There are plenty of productivity tips and hacks available to you, if you do a quick Google search, but how many of them are actually relevant to freelancers?
Not many, at least, they don’t highlight how they can impact the life of a freelancer…
That’s why I came up with some different tips and strategies around productivity specifically for freelancers, because in order for a productivity tool or app to work well for us, we need to make sure it will benefit you and your business.
One thing we can all agree on, the more hours you work, the more you can earn, but who wants to do that day in, day out? Not me, it’s one of the reasons I left my day job, and I’m sure it’s one of the reason’s you did too (or are about to).
Related: Start a Side Hustle in 30 Days
The more that you can get done in a day—without having to spend hours doing so—that’s a game-changer for your business.
Enter productivity 101…
5 Freelancing Productivity Strategies
#1: Assess task time
If a task will take less than 5 minutes to do, do it now. It’s pretty simple, yet a lot of us simply don’t do it. If you say to yourself, “I’ll do this when I’ve got 5 minutes” then do it now!
Otherwise, you’re going to end up with a long list of to-do’s at the end of the day and feel completely overwhelmed. Not to mention being bogged down in stuff that you shouldn’t be.
Write this down: If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now!
#2: Eat the frog
This one I learned from Brian Tracy. The first thing you should do each morning before cranking open emails or attempting to start any other work, is to “eat the frog”, i.e. do the most difficult thing or the thing you’re dreading the most when you first wake up so that it doesn’t occupy any more of your time.
Key takeaway: Do the thing that’s the hardest for you or that you’re dreading doing, first thing before any other work.
#3: Batch your work time
This is one of my fave tips and one I frequently do when I need to get shit done. I batch my working time. I set a timer (I use the [email protected] app on my iPhone to time it) for 60 minutes and when the bell dings, I take a 10 minute break before jumping into another 60 minute batch of work.
This allows me to be very productive and focused during that time. I turn off emails and social media so that I can just get stuff done. It’s amazing how easy it is to get into ‘the zone’ by simply removing distractions.
The bonus of using [email protected] is that it also provides background music, which keeps me even more focused during that 60 minute timeframe.
Try this for 7 days and see how your productivity soars through the roof.
#4: Schedule your day
Now I know not everyone likes to schedule their day, so you can be as rigid or as free with this as you want.
The key is to do this the night before or at the beginning of the day, before you do any work.
Sit down and work out exactly what it is you’re going to achieve that day and how it fits into your day.
I use a combination of Google calendar, Todoist and the Sunrise app to keep track of my schedule. I schedule a 3 hour block of time in the morning and afternoon and then a 2 hour blog either first thing or at night as well, depending on what I’ve got going on.
That goes in my Google calendar. I use Todist to identify the actual tasks that will go into those blocks of time and the Sunrise app to keep track of EVERYTHING, including personal appointments and client deadlines.
Key takeaway: Schedule your day before it starts so you know what you need to achieve that day.
#5: Allow downtime
No matter how much you have on your plate, you need to give yourself at least an hour or two off to relax, unwind and refocus. If you find yourself regularly feeling low at certain points of the day, then that’s the best time to take some time away from the computer.
For example, the minute it hits 2pm, my energy levels tend to taper off and I struggle to stay focused, which is why I take a couple of hours out to do the things I enjoy doing, like reading a good vampire book on my Kindle!
I also make sure that I get in at least 30 minutes of exercise at the beginning of my day. This is part of my downtime too, and allows me to solely focus on my body both mentally and physically. It sets me up right for the day ahead.
In order for you to be successful as a freelancer, you need to be able to have an edge on your competition. What better way to do that than by implementing at least one of these productivity strategies into your own business!