6 Ways to Maximize Your Productivity as a Freelancer
If you’re a freelancer, you may find it difficult to juggle all of your different projects at once. It’s vital to note that most jobs will only pay out when the final product is submitted. This means that poor productivity can devastate your schedule, income, and psyche. Consider these 6 tips to help boost your productivity and get more projects in and out of the door.
1. In times of serious time cramps, plan out your schedule down to the second.
Seriously. That doesn’t just mean your work schedule. Figure out how long you’re going to take for lunch, set aside some time for some light exercise, and even plan out your bathroom breaks. You can also make a to-do list – it will surprise you how satisfying it feels to cross things off! If your calendar doesn’t look like a set of children’s building blocks, you’re doing it wrong. Some tools that I would recommend are Todoist for to-do lists and Google Calendar for overall scheduling.
2. Get rid of distractions. By force, if you need to.
Some people are pretty diligent about not checking Facebook or accidentally watching a whole season of Breaking Bad. But some of us, like myself, aren’t so disciplined. Luckily for us, many tools exist that can help us out with that. If you’re using Chrome, there’s an extension called Block Site that will forbid you from accessing specific sites for certain periods of time. Try turning off notifications on your phone or give it to your son to play some Angry Birds (no guarantee you’ll be getting it back).
Sometimes, the idea of work piling up can be distracting in and of itself. Something I’ve found that works wonders is to get rid of small projects or tasks, like sending an email or making a quick edit on a design. When you’re done, you can cross them off of your to-do list that you made in tip 1. Suddenly, the mound of work has become that much smaller, leaving your mind free to work on bigger things.
3. Automate, automate, automate.
Taking a page from our previous article, Top 3 Ways for Internal Business Improvement, automation is slowly becoming more and more sophisticated. Cutting down on sending that extra email or updating a spreadsheet can make a real difference when you’re planning every second of your day. Zapier is a fantastic and powerful tool that allows you to do things like save emails from a certain domain to a specified spreadsheet. You even set up an auto-responder for whatever language you received an email in.
4. If you’re working at home, get out of your pajamas.
Sounds strange, but clothes have an interesting psychological effect on the wearer. This study by the Washington Post demonstrates that wearing professional attire can have a positive effect on your performance (doesn’t mean you have to sit at home in a suit all day – a button-down shirt or a nice blouse and jeans will do). If you can fit it into your schedule, give that study a read.
5. Take breaks.
I know this article is all about productivity, and breaks may seem to oppose that, but you’d be surprised at the effect they can have when you get back to work. It’s recommended to take a short break (like 5 minutes) per hour just to move around, stretch, grab a light snack, what have you. Otherwise, you may be at risk of developing high stress and/or exhaustion, which will just shoot your productivity in the head. Make sure to throw these into the schedule that you made in tip 1.
6. Try not working from home.
Sometimes it may not be a good idea to associate your home with work. Like in tip 4, home can mean relaxing, kicking back, and watching some Netflix. This is why a lot of freelancers choose to work at cafes, parks, or anywhere there may be accessible Wi-Fi. But there’s an even better option – co-working spaces. These spaces offer a plethora of services that can help out with your quest to productivity. They usually come with an ambiance of “get stuff done” so you can really plow into your work, a kitchen so you can snack while working, and, while you can wear your pajamas if you want, it’s probably discouraged. If you’re a freelancer in Orange County, check out Pro Desk Space in Downtown Fullerton! Pro Desk Space offers tons of features and amenities to make sure that you get your stuff done while maximizing your productivity.
Written by: Juan Juy