Staying organized is one of the most important keys to success for freelancers. You need a task management system that ensures that nothing falls between the cracks. The best system will be the one that works for you.
I’ve known people who write everything on post-it notes and others who prefer to digitally record all of their tasks.
I do a mix of both. I keep all tasks online, using the free app Wunderlist, and I also write up a to-do list on paper each morning.
Tracking tasks with Wunderlist
I use Wunderlist to keep track of all client and personal tasks.
When I receive a task in my email, I read it over and then copy/paste into Wunderlist. I save these tasks individually in the client’s list.
If a due date is provided, I add it. My standard turnaround time is 48 hours unless a different deadline was agreed upon.
I set a reminder on each task for the day before it’s due.
When the deadline approaches, Wunderlist will display a pop-up reminder and send an email about the task.
How I organize Wunderlist
To set up Wunderlist, I created two main folders – Clients and Inactive Clients.
In those folders, I create a new list for each client labeled with the client’s name.
In those lists, I add all of the daily tasks for the client.
I also keep my personal to-dos in Wunderlist under categories such as “Housework, Admin, and Things to Buy.” I also record tasks for this blog and The Sturm Agency in Wunderlist.
Other features of Wunderlist
The free version of Wunderlist has numerous other features including:
- Subtasks, notes, files, and comments. You can add these components to each task.
- Setting recurring tasks. I have numerous recurring tasks, usually involving invoicing or doing some specific task each week or month.
- Starring. This allows you to prioritize or distinguish a specific task.
- Sharing. You can share lists with another person.
- Emailing and printing list
Paid plans include even more features like:
- Unlimited subtasks
- Unlimited files
- Unlimited assigning/delegating tasks
- More backgrounds
The pro plan makes collaborating with teammates on Wunderlist streamlined and simple.
Using a paper to-do list
I prefer to be a little old school in my daily approach. Each morning I look at Wunderlist to determine which tasks are due that day then I write up a to-do list on paper. I previously used a small notebook from Amazon ($10), but am now using Leonie Dawson’s Shining Year to-do list that came with her 2017 planners.
I write down my to-do list items in order of importance. Typically the first 1-3 tasks must be done that day while the others have some leeway.
I enjoy both crossing something off a tangible list as well as clicking on a checkbox online. My system works for me because it allows me to keep everything in place while focusing on what I need to do today.
Finding a system that works for you will ensure that you never miss a deadline again.
**This post contains affiliate links**