Learning how to juggle multiple clients without letting anything slip through the net (personal sanity included) is one of the biggest hurdles faced by freelancers and small business owners today. 

If working with multiple clients has been an ongoing challenge for you, then chances are you’re already sick to death of generic buzzwords like ‘time management’, ‘scheduling’ and ‘prioritisation’. 

While important, these concepts solve nothing without real, actionable advice to back them up. With this in mind, we have put together a list of our top tips and tactics to help you manage multiple clients and projects, without losing your mind.

Why is juggling multiple clients such a challenge?

At any one time, you could be working with several different people, on multiple projects, in various stages of completion. While working, you could have dozens of browser tabs open, not to mention countless applications, like Gmail, Google Docs, Stripe, Zendesk, Trello, Asana and Freshbooks.

If this picture isn’t already giving you heartburn, consider the added stress of:

  • Managing brand new clients
  • Last-which minute requests
  • Emergencies
  • Brief or scope changes

Now, imagine working all this around multiple services and half a dozen different due dates. When you have too many balls in the air, productivity drops, stress rises and mistakes are inevitable.

Top tips for managing multiple clients

Juggling multiple projects and keeping your clients happy requires good habits, as well as the right tools. Keep in mind that the sooner you can implement good project management habits, the better. It will save you a great deal of stress later! Check out our top tips and tactics below.

Love your work

It is impossible to be truly productive and keep your clients happy if you derive no pleasure from your work. Building your business around something that fulfils you will mean you always have the drive and focus to get the job done. If you are bored in your current role, consider what changes you can make to reignite your career passion. This might involve asking for new challenges, branching out into different service areas or even just setting yourself personal targets. There is nearly always room to improve workplace satisfaction.

Consider outsourcing to team members

Is there any aspect of your work that you could reasonably outsource to someone else? If so, choose something which you do not particularly enjoy doing or which doesn’t fall within your personal wheelhouse. This could be graphic design, advertising, written content, image sourcing or anything else that takes a little work off your plate.

Budget constraints may be a concern for up-and-coming businesses and freelancers. However, keep in mind that virtual assistant services can cost as little as £10 an hour. If you only need somebody to tackle a small task for a few hours a week, this is pretty affordable. 

Build the ideal work environment

Make sure you have a dedicated workspace that is comfortable and free from clutter. You cannot expect to be on your A-game managing multiple clients while you’re distracted by the noise from the TV, the stack of unsorted files in the corner, the stapler you can’t find or the pain in your back.

Setting up camp in a coffee shop or library can be a great option for people who work outside an office and do not have a home workspace. It is not an ideal permanent solution, but it will encourage better focus during your working hours.

Plan and prepare

When juggling multiple clients, the key is to stay organised. If you take a little time at the end of each day or week to plan what comes next, you can hit the ground running when you sit down to work. Work out how long each task will take you and organise them by order of priority. Make sure you have all your materials ready and a schedule drawn up, and you will soon find you get much more done throughout the day.

Be realistic with time management

Doing less is often the secret to achieving more. To manage multiple projects effectively, you need to stop biting off more than you can chew, stop saying yes to everything and stop taking on work like your week is suddenly going to yield more hours. Remember that you need to sleep, eat, have breaks and take regular downtime to function at your best.

Realistic time management is also a key aspect of project planning. Be honest with yourself – and your clients – about how long a task is going to take. That way, they will never be disappointed and you will never run yourself into the ground.

Set reminders for important tasks

This may seem like an obvious one but so many people who manage multiple projects forget to do it. Nothing can overwhelm a busy brain quite like trying to remember everything. If you know there are certain important tasks you need to complete or meetings you need to attend, set reminders so that you are not stuck watching the clock. Most project management platforms like Asana and Trello have reminder features – so take advantage of them.

Make use of alarms

Alarms can be a really useful tool when it comes to staying on top of multiple client projects. This is an especially great tip if you often work on several different projects during a single day. Once you have outlined a plan for how many minutes or hours you will spend on each task, you can set alarms to make sure you move from one project to another in a timely fashion. Take your time choosing which alarm tone to use, as something too abrasive will add to your stress rather than easing it.

If you implement this tip but find you are frequently cut off in the middle of important tasks, do not abandon it altogether. This may simply mean you need to adjust the timings in your schedule.

Manage one task at a time

Perhaps the best advice we can give is to make sure you are dealing with one thing at a time. It can be tempting to bounce around between tasks and projects when working with multiple clients. This means that no one task will be getting your full attention or best effort. Always remember that there is no point in ‘getting everything done’ if half the work you produce turns out to be substandard.

Install Switch to streamline your online work

Good working habits take a while to form. Fortunately, there is one thing you can do to boost your productivity and make easy work of managing multiple clients, and it only takes a few moments to implement. 

Hopping between multiple tabs and applications while trying to juggle different online projects is undeniably stressful, and can result in important tasks being missed. We can’t make you write a schedule or clear up your workspace – but we can help you with this.
Installing a browser-based workstation like Switch will streamline your online work, allowing you to access multiple applications and various accounts from one, intuitive interface. Find out more about Switch here.