For anyone who hasn’t tried freelancing before, the experience is unlike anything else.
You often have short bursts of productivity followed by endless hours of wanting to anything other than the work before you. You may even find yourself actively doing the laundry, binge-watching your favourite Netflix series for the nineteenth time, or even cleaning the bathrooms. It doesn’t have to be that way.
With a little discipline and a lot of rewards, you can focus your energy and get more done and still have plenty of time for your personal life. Here are 15 tips to get you started.
Early bird or Night owl:
Are you the kind of person who stays up late and sleeps in? If you’re more productive at night, do your work then. If you prefer rolling out of bed and greeting the day before the sun is even up, use that as your start time.
From children to pets, and from dirty laundry to Netflix, there may be a million things that want to pull you away from your task at hand. Close a door or go to work in a coffee shop or coworking space.
One of the reasons you’ve decided to freelance is to have flexibility over you time. Build specific breaks into your workday or treat yourself when you’ve completed a large project.
Build an accountability group
Many freelancers feel isolated. If you have friends who also freelance, check in with each other from time to time. You can be cheerleaders for one another and it can help you realize that you’re not alone.
Listen to music
Sometimes quiet is the enemy of productive. You don’t want something so loud it becomes a distraction, but music can keep your mind engaged so you can pay attention to your work.
Outsource tedious tasks
Freelancing involves more than the work you’re passionate about You can hire someone on websites like Fiverr or work with a virtual assistant to handle the more repetitive tasks.
A classic productivity trick is to set a timer. Give yourself thirty minutes of uninterrupted time to work. When the timer goes off, take a short break before getting back to it.
Reward yourself with social media
Admit it. We all do it. It’s so easy to have social media pulled up all day while we’re working. It can be another tool for procrastination. Instead, use it as your reward. When you accomplish a task, give yourself five minutes to check your pages.
Get ready for work
You can stay in your pajamas and work all day. But if you feel like you’re having trouble staying motivated, try establishing a routine before work. Get ready, take a shower, put on real clothes.
Keep a calendar
A calendar will be a lifesaver. Whether you use a free online tool like Google Calendar or Trello, or you have a paper day planner on your desk, you can record all assignments, deadlines, and appointments. It can also help you keep track of your social life.
Physical exercise is sometimes sacrificed when you decide to freelance. But being active can help you focus more on the work you’re doing when you do sit down to do it. Go for a walk outside, head to the gym, or take a yoga class.
You don’t need to be on the clock 24/7. Give yourself work hours. That’s not to say you can’t answer a phone call, but don’t feel the need to jump into action with every email. Manage your client’s expectations through communication.
Invest in yourself
They say you have to spend money to make money. Even if you run your freelance business on a shoestring budget, there are things you can buy that can help keep you focused. Don’t try to limp along with out of date software or old technology.
Try task management software
If you want to be sure to keep all of your work in one place, a task management software is a great investment. It offers cloud storage, email integration, project chat, customizable projects, task management, and a calendar.
Care about your workspace
Yes, you can move your computer to a favorite coffee shop or work from the park, but when you’re at home, where you do work? Is it cluttered? Disorganized? Too busy? Figure out how to make it more functional.