It’s the eternal struggle with working from home. You could call the dentist, watch the show you’ve been meaning to watch, clean the bathroom. Even the most mundane things can seem more interesting than another article about search engine optimization.
But there’s no excuse to slack off at making money as a freelancer. There’s plenty of work to be done. Your e-mail is probably full of opportunities right now.
It’s time to don the headphones and get to work. Here are some ways you boost your productivity while working as a freelancer.
1. DO NOT DISTURB
I had to have a talk with my wife a few months ago. I’d be deep in a project. My door was closed. And she would burst in after her 9-5 was done and just start talking about her day.
I made it clear that she needed to ask if I was at a stopping point. My concentration is fragile. And if I get interrupted when deep in a project, I’ll get lost in something else and decide to put off work.
Look at what’s distracting you during your day. Is it your phone? Are you compulsively picking it up, mindlessly opening Facebook and then realizing what you did only minutes later?
Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode. Or better yet, leave your phone in another room charging. You’ll be surprised at how little you actually miss when you leave your phone elsewhere.
2. Even the Type B Personality Can Use a List
I know people who make lists just to make lists. They think it’s fun. They color code everything and keep an extensive calendar with them at all times.
I’m not like that. Even my fiction tends to be fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. No outlines for me.
We’ve seen an uncanny effect with lists, however. When you have a long list in your head of things to do, you will inevitably experience analysis paralysis.
Your list will seem overwhelming. You won’t know where to start. But once you write it down, you’ll feel better.
You’ll realize what you have to do isn’t nearly as much as you thought and you’ll dive right in.
3. Do Similar Things Together
Say I have five orders for articles about baby products. While utterly droll, my mind will work faster if I stay in the world of baby products for an extended period of time.
When coming up with another topic, it will be easier if I’m still thinking about baby products and not entrepreneurial case studies. Those are two entirely different headspaces.
Group similar projects and tasks together. Schedule them in blocks.
4. Don’t Forget Breaks
I actually struggle with the opposite of this one. Give me a break and I’ll find something to distract myself with for entirely too long.
But some people out there aren’t as ADD as me. And some people enjoy planning out their day.
If that’s you, then plan your breaks out. Plan out what you’re going to do during your breaks.
When I worked a desk job, I would plan push-up breaks. It was my answer to smoke breaks.
The key to boosting productivity is searching for weaknesses. Shore up places where you’re losing time. Disavow activities that are eating up your life.