Whether you like it or not, the global economy is witnessing the transition from the traditional economy of full-time workers to the gig economy. According to Harvard Business Review, the gig economy accounts for 30-40% of the U.S. workforce. Another study by Upwork and Freelancers Union suggests that by 2027 the labor market will be dominated by independent contractors. To meet the reality head-on and make their budget less tight many students opt for freelancing.

If you still shy away from the idea or have suffered pains to find the right study-work-life balance, here are the top 5 tips that can help you do it.

Find Pitfalls in Your Time Management

Multitasking may seem your lifesaver when all the deadlines are right around the corner. However, plenty of studies suggest that doing more than one thing at a time impairs your productivity by 40%, not to mention quality.

Parkinson’s law trap. The more time you have, the more prone you are to drag out your work. Try a timeboxing strategy. It is about allocating a specific amount of time to a task and set a timer. Watching the time ticking away hardwires your mind to a sharper focus and helps avoid overcommitting.

Vague planning and prioritizing. Fishing everything out of your mind can be detrimental to your workflow. Traditional to-do lists are not efficient either. Firstly, its length alone can overwhelm and discourage you. Secondly, you can be tempted to start with the most simple/pleasant task procrastinating on the most laborious one. Prioritize the tasks on your list by assigning letters or colors to them, depending on how urgent/time-consuming they are.

Capitalize on planning apps, tools, or services. With your degree at stake, you might want to hire an academic writer to help you through your essay, research, or course paper. You can do it online by going to special platforms like https://essayservice.com/cheap-essay-writing-service. It is far better than doom yourself to a dropout list by skipping out on your academic assignments. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to perfect your own writing skills by learning from professionals.

Wrong scheduling. What makes freelancing very attractive is that it is for you to decide when and where you get down to work. As said by Duke University Professor Dan Ariely, the first 2-3 hours will bear most of the fruit once you fully wake up in the morning. ’Owls’ may argue that their creativity trigger is night hours. Therefore, it is worthwhile to identify your productivity peaks and make the most of them.

Manage Stress

To have a plan B always works well on your stress levels. Set your personal deadline a day earlier for you to have some extra time should any emergency come up. Take it seriously, mark it red in your planner and stick to it vigorously.

Recharge your batteries. However strange it may sound; the majority cannot do it properly either by failing on the frequency or quality. Science has it that one has to take a break every 1.5-2 hours. Try out the Pomodoro technique developed back in the late 80s. It suggests dividing your working time into 25-minute stretches interrupted only by short breaks. Four pomodoros after, you can relax for 20-30 minutes.

Mind that just switching from reading for your finals to checking social media does not qualify as a good break. It makes the same strain on your brain though it may seem more entertaining. Learn various meditation and breezing techniques, do physical exercises, or cook something delicious.

Do Not Forget to Learn

Your ultimate goal is to get a degree, after all, and not break your personal cash record. However, you can hit two birds with one stone by finding a job as close to your study area as possible. Thus, you could incorporate academic theory into the project you are now working on.

Alternatively, it is a good idea to take up a job you are already familiar with, or that requires no particular skill (like posting comments to increase blog visibility or testing websites). On the plus side, you can spend less time learning the ropes and spend more time reading for your classes. On the minus side, you perhaps will lack motivation and a sense of accomplishment. It goes without doubt that the experience you gain as a freelancer is invaluable. Still, to stay marketable, you need not only the relevant degree but also regularly update your qualifications list unless you want to spend the rest of your life taking back seats.

Say ‘No’

Refusing an order may seem quite difficult, especially for beginners. The fear of losing a client forever clouds your judgment, and you take it at the expense of sleeping, learning, or personal plans. As a result, deadlines clash, stress levels are sky-high, and emotions spill over. What is more, quality suffers, and hence your reputation does too.

The biggest mistake here is to think that your little failure will stay between you and your employer. Remember, the world is small. Eventually, word of mouth will reach your target clients. “Whatever the job you are asked to do at whatever level, do a good job because your reputation is your resume,” said Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State and hold honorary degrees from 9 universities.

Think Positively

“In order to get through a lot of complicated issues, it helps to have a little bit of humor,” said Ms. Albright. Accept that something wrong has happened and view it as an opportunity to push yourself forward. Regardless of how many techniques you equip yourself with, not everything can be under your control.

Although you are your own boss as a freelancer, this independence can pose the main difficulty. You can still find yourself unmotivated and susceptible to plenty of distractions your home has in stock for you. Do not give up, however. Our reality is changing. You need to either embrace it or fall inevitably behind.