Tips for Managing Time Zone Differences as a Freelancer in Nigeria

by Precious Nwakuba

When was the last time you heard the words “freelancing” and “freelancer”? I can bet you recently heard them! Of course, these words have become frequently used, especially in the workforce. It seems like a vast number of people worldwide are now freelancing one way or another—trying to shift from the regular 9-5. 

Why is freelancing becoming so popular, and how can someone in Nigeria who works for an international client or company cope with the time zone difference?

In this piece, you’ll find the answers to these questions and get simple but effective tips for managing time zone differences as a freelancer in Nigeria.  

What is Freelancing About?

Generally speaking, freelancing is a form of employment contract in which skilled individuals—known as freelancers—are hired on a project-by-project basis to provide services to locally based and international clients or businesses. 

You can work internationally as a freelancer and get paid hourly or on a project basis. Therefore, working as a freelancer for a client or a company means you’re not a full-time employee. 

So, what’s the hype around becoming a freelancer?

The Benefits of Becoming a Freelancer in Nigeria

Freelancing

A freelancer who earns in dollars

The hype around becoming a freelancer is about the benefits. Most people turn to freelancing because of its benefits, primarily independence—working on your terms—the freedom of not working under anybody.

Other benefits include:

  • You get to work from anywhere (working remotely).
  • You get to save on transportation.
  • You have the freedom to choose your assignments.
  • Create your timetables and work at your own pace.
  • Bargain your pay rates.
  • Have more time for yourself 

Read also: 6 Myths About Freelancing in Nigeria

Time Difference as a Challenge to a Freelancer in Nigeria

Working in multiple time zones is a unique challenge despite the number of benefits and opportunities available to freelancers in Nigeria. One of the hardest things for freelancers to deal with is managing time zones while working alongside clients or an entire team that is spread out around the world.

Say, for instance, you’re working as a freelance website developer from Lagos—you have clients across the United Arab Emirates, Canada, and New York. So, in this case, you have to adjust multiple time zone changes each time you schedule a meeting or accept a deadline.

This means you have to adjust to these world time zones—Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the US and Canada, which is five to six hours behind, and Gulf Standard Time (GST) in the United Arab Emirates, which is three hours ahead of Nigeria.

Also, imagine getting up at 6:30 a.m. to a flood of messages from your clients in New York and Dubai while you’re still trying to rub off the sleep from your tired eyes. What will your first reaction be? Which would you rush to attend to first? 

Time zone

OMG!!!

Knowing your source of income might be hanging on a thin thread, you may become disorganized for the whole morning or even the whole day trying to meet up. How about setting up a Google meeting with a team in different locations across three continents, where they are all operating on their own local time?

Even the most seasoned freelancer may feel overwhelmed by this time zone nightmare.

Read also: 10 Differences Between Free and Paid Courses in Freelancing

Tips for Managing Time Zones Differences as a Freelancer in Nigeria

Even though working from a Nigerian time zone to a global time zone may bring about a few challenges, there are a few simple tips you can incorporate into how you work as a freelancer to help you cope with time zone changes. 

These tips include:

  1. Know the time zones you’re working with

Take some time to get acquainted with the time zones of your clients or collaborators. You can use online tools like the World Clock Widget app or Google World Clock to determine the time difference between your location and theirs, then keep the tool handy on your computer or phone—set an alarm for the work hours corresponding to the Nigerian time zone.

  1. Communicate your availability and expectations upfront 

Be transparent and honest about your availability and possible challenges that can occur due to time zone differences right before you start any project. Also, communicate your expectations regarding response times, meeting schedules, and deadlines to avoid any misunderstandings later.

Read also: 4 Popular Freelancing Challenges Nigerians face on Freelancing Platforms

  1. Maintain a consistent communication Channel 

While working across different time zones, communication is essential. So, it’s best to choose the most effective means of communicating, whether through email, messaging apps, or online video conferencing services, and stick to it to avoid confusion.

  1. Schedule your projects and calendar smartly 

Take into account the various time zones when arranging meetings or establishing deadlines. Select times that work best for everyone, and when needed, be open to fitting in with diverse timetables. Also, prepare backup plans in case scheduling conflicts, communication delays, or something unforeseen arises.

Time zone

Scheduling is key.

 

  1. Establish a routine to keep you organized

You can manage your workload and finish your tasks on schedule if you keep things structured. So, to stay on top of approaching deadlines, planned meetings, and time zone shifts, use calendars, to-do lists, or project management tools. 

Online tools you can use as a freelancer

  • Communication and collaboration – Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom
  • Scheduling tasks – Google Calendar or Calendly
  • Project management and collaboration tools – Asana, Trello, or Monday.com 
  • Time tracking and Invoice tool – Toggl or Freshbook
  • Todoist or Notion (task management and prioritizing tasks)
  1. Be patient and flexible

You need to remember that when working across different time zones, there may be delays and setbacks, so be ready to be flexible and change your plans when needed.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, being a freelancer in Nigeria and balancing time zone differences calls for a well-thought-out strategy to keep things professional in addition to effective communication. 

You can overcome this time zone challenge by following these simple tips: understanding your client’s time zone, being clear about what you expect, using the right tools, and being patient and flexible.

Was this helpful to you? Tell us in the comment section or join our community discussions on trending issues. If you would like to receive tips and resources that will make your work easier as a freelancer, subscribe to our newsletter so you won’t miss out on them.

Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide.

About Author

Avatar of Precious Nwakuba
Precious Nwakuba
I'm a Copywriter and Content Strategist with about 3 years of experience. Blending creativity with research, my skills are a tool to make your content engaging and relatable to your target audience, inspiring them to love you even more.
So, let's make your brand stand out together!

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