your Email Obsession

Instead of checking your inbox every 30 minutes, check it twice a day at predetermined times. For instance, check your inbox after completing at least one critical task in the morning, then in the evening after you’ve finished all your work. This way, you’re not constantly distracted by incoming email and you’re not wasting time replying to people’s emails either.

If you can’t help but check, use Batched Inbox to divert incoming email into a temporary holding folder, so you only see it on your scheduled reading time. Creating different filters for newsletters, personal, and work-related emails minimizes distractions, too.

2. Let Your Bills… Take Care of Themselves

Who likes paying bills? Even if online and phone banking made the process somewhat easier, it’s still a tedious chore, especially if you think about all the money leaving your account.

Ask your service providers and banks to sync your payment due date. For instance, you can request the due date be changed to 3-5 days after your paycheck gets credited. Once that’s done, enroll all your bills in automatic bill pay. Every month, all you have to do is check your bills for accuracy. If everything checks out, you don’t have to do anything because auto-pay will take care of the rest.

3. Go Digital with Your Taxes

Everybody hates doing their taxes. You’ve got receipts, bills, and bank statements to consolidate. It’s just too much paperwork. Once you sort them all out, the next challenge is figuring out how to complete the forms correctly.

To make things easier, scan your receipts and other expenses using Shoeboxed. When it’s time to file your taxes, use tax preparation software like TurboTax to eliminate all the complicated guesswork.

4. Bill and Get Paid in Style

As a freelancer or creative entrepreneur, you probably deal with lots of clients, suppliers, and probably subcontractors, too. Your cash flow practically depends on how efficiently your invoicing system is, so stop relying on MS Excel and Word! Create a sleeker looking invoice in half the time using a free invoice generator tool instead.

If you rely on suppliers and vendors, using a purchase order generator will make it easier for you to track outstanding orders and payables.

5. Never Forget to Follow Up Again

Follow-up emails are part of your life as a freelancer and entrepreneur. You send follow-up emails to get more work and sign new clients. Even after you complete the job, you still need to follow up until you get paid. It’s an endless cycle.

While following up is easy, remembering to do so isn’t. Add to that the crazy guessing game of figuring out when to do it. To solve all that, just set an automatic reminder about two weeks ahead using Yesware, and prepare a follow-up email template.

When it’s time to follow up, Yesware will put the message at the top of your inbox so you can just paste the template you prepared earlier.

See also: Bringing Technology to the To Do List

Get back three to four hours of your time every week by batch processing repetitive tasks. Of course, this process isn’t perfect and you’ll probably have to experiment with different techniques for yourself. But don’t dismiss it until you give it a try.

Have any batch processing tricks for repetitive tasks you do at work? Share them in the comments.

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