The secret to an efficient working week for freelancers

If you are a freelance creative, a designer for example or a photographer like myself you surely know the challenges of organizing a productive working schedule. For years I’ve been looking for the right formula to achieve a super-time-efficient working schedule and I think I found the formula and I am about to share it with you.

So the way I found this formula was by asking a few friends with incredibly successful careers if I could have a look at their weekly schedules so I could understand where I was failing and where I needed to fine tune. My idea wasn’t to copy what they do but to get a better understanding of the areas they are focusing on.

I found two things by looking at those schedules:

Firstly, I was trying to do way too much in one day of work. I read in several entrepreneurial blogs that to be successful you should have 5 goals per day, 4 business goals, and one personal goal so I worked based on that idea for about a year. I’d say the success rate was 40% since most of the times I had to move things to the following day because I didn’t have the time to do them, or I was half-doing things just for the sake of crossing it out… mediocrity, that’s a big no in my life philosophy!

This 5 daily goal schedule had another negative effect on me and that’s routine, boredom and frustration which, as you know, are the worse things that can happen to a creative.

Stray Tog - The Secret to an efficient working week - Xavier D. Buendia

Secondly, I discovered that I needed to define my weaknesses and strengths, then see what areas of my brain I use the most for my job and then come up with a list of things to do on a regular basis depending on what needs to be done which are the following:

  1. Research
  2. Creative Work
  3. Business Development
  4. Emailing
  5. Writing
  6. Post Planning

Now, If I focus on 2 to 3 of these things per day, I’m pretty sure I will get better results and will end up being much more productive. For example today I have in my diary to do some writing (this post) research video options for a client and create a mood board for a new restaurant.

In between, I please my easily distracted DOG MIND by sharing stuff on Instagram, having a snack, doing 5 minutes of stretching or ninja training, tidying up or something like that.

I try to allocate at least 4 of these into a single working week (Monday to Saturday) depending on the number of shoots, meetings or jobs to edit that I have. My weeks now look like this:

  • Monday: Post Planning / Business Development
  • Tuesday: Emailing / Photo Shoot / Editing
  • Wednesday: Writing / Writing / Research
  • Thursday: Photo Shoot
  • Friday: Creative Work / Photo Shoot
  • Saturday: Editing / Writing

I’m mixing up my weeks focusing on what needs to be done first, so if I need to do some marketing, I’ll maybe dedicate 2 days to business development and research, or dedicate one day per month to update my website and another to do my accounts and invoices.


Have any questions, suggestions, requests or complaints? send them over and I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, check out my Food Photography blog where I’m starting a 52-week challenge giving a tip on foodie photography every week by clicking HERE

Until next time.


Copyright Notice: All photographs are subject to copyright and protected by UK and international law. Total or partial copy and/or reproduction is strictly forbidden. If you wish to use these photographs for personal, editorial or commercial purposes, please get in touch. ©Xavier D. Buendia / XDBPhotography