Multitasking seems like a fact of life. Especially for entrepreneurs and freelancers, who are constantly both working on projects and building their businesses, it’s impossible to focus on one thing from beginning to end without interruption.

We don’t have to let the necessity for keeping all those plates in the air affect our productivity in a negative way. Here are our tips for effective time management and reaching that satisfying moment when you cross something off your to-do list:

  • Block out your time–If you know a certain two-hour span is reserved for a specific project, you can put everything else aside. Don’t check emails, put the phone on silent, be fully present for your project. If you set a timer for the end of your time block, you don’t even have to think about how long you’ve been working. Work until the bell rings. And then take a break–you deserve it!
  • Don’t take on too much work–We’ve all had those times when a favorite client calls with a rush job right when we are totally booked up. We want to do it but we really ought to wait a week or two so that we can give it our full concentration. Be honest and don’t get yourself overwhelmed. All of your projects will suffer and you might lose more than that one client in the end. There are ways to say “not right now, sorry” that will keep your favorites around.
  • Delegate–You probably know some freelancers in your field who could pick up the ball and take over some parts of your project if you need them to. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help in a tight spot. Only ask people whose work you can fully endorse. It would be even better to have someone already in your network for backup before the need arises.
  • Do sweat the small stuff–Correcting mistakes definitely takes longer than doing things right the first time. Don’t miss the trees for the forest. Pay attention.

It can be a challenge to focus on one thing long enough to get it done, but we’ve all had those days

where we feel like we finished nothing and have no sense of accomplishment. Good time management make you better able to finish a few things instead of starting a lot and not finishing any.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative