Freelancers are ambitious people who are creative and are self-starters. For some people, freelancing is a dream job. Imagine, no boss around telling you what to do and no cap on how much you can earn.
It sure sounds great, but freelancing is a lot harder than it looks. Since you’re the only one in charge, you have to be willing to put in the time with nobody pushing you but yourself. You need to be disciplined to do your work while avoiding all distractions.
In order to be successful at freelancing, you need to find ways to stay focus and boost your productivity. Here are 5 tips on improving your productivity when working from home.
1. Keep A Quiet Home Office
Keeping a distraction-free home office is essential for getting your work done. The television needs to be off and the door must be closed. For some, music can boost their creativity, as long as it’s treated as background sound.
There’s so much to distract you that you need to stay focused on the task at hand. You have a lot to concentrate on, and when your brain is overstimulated, you can only divide your attention so much.
Make sure there are no distractions in your immediate working area. You’ll be able to shoot all of your focus where it counts. Doing so will provide quite a productivity boost to your work.
2. Get The Distractions Out Of The Way First
When work and home are the same place, things will naturally overlap. This means work chores and home chores feel like a lot of the same. If it’s going to bother you that you haven’t finished the laundry or loaded the dishwasher, do it before you start working.
Tidy up your surroundings and make sure your household work is taken care of first so you won’t be sitting at your desk thinking about the pile of unwashed clothes in the next room.
3. Make Sure You’re Taking Scheduled Breaks
One of the many perks of working at home is that you get to decide when it’s break time. If you don’t have set, scheduled breaks, you might find yourself taking lots of small ones. Doing so will disrupt your chain of thought.
It’s easier to be productive when you’re working at something undistracted for a longer stretch of time, and then you take a few minutes to collect your thoughts when you’re transitioning between tasks.
You can employ the Pomodoro technique, in which you work for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 breaks, take an extended 15-30 minute break before starting the process over again. There are Pomodoro apps to help you or you can just use the timer on your smartphone.
4. Create A Flexible Schedule
If you work with multiple clients, you know when all of your deadlines are due. Some of them may overlap. You might feel inclined to finish things as they come, but this can put you in jeopardy as far as timelines go.
Spend a little bit of each day working on a different project, and complete them in the order you receive them. This might even help prevent feeling burned out from devoting all of your time and energy to one thing. Walking away from something for a little while and coming back to it might help you be a little more objective, and a little more creative.
5. Always Take Weekends Off
Working through the weekend might seem productive, but it can actually derail your schedule beyond all recognition. If you’ve worked away the weekend, what are you going to do on Monday and Tuesday? Treat your freelancing business as a real job. Sometimes more or less regular, but still a job.
You work just as hard as everyone else, and you’re entitled to take two consecutive days off. Doing so will allow you to recharge your batteries, and focus on spending time with your friends and family.
Working from home is often socially isolating, which can keep you feeling low. You need to be your best self in order to be productive. Go out for a drink with your buddies on Saturday – you earned it and you deserve it.
Freelancing isn’t like most jobs – it requires a lot of special considerations to make it work. If you love doing what you do, all you have to do is make a few minor changes regarding your relationship with work. You are independent! You are your own boss! Call the shots that need to be called.
And remember: do your job as you want it to be done – the outcome is the only thing that matters for your clients.