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Your time management tactics revealed

Kerry Hull

Kerry Hull | Marketing Manager

Thursday 9th May, 2019

We asked you how you spend your time at work, and the results we got told us a lot about you! Find out more here.

Have you ever wondered how most people organise their desks? What about how they deal with sudden requests from clients? If so, you’re not alone; we’ve been thinking the same thing recently. Luckily, now we know some of the answers.

A few weeks ago, we sent out a Facebook quiz to find out what your time-management superpowers were. We found out a lot about contractors and the self-employed workforce as a result, and we thought it would be useful to share our results with you. Read on to learn all about how contractors manage their time and organise themselves.

Your desks are generally full

One of the questions we asked was what our participants' typical workstation was like. The results were the clearest out of all the questions we asked: overwhelmingly, contractors’ desks are full. Some 64.7 per cent of respondents said they worked with a busy desk, but not a messy one.

Of course, some contractors prefer to keep things neat and tidy. Almost 12 per cent of participants said their desks were minimalistic, quiet and distraction-free, while 16.8 per cent have immaculately organised workstations. However, even put together these groups are still beaten by those with busy desks.

You prefer to deal with requests straight away

Clients quite often come to contractors with short-notice requests, who then have to decide whether or not they’re able to take them on. However, it seems most freelancers are more than happy to accommodate these requests, with 60.1 per cent saying they would see if they could pause their current task to deal with new work with a quick turnaround.

Some contractors and self-employed workers are less able to take short-notice work on, with 31.4 per cent saying they’d have to work out whether the new task was worth reorganising their to-do list for. However, only 6.4 per cent said they’d be too busy, and just 2.1 per cent would file the work away for when they had less work on.

You’re not great with deadlines

One of the things we asked was what participants’ reaction would be to a deadline looming in the near future. As it turns out, more freelancers would have to move work around in order to meet it than would be on-track to finish on time.

In total, 44.9 per cent of contractors said they’d need to reorganise their schedule to get everything finished before the deadline. However, 24.1 per cent said they’d have a schedule showing they’re on time, and 20.2 per cent said they would probably have nearly finished anyway. Even together, that only makes 44.3 per cent who would be on-track to finish without having to change any plans.

You check your emails frequently

When it comes to emails, many contractors find they are bombarded with communications all day, every day. While some of them are spam, many will be important messages from clients. So how do freelancers go about managing this? As it turns out, most deal with emails as and when they come in.

In our survey, 53 per cent of contractors said they check their emails all the time, which enables them to reply promptly. While this can be very good for staying in touch with clients, it can also serve as a distraction. However, it seems that most freelancers are okay with this being the case.

Some are more structured; however, they are in the minority. Just 10.1 per cent save their emails for lunchtime so as to avoid being distracted, and only 13.5 per cent schedule in specific times of the day for emails. Furthermore, only 23.4 per cent choose to organise their inboxes.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface of the various time-management techniques employed by contractors across the country. To find out more, why not check out our guide to maximising your time-management superpower?

Read the guide in full in our PDF download. 

Download here

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