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7 ways gig workers can optimize their time

These seven tips should help new or established gig workers avoid wasting time or overextending themselves. Then, they have the best chances to enhance their earning power.



The gig economy is a rapidly growing sector where people earn money doing full or part-time work ranging from giving lifts to walking dogs. Many people look to the gig economy to get boosts after unexpectedly losing their conventional jobs or find that they want extra money to improve their quality of life.

No matter how actively they pursue the gig economy and for what reasons, it’s essential for gig workers to make the most of their time. Here are seven ways they can do that.

1. Plan each day the night before

It’s not always possible to know what each day as a gig worker will bring, but as much as possible, it’s best to plan each day by working out the framework for it the night before. Doing that lets them avoid wasting time deciding what to do and when. Instead, they can look at the day’s plan and jump into action as soon as their work time starts.

2. Create a dedicated work area or place

One of the necessities of making the most of one’s time as a gig worker means is avoiding distractions. As such, many of the most successful gig workers find places to work that allow them to minimize distractions and buckle down. A recent study shows that having a dedicated place to work helps gig workers excel. But, being social in moderation is also essential. Socializing with people can help keep gig workers motivated.

3. Work an amount that suits your income needs

Once workers are in the gig economy long enough, they can usually calculate the average amount earned within a given week or month. After getting a general idea of the amount one makes while participating in the gig economy, that person can then attempt to create a schedule that matches the amount they need to earn to live comfortably. Unfortunately, doing that is sometimes tricky since work may arrive in a “feast or famine” manner.

Still, it’s useful for gig workers to keep a running total of how much they earn through a month and manage their time accordingly by using that figure when balancing a workload.

Gig workers should have a running total of how much they earn in a month to help manage their time. (Photo by Dragon Images via Shutterstock)

For example, a person might make a general calculation such as “By the 15th of every month, I will have ideally made at least $600 through gig work.” They can then use that amount as a benchmark to determine if they need to try and work more or less for the remainder of the month.

4. Use time-tracking tools to gauge average productivity

Everyone has the same number of hours to work within a day, but gig workers must be exceptionally aware of how long it takes them to complete specific tasks. A time-tracking tool can help them make estimates and thereby feel more confident about saying whether they can accept more work.

Using a time tracker is also helpful when people take part in time blocking. That activity involves setting aside segments of time for particular tasks. Some people use it when entering periods of deep work.

5. Set frequent productivity goals

The flexibility that the gig economy provides can be positive, but the fact that the availability — or lack thereof — of work heavily dictates the structure of a workday can make it challenging to maintain consistency.

Research from the Oxford Internet Institute investigated how gig workers manage their time. It found that many of them use online forums to keep each other motivated. Others install online productivity extensions that help them stay on top of the goals they set. An earlier tip on this list suggested working amounts that match income needs. But, also creating short-term goals for productivity can help gig workers manage their energy and output.

6. Incorporate breaks into the workday

Many gig economy platforms do not limit how much time workers can spend on them. As such, it’s essential that people plan their days to allow for breaks. Otherwise, they can get physically and mentally exhausted. If gig workers get burned out by not setting limits, their efforts at excessive productivity will fail. Gig workers should pay attention to their overall health and scale back when needed.

7. Spend the time between gigs on marketing

The gig economy is not going away. As it gains popularity, it becomes more necessary for gig workers to market themselves aggressively. People can take advantage of any downtime in their days to spend time marketing their services, such as by posting in a personal blog or advertising on social media — if allowed by the gig provider.

(Featured image by Creative Lab via Shutterstock)

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.


Kayla Matthews is a technology blogger who regularly contributes to, MakeUseOf and The Gadget Flow. Follow Kayla on Twitter or check out her technology blog, Productivity Bytes.