When you work for a small business or company, you generally have colleagues and management teams keeping you focused and motivated. You might even have a to-do list and people checking on you often to ensure you’re achieving as expected.
Becoming a freelancer can often mean that you have to hold yourself accountable and be your own motivator. Unless you’re encouraging yourself to do the work, it doesn’t get done. If you struggle with the concept of managing yourself and keeping your productivity levels high, some of these tips may be helpful.
Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
One of the most effective tips for new freelancers and even seasoned ones is ensuring you have a dedicated workspace to perform at your best. You might have a permanent office in your home or a shared space, or even a tiny nook in an RV as you travel.
Whatever your space looks like, ensure it’s somewhere you can move into and immediately enter work mode to be as productive as possible. At a minimum, it should have a clean work surface, a seat, and all the stationery and equipment you need to perform work to the highest standard.
Work When You’re Feeling Productive
It’s never easy being as productive as you want to be when your brain is not in ‘work mode.’ If you’re struggling with feeling uncreative, identify the times of the day it happens the most.
Some people find that they achieve more early in the morning or late at night, rather than at other times of the day. By identifying your productivity window, you can adjust your working hours and potentially achieve far more than anticipated.
Get Rid of Distractions
Sometimes, external distractions hold us back from being our most productive selves. Throughout the day, pay attention to what makes you stop your work and refocus your attention. Social media is often a productivity trap, and even our own families and friends.
If you can’t remain on task with background disturbances, opt for the quietest part of your home to work in, and consider putting your phone in ‘do not disturb’ mode.
Do the Worst Tasks First
We’ve all got our least favorite tasks, the ones that may not take up the most time but do require the most attention. By tackling these first, you may lay the foundation for a productive day while not having to stress about managing that energy-sapping task at the end of the working day when you’re ready to relax.
Take Regular Breaks
It’s easy to assume that being the most productive involves working hard and putting in several hours of effort. However, achieving the most work may come down to how many breaks you take.
Some studies have shown that brief breaks can improve focus, which means those micro breaks to stretch, walk, grab a coffee or talk to a friend or family member may actually benefit your productivity levels. Consider taking breaks at least once an hour and see if it makes a difference in how focused you are and how much you achieve.
Being self-motivated as a freelancer can be challenging, especially if you’ve been used to other people telling you what to do. However, these tips above may help you become the most efficient and productive freelancer you can be, and possibly all without working more hours than you already do.