One of the main benefits of being a mystery shopper is that you can work at your own schedule. Working your own hours gives you the freedom to do other things while not being burdened by a rigid schedule. However, it's very easy to forget that you need do work at some point without someone telling you to do so. Checking for assignments are always a good idea, but you should do more than that to ensure that your mystery shopping experience isn't stressful. You need to set up the ideal work week.
Creating a plan
As a freelancer, your work as a mystery shopper is filled with a lot of variation. Still, as Freelance Style suggests, it's a good idea to have some sort of plan that works for you. Creating a list of all the assignments you have to do for the week can be a helpful start. That way, you have an idea of how much time you need for traveling, running errands and other personal business.
After you've regularly listed your assignments, you can go about creating the best week for yourself. You can figure out whether you're better taking on assignments in the morning or would like to cover stores over the course of an afternoon. Using a paper planner or calendar app on your smartphone, create spaces for yourself that will represent times that you refuse to accept an assignment. That way, you can have a schedule that is both consistent and on your own terms. It can mean having your "weekend" in the middle of the week, which may be useful. The same should go for your day as well, blocking out specific hours where you're not mystery shopping to have personal time.
Once you have that ideal schedule set up and have followed it for a while, take some time out of the end of each day to review it. Figure out if the current setup works for you. Don't be afraid to tweak it a bit by accepting more or less assignments based on how willing and able you are. Eventually, you'll get yourself close enough to the perfect routine, making you happier and healthier.
Of course, it's one thing to plan a schedule and quite another to stick to it. A lot of things can happen in your day that can cause delays or disrupt your timing. Design blog Designer Punch is all too familiar with that and suggests ways to avoid losing time as much as possible. For example, you should make a clear wall of separation between personal errands and mystery shopping assignments. What that means is creating a small allotment of time between the job and your personal business, so that there's little overlap or runoff from it.
Another point to make is to allocate time in your schedule to complete the business duties associated with the job. That means assigning a specific amount of time for the purpose of, for example, writing down and reviewing all the notes you took during the experience or reviewing the footage from the video to ensure that everything relevant could be seen. It also means reporting in with the provider and doing accounting for tax purposes.
More importantly, though, it's essential to remember that there are going to be days when you'll feel unmotivated to complete all the work that you need to do. Rather than dwell on it, plan your week to avoid working on days where you're most likely to struggle to wake up, adjusting the time so that you're always prepared for the day ahead.