Working as a contractor in the UK has some great benefits. You’re effectively freelancing and, for the most part, you remain in control of when you work, how you work and what you choose to work on. This freedom can be incredibly rewarding, but for some, it can also lead to four-hour lunch breaks and leaving tax filing to the last minute. Structure and organisation are your friends when you’re your own boss, let’s take a look how you can make the most out of your career as a contractor.
Routine is key
Whether you’re an IT contractor, a writer, or an accountant, it’s a good idea to have some sort of daily routine in place. Try and be sitting at your workspace getting into “work mode” at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit. Even though you no longer have to stick to the normal 09:00 to 17:00 and make time for a daily commute, it’s good to have a regular sleep cycle and get up around the same time every day.
Your work environment will also affect your productivity. Not many people do their best work in bed with the telly on, so it’s a good idea to get most of your work done at your desk or your usual work spot.
Try and have your lunch at the same time most days and do certain tasks at the same time every week. If you have some sort of organised schedule in place, you’ll be more productive and effective throughout the day.
It’s easier to separate work and life when you step outside of the office every day at 17:00. When your desk is next to your bed, it’s easy to lose track of time and work until the early hours of the morning.
It’s just as important to make sure you get enough down time as it is to ensure that you get your work done. Many freelancers find working at coffee shops or libraries an effective way of separating work from home.
When there’s no one gazing at your screen or checking up on tasks, it can be easy to get distracted by the thousands of cat videos or news articles that the internet has to offer. Thankfully, there’s time tracking software that can make it simple for you to see exactly how much time you’re spending on tasks, and how much you’re wasting. Tools such as Toggl, Hours and Paydirt make it easy for you to not only track your time, but create invoices to bill for your hours at the end of projects.
Being a contractor in the UK means that your accounts are more complex than the norm. As a contractor, there are ways in which you can structure your business to ensure you pay the least amount of tax, and you can claim tax relief for certain expenses.
When time is money, you don’t want to waste hours trying to sort out your accounts and tax affairs. The best thing you can do for yourself and your business is get the advice of a registered and experienced accountant who can advise you on how to structure your finances as tax-efficiently as possible.
Our flexible contractor accounting packages let you choose as much or as little help as you need. Our services are tailored to your unique circumstances. Get in touch with us on +44 20 7759 5459 or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
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