How You Can Be Optimally Productive as a Freelancer
The bid to be optimally productive daily is the utmost desire of every freelancer. Nobody wishes to be under-productive with their working hours. But then, time-wasters seem to be something every freelancer is susceptible to. These somewhat malignant good activities just know how to captivate our hearts with little or no effort.
Don’t wonder or try to contest that I just called time-wasting activities “good”. Look, that they reduce the rate of one’s professional productivity does not mean that they are bad altogether. Most times, they are not vices. They are just habits we need to cut down on hours of, or completely stop, participation in them.
Checking your emails, WhatsApp or social media handles, etc. to read and reply to messages or even to post aren’t bad activities in themselves; they only take a chunk of the time that we may want to or should spend delivering quality to clients. And, that chunk depends on how much we allow them. The same goes for exchanging banters with sisters, brothers, and friends, or joining in on some boys/girls’ talk. These things would naturally happen and would always be forceful in getting any freelancer’s attention because you work from home or places you are likely to see and be seen by everyone while in the case of picking your mobile device to check social media, the subconscious notion that there’s possibly no boss who would frown at you doing that is one’s Achilles’ heel as a freelancer.
For some, what tampers with optimal productivity them is the amount of time they spend on actual jobs that are either unnecessary or pay them less. Distractions aren’t their problem because they have mastered the art of shutting out distractions. They are just busy, but not effectively doing business. Those in this category are the most unfortunate stock of freelancers. How long and hard they work is never commensurate with their results and pay at the end of the day. These freelancers usually spend so much time working with clients that take so much of their time, but what they pay, when calculated on an hourly basis, is meager compared to what they get from clients who don’t take much of their time. The feeling with these two types of clients is that the former impresses like a nine-to-five job while the latter is like consultancy.
4 Best Practices for Optimum Productivity as a Freelancer
Freelancing is primarily about using time and energy for what we each think is worth it. If you know this, you can be sure you are on your way to achieving more daily as a freelancer. More, in some cases, may not be large numbers of activities, but very few important results one can call milestones of progress or KPIs. Every tip you will get around about being optimally productive as a freelancer points in the direction of you telling yourself that the amount of time and level of energy you have chosen to put into any activity is the actual right amount of time and energy you are convinced it’s worth. No more, no less. Anyways, let’s look at a few tips to help you as a freelancer be sure you spend your time and energy doing what you should be doing on a daily basis.
- To-Do List. This is about the golden rule of effectiveness in freelancing. You may not regularly make yourself proud as a freelancer if you do not make a habit of itemizing what you seek to achieve each day, how you intend to, and when you have to. You must know all that you want to achieve in a day, how you can best get them done considering the amount of time you have on your hands for them. The most vital part of this principle is timing yourself. Always a lot of time for everything you do. It is never enough to know what to do and how you intend to do them. If you don’t set a time for each, you are likely not going to finish up at the end of the day. Never plunge into the day without carefully noting down all that you want to engage yourself with during your active hours, when you want to, and how long you will spend doing each. From work-related to fun to family activities. You can plan for each other day the night before or adopt a weekly schedule. Try both and stick with what suits you as an individual.
- Set and Observe Break Time. Yes, you read that right! Burnout is more dangerous than distractions; it damages one’s health. As a freelancer, you should learn to take some time to unwind. I tell you what, it’s sure worth it. The rider here is just that whatever you choose to do during the period should be what does not require lots of time and energy, because the session is supposed to help you recharge your battery, and not further drain you.
- Be Selective with Jobs/Clients. You see, the idea of being in control of your life (time and energy) and knowing you can do what pleases you as a freelancer can be a setback to being productive if you always say “Yes” to all comers. As a freelancer, you must know that all jobs aren’t for you, and learn to know the ones to accept. Primarily, you are to take up jobs that would help improve your skills as a freelancer. Also, you have to ensure that the remuneration is commensurate with hours of work and the amount of effort you are to put in. Clients in the habit of being on your neck and always coming up with tons of corrections daily should be avoided; they are usually not a freelancer’s best client. As a rule, set a limit of the number of clients you are sure you can work with effectively per time and never exceed it for any reason. Only take in another job/client if you have finished your contract with an existing one. Good pay is not a function of plenty of jobs. A few good ones will surely do the magic.
- Set Work Hours and Areas. This is a blend of tricks long-term freelancers have learned and always operate. Everyone has a period of the day that they are usually most active and very productive. As a freelancer, you must know yours and allocate it to your hardest task for the day. Set both resumption and closing times, and adhere to them strictly. Also, the trick of deliberately using something to define a portion of the house as an office is important. This can be as funny as choosing to sit in a particular corner of your room or in a particular manner on your bed once your resumption time has come. You just have to help yourself with something to make a mental note of office and work time even though you are working from home. I tell you what, this is sure worth it. Furthermore, communicate these pointers to those around you so they can help you maintain it always. Failure to do this has been the clog in the wheel of many freelancers’ productivity. Don’t be another one.
Optimum productivity is not an illusion. One thing is certain, productivity is largely a function of how and when you do your work. Using or adopting the best systems/processes/tools to do your work impacts productivity level while working when you’re strongest and most creative in the day is just magical. Create a good system for yourself and work when you are sharpest, and you will see your results as a freelancer markedly improve.