Even if freelance working style is a growing trend, it doesn’t mean that all freelancers know how to make the most from their specific lifestyle. Freelancing has a lot of advantages, but one of the most serious issues all freelancers deal with is motivation. Without anyone to supervise their work, they might fail to manage their time properly and consequently lose on productivity. Here are 7 key tips to help you boost your productivity when working freelance.
1. Schedule your day with a to-do list of tasks
Nothings helps to boost productivity like a daily routine. Freelancers who get a lot of things done often start with taking a look at their list of projects and writing down the most urgent tasks on a sticky note – which they place somewhere where it’s always visible for consultation. This helps to keep focus and not get distracted by other, less important tasks who beg for your attention.
Once you complete a task, cross it off your list, take a short break and move on to the next once. You’ll find that the motion itself is very satisfying. What you don’t manage to finish goes on the sticky note for the next day. This simple system works wonders when you’ve got loads of things to do and have no idea where to start. For more complex to do lists, consider using special apps like Evernote or Wunderlist. They help to store ideas that appear in your mind – you can jot them down on the go and review them later when you’ve got time.
The important thing about scheduling is having a clear plan for spending your time. Take a critical look at your priorities every day and figure out a way to accomplish your goals faster by breaking them into small actionable tasks. Remember to be specific when writing down tasks in your list.
Breaking a project into manageable tasks, you’ll never feel overwhelmed about the amount of work that needs to be done and find yourself easily running through all your small tasks, getting done more than you’d ever imagined.
2. The value of good exercise
Smart freelancers always appreciate good exercise. And you should too, especially if you sit at your desk every single day. Get your blood flowing to feel better and be much more productive when you sit down to accomplish your tasks.
You can establish a simple stretching routine in the morning or use your freelancing freedom to have a walk or bike ride in the middle of the day. It’s a good habit to exercise in the morning – the blood flow to your brain will make you more focused and radically improve the quality of your work.
Exercise helps you to stay physically healthy, but it also has an impact on your mental health – it keeps you motivated and positive, helping you to get the most from every single day.
3. Focus on your objectives, not hours
Many people think about their work in terms of hours. But just because you’ve spent 2 hours on a task doesn’t mean that you’ve worked a lot – especially if you’ve been checking your social media feed every 15 minutes.
Try to look at work from another perspective. You’ve got the skills and a given amount of time – naturally, you should use your resources well them to achieve your aims. But don’t let hours of the day define what needs to be done. Work enough to feel satisfied in the evening and push your projects forward.
Just because you spend more time on working won’t help you make a task better. In fact, great designs can be created withing a matter of hours, not days or weeks. Use your time in the best way you can, but don’t allow yourself to become its slave. Be reasonable and you’ll see that it will help you to organize your work in such a way as to maximize your results within a given time frame.
4. Wake up early – you won’t regret it
Gaining additional hours in a day which are free from any distractions is possible if you wake up early. Many freelancers who struggle to find the right moment to practice their craft or simply be focused on their jobs find it productive to wake up one or two hours before their usual time.
Consider waking up a bit earlier every day to ease yourself into the transition. By the time most workers will be fighting their sleep with a cup of coffee, your blood will be flowing and you’ll be already on your tasks. Waking up early is a question of habit, not some inherent heroism.
Waking up is an art too. Don’t resort to looking at your emails first thing in the morning (or browsing your social media feed!). Wash your face, exercise a little, have a shower and then a nutritious breakfast – there’s no better way to start your day than this!
5. Take smart breaks
Just like waking up, break taking is an art as well. Sometimes completing a huge task will take a toll on you – this when you should relax and take a break, rather than jumping onto a different task right away. Walk away from your work, and then come back and work on lighter tasks.
But use your breaks well. Nothing helps our brains to relax like mundane tasks. Organize your workspace, mow the lawn, go grocery shopping or do the dishes. This way, you’ll be going back to work with a fresh mind and use your time more effectively every single day.
6. When in crisis, switch to a new task
You might find yourself struggling to complete a task. Naturally, when you hit a wall you cannot just stop to work – your income depends on your productivity. This is why you should switch to a new task, not stop working altogether. You’ll be still following your work rhythm, but directing your attention somewhere else will help your mind to gather itself.
It’s best switch to a completely different kind of work. If you’re stuck writing, try your hand at shooting a video or designing a new project. Your mind will be refreshed and after a productive break you’ll come back to your daunting task with new energy and motivation.
7. Force yourself to work with strategies freelancers trust
Sometimes you’ll just need to force yourself to get lots of work done in record time. This is when you should try one of the methods other freelancers trust. Once of them is the Pomodoro Technique – use a timer to break down work into short intervals, for instance 25 minutes separated by small breaks.
Make sure that during these 25 minutes you’re completely focused and no distractions can break your work flow. Set yourself an attainable goal and work towards it – after a couple of minutes, you’ll be in the zone. Use an online timer and you’ll see how it changes your perception of time – and your personal productivity!
Success in freelancing is practically based on productivity. Without anyone controlling your work flow or motivating you to work hard on a task, it’s up to you to find strategies which work for you and help you boost your motivation in an instant.
About the author: Carol Williams is a team member at Honeybells – a fruit shipping company from Florida. She has a deep background in working freelance and likes to write about its benefits as well as how to improve productivity as a freelancer.