Being a freelancer has already earned itself a rap for being the be-all and end-all of work, but the truth varies from one person to another.
You’ll meet a graphic designer struggling to communicate with a client in a different time zone, or a developer who has grown fond of brainstorming, so they would prefer working alongside like-minded people – but without the constraints of an office. Sticking to a healthy diet can also be tricky, and getting out of those pajamas may become a nuisance.
All in all, being a freelancer sometimes means you need to find alternative ways to boost your productivity. With no office culture, superiors, or competitive colleagues to push you, what are you to do to build that productivity? Here are a few freelance-friendly suggestions!
Set up your own idea of structure
Yes, the beauty of freelancing is the level of flexibility you have to set up when you work, how much you work, and who you choose to work with.
Still, haphazard work hours are bound to lead to pushed deadlines, late-night Skype calls, and too many tasks on hold. Without that nine-to-five, you need to build and stick to your own idea of structure.
Whether that means working for two hours in the morning, two again after lunch, and wrapping up with emails in the evening, or having it all done in a single go – it’s entirely up to you.
What does matter is to devise a system of task-assignment, time allocation, and tracking that gives your day that much-needed flow. Rest assured, you’ll get much more done with an actual schedule!
Choose your environment wisely
Those of us who have grown exhausted of the nine-to-five culture jump at the chance to work from bed, still in our PJs. While this may work for one or two days, it’s certainly not an approach that will have you beaming with zeal and energy to tackle yet another challenging task.
As a perfect example, we all know and love the laid-back Aussie lifestyle that makes them so inspiring. However, you’ll find few of them actually working on the beach while sunbathing.
This relaxed, but hard-working society has realized the issue of linking your work to your leisure space.
That’s why you’ll find many freelancers using well-equipped cowork Melbourne spaces specifically designed to enhance productivity and ease of collaboration. You can follow in their footsteps and find a similar space in your own community, or build a little office in your own home.
Use time-tracking tools
Whether you’re freelancing as a photographer, a teacher, or a developer, the principle remains the same – you need to build your own accountability and simplify your processes by any means possible.
For some lucky people, a cup of coffee is all it takes. For the rest of us mere mortals, using digital tools to enhance productivity and allow that structure to persevere might be necessary.
With time-tracking apps such as Hours and other similar digital tools, you can make sure that you don’t waste your time on distractions such as social media, but that you actually have a real grasp of how you distribute your daily efforts.
The industry you work in doesn’t really matter as long as you can use these tools to make your own life easier, track your progress, eliminate disturbances and time-wasters, and grow strong relationships with your clients.
Balance your workload
Too often, novice freelancers accept every single task that comes their way. As noble as your desire to advance may be, it may not be the best solution for you or your potential clients.
The quality of your work will suffer if you only focus on quantity, and in the end, your productivity will plummet together with your reputation.
The simplest way to put this would be: learn to say no – to projects, overzealous clients with no boundaries, impromptu meetings, and urgent projects that will destroy your work ethic and force you to give up on any notion of a healthy, balanced existence.
One less project on your portfolio is not that big of a deal when compared to too many precious moments you haven’t devoted to spending time with your family, or simply giving your absolute best to a project you already have.
Productivity is a fickle friend, and you’ll often find that even some of these tried and tested tactics fail to give you the energy you need.
However, stay consistent with your efforts, allow yourself and your structure to change, and you’ll find the best productivity boosters that will give you a long and happy freelancing career you desire.