Freelancers are often faced with the challenge of staying organized. The lack of a physical office can make it difficult to stay on top of tasks and deadlines without proper time management and organization skills. Additionally, the lack of formal daily routines may sometimes become a hurdle in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
As a freelancer myself, I spend a lot of my free time looking for ways to improve my productivity and efficiency. And I believe most of you have, at least once, searched the internet for tips on how to stay productive as a freelancer.
Freelancing is great. It gives you freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to tap into multiple revenue sources!
But there’s a darker side too!
As a freelancer, if you’re unable to manage your time and efforts properly, you will be “working yourself to death”. Since there are no fixed hours, most freelancers (including me) have often ended up with our work life blending into our personal lives. This, in turn, causes a lot of stress, leading to lack of motivation, even writer’s block.
If you start getting too stressed or feel like you’re overworked, it is time to take a step back and assess what you’re doing wrong. In most cases, the culprit is the lack of organizational skills.
In the freelancing world, success doesn’t necessarily depend on working extended hours. It is mostly influenced by how you manage your work within fixed hours.
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Productivity Tips For Freelancers
There’s no point working 10+ hours a day, only to end up feeling stressed and burned out. Instead, you can just organize your time and stay on top of everything.
That said, here are some tips on how to be productive as a freelancer:
Set Fixed Hours
Depending on the time zones of the clients you are working for, the first (and the most important) thing to do is set up fixed working hours. You can work either day shifts, night shifts, or any other shift that best works for you. Heck, you can even split your work hours throughout the day – whatever floats your boat!
The best way to get more things done within fixed hours is by leveraging the tools and applications at your disposal. Find the tools and solutions that can help you automate recurring tasks, and you’ll find it much easier to turn every second of your working hours highly productive.
Need some free tools? Check out this list of 18 FREE content writing tools that every freelancer should use.
Set Smaller Goals
Are you targeting a specific number of hours per day or type of project?
The best way to know if your productivity is improving is to set specific goals. Your goal can be anything: working for eight hours per day or writing three blog posts each week. Setting goals will allow you to keep track of what you’ve accomplished and make sure you’re working at a steady pace.
If you’re not meeting your goals, it may be time to consider where you need to make changes to see results. Sometimes, it just takes time to get used to a new routine. If you’re feeling stuck in your productivity, keep in mind that part of the process is learning what works best for your freelancing lifestyle.
Track Your Time
Keep track of how long you spend on each task and organize your work accordingly (you can use online planners, time trackers, or track it manually). Most importantly, make it a habit to start and end your workday on time – every day, without a miss. Go ahead, set your alarm clock to wake you up at the same time each day, and don’t let the workday stretch past when it should.
Set yourself realistic deadlines (e.g., “I want to be done with my op-ed by tomorrow”) and stick to them. Have a “To-Do” list or spreadsheet of tasks that need completing and prioritize them by urgency, so you know exactly what is most important.
Take Breaks When You Need Them
It’s easy to get stuck in a mindset of productivity with a bit of practice, but it’s important to take breaks from work to let your brain and body rest.
Studies show that taking breaks from work can improve your productivity. Taking breaks helps you stay on track and feel more refreshed and energetic. Breaks give our brains time to rest and can help with mental health issues like stress or burnout.
Get Rid of Distractions
Working from home is a terrific opportunity for people to work in their comfort zones and be more productive. However, there are many distractions that can get in the way of staying focused.
The key to staying focused is finding what works for you. There are many different tips that can help you stay on task:
- Turn off your phone or put it in silent mode
- Open only the necessary tabs on your browser
- Wear headphones (with light ambient music playing)
- Organize the items that you use frequently
- Use applications that help enhance productivity
- Apply the Pomodoro technique
Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
It is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance to ensure that you are not burned out. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, it is important to stay organized, have a buffer time between work and personal activities, and make sure that you do not overcommit yourself in your personal or professional life.
Here are some tips that can help you do just that:
- Find time for yourself
- Take care of your mental health by doing things you enjoy
- Make sure you have enough sleep and exercise
- Don’t overwork yourself or take on too many projects at once
- Schedule your time wisely
Freelance life is not always easy and there are many challenges that come with it, including managing income, finding clients, and maintaining a work-life balance. However, there are also some advantages to being a freelancer, such as the freedom to set your own hours and take on projects that inspire you.
I can’t stress enough the fact that the key to becoming more productive is to figure out what your productivity style is and how you can best implement it in your work routine. Some people work better in the morning hours while others prefer the afternoon or evening.
Some people need silence while others need music or noise to focus on their tasks. Some people do better with frequent breaks and others with fewer breaks but longer ones!
The key is figuring out what works best for you and then implementing it into your freelance routine.