Productivity tips

Four productivity tips for busy freelancers

To make your freelance business grow, you need much more than a strong determination to wake up every morning and go to work. As there’s no one else above you to define your schedule and responsibilities, it’s easy to get carried away with the flexibility and freedom.

So, how can you stay focused and productive when there’s so much going on around?

How to make sure you get your work done on time when you are your boss and manager?

  1. Do the most complex task first

The easiest way to manage your productivity is to manage your time effectively.

If you have a small jar that has to be filled with stones and sand and you start from adding the sand first, there might be no space left for the stones. But if you first fill it with the stones, and later pour the sand, chances are you’ll be able to fit everything perfectly.

Similarly, starting your day from bigger and more complex projects will help you find time and energy for smaller and shorter tasks. Plus, you’ll probably feel a great relief if you manage to tick off the most time-consuming or complicated item from your list before the lunch time.

Then you can easily start filling your jar with the sand – that is adding all the not so urgent or not so overwhelming activities.

  1. Have a dedicated work space

A major obstacle for freelancers working from home is the fact that they work from home. You don’t need to invest in a co-working space or a fancy office. All you need is a separate work space, even if it‘s located in your home.

So, stop working at your dining table or on a sofa with your laptop on your knees.

Do your best to transform even the tiniest corner in your house into a comfortable and productive working space. If that’s not doable, maybe typing around other people – in a cafe or library – will have a positive impact on your focus and motivation. Plus, it will give you an opportunity for some social interaction that many freelancers miss in their daily work.

  1. Eliminate distractions

It’s difficult to focus on work when your mind keeps wandering. It’s challenging to stay productive if there’s too much noise, too much clutter, too many disturbing calls or messages. So, before you switch to the business mode, make sure there’s absolutely nothing that would hijack your attention.

A tidy and clean work space will put your mind at ease, but a disorganised desk will make your brain cluttered and chaotic. Even if you don’t mind working in your creative mess – your brain does notice the clutter and adjusts to your surrounding accordingly. Try making your space as minimal and as clean as possible to see if it changes the way you feel and work.

You can also move your work space to face a wall or a window to further eliminate any distractions. Make sure the space in front of you is simple and balanced to keep your concentration level high.

Finally, if the noise is your main obstacle – move your work space to a more peaceful area, talk to your family members or neighbours to keep their noise level down in your work time or invest in noise-cancelling headphones.

  1. Take regular breaks

Structure your day according to your energy level and figure out when your productivity drops. For some people it means taking breaks after 90 minutes for 10-15 minutes, others prefer working with a pomodoro technique, and for some freelancers the best time for a break is when they finally tick something off on their to-do list.

Not every strategy is for everyone, but you do need regular breaks. So, don’t stay too long in one position in front of your desk and plan several short and one or two longer breaks throughout the day.

This is how you’ll be able to restart your workflow, stretch your muscles, turn your ahead away from the computer and restore your energy to get ready for more focus and more brilliant ideas.

Over to you

What is your favourite strategy to stay laser-focused and productive? How do you eliminate your distractions?

Share your thoughts below!

Dorota helps businesses and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is a qualified translator and an entrepreneur supporting other self-employed professionals on their path towards building a more successful business.

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