Image via Flickr by Sean MacEntee
While many cubicle dwellers are envious of the freedom that a freelancer lifestyle entails, little do they realise how difficult it is to stay motivated and organized when there is no big boss or regular routine to follow. Social media and household happenings can be a major distraction; plus, strict deadlines and wavering levels of creativity make it easy for freelancers to fall into a self-employed slump.
Whether you’re a writer, web developer, or graphic designer, these 7 tips will help you to become more productive and focused as a freelancer.
Set a Routine
Routines are the backbone of a successful freelance career, as without them work and play can blur together and lead to unproductive days and sleepless nights. Give yourself time to fully wake up and nourish your body before you start your work day. While it’s a (half-true) stereotype that many freelancers tend to mope around in their underwear all day, getting dressed properly in the morning will also help to set you off on the right foot.
Time it Right
Creativity is a fleeting spark which needs to be carefully harnessed. You can make it easier on yourself by working out which times of day your brain is at its most brilliant. Daily Rituals: How Writers, Artists, and Other Interesting People Organize Their Days, is a fascinating and insightful read for any frustrated freelancers.
The successful freelancer knows how to prioritize tasks. Considering deadlines, estimating completion times, keeping a to-do-list, honoring commitments, and knowing when to delegate are all part and parcel of being able to properly prioritize your work. The easy-to-use Eisenhower App provides an elegant way for freelancers to quickly and efficiently organize work tasks according to priority.
Cultivate a Productive Environment
Mastering productivity involves creating a well-organized work area. While the requirements and ideal layout of the space will vary greatly from one person to another, there is no denying that a clean space will help to boost your work powers. Investing in storage facilities, making sure that the space is well-lit, using a comfortable and supportive chair, and having the right tools for the job can all help to isolate your idleness.
Shun Social Media
Distractions are one of the biggest banes for freelancers, so you will need to do all in your power to minimize them. While many freelancers use social media as a way to promote their work, these platforms also drain valuable work time as several minutes responding to messages can quickly escalate into an hour wasted browsing useless information.
A study by Salary.com revealed that 64% of employees waste time on non-related work items every single day! While this study was based on full-time employees, freelancers are even more in danger of being sucked up by social media.
You can set aside specific times when you access your social media accounts to respond to emails but avoid personal updates or checking friends’ pages during this time period. There is also software like Cold Turkey, which will restrict website access for set time periods.
Save Time With Technology
From email templates to invoice tools, there are a huge selection of apps and digital products that will help you stay motivated and on track with work. Harvard Business Review asked some of their favorite bloggers to list their go-to digital tools, and Doodle, WorkFlowy, Dropbox, and HootSuite came up trumps in the polls. Having excellent phone coverage, high-speed internet connection, and up-to-date equipment is also essential for freelance productivity.
Constantly chasing deadlines and working through the night will not only lead to exhaustion but also help you to lose sight of the reason you became a freelancer in the first place. Take the time to study your role models and explore their work, ethic, routines, and environment to help better yourself as a freelancer and keep your creative spark alive.
Killing the distractions, prioritizing, saving time with apps, and staying inspired are all keys to being a productive and motivated freelancer. Now get to work!