WRITE EMAILS AT NIGHT, SEND THEM IN THE MORNING.
I've been working as a freelancer for a little while now. And it's not an easy game. Turns out, without proper boundaries and time management skills, you'll end up spending a measly 10% of your time doing actual creative work (if you're lucky). The other 90% of your time you'll be frantically trying to keep up with invoices, orders, client management, and... emails.
I remember a time where I would wake up in the morning and immediately check my phone to see how many emails were in my inbox. I had just moved to Orange County and was in the beginning stages of self-employment. Something about a high number in that little red alert badge would validate me. Usually I was disappointed when I strained my sleepy eyes to see "8" in that badge.
Now it feels like I can't stop the emails from coming, no matter how hard I try. Which is great, it means I'm working!
BUT! If you're a freelancer, you are probably very familiar with answering emails, sending proofs, etc. into the wee hours of the morning. It's incredibly tiring, plus it sends the message to your clients and vendors that you're accessible 24 hours a day (I'm assuming that your dream is to have time off, take vacations, and have lots of liberties with your schedule- that's why you freelance, right?).
So here's my tip to you:
Write emails at night, send them in the morning.
Very simple. Very liberating. Very efficient.
At the end of my work day... or even later in the evening... I'll go through all of my unread emails and start composing replies and just minimizing them to my dock to send first thing in the morning. This does a couple of things:
1: Clears Your Head
Nothing like getting back to a ton of emails at the end of a day to make you feel like you're kicking some serious ass. Plus, it's easier to wind down when all that pending doom is out of your head.
2: Starts Your Day RIGHT
Again, serious ass-kicking feeling when you start your work day with a pile of replied-to emails. The world is limitless after that.
3: Helps Set Boundaries
Clients aren't seeing an 9:30pm timestamp on your emails. Trust me. Even if it's all subconscious, this is heaps helpful for your work / life balance.
4: Hella Professional
I don't know about you, but when I get an email from somebody timestamped from 7:00am - 8:30am, I automatically think that person is 100% on their game and not to be messed with.
Anyway, that's my ultimate(ly simple) work-efficiency hack for you self-employed folks out there. Use my secret well.