Productivity for freelancers 101: Managing your time effectively

Are you looking to improve your time management skills? These are the top tips and tricks for improving productivity for freelancers.
Productivity for freelancers 101: Managing your time effectively

Hero image by Kaylah Matthews

Did you know there are more than 56 million freelance workers in the United States?

Working as a freelancer comes with a fistful of benefits. After all, who doesn't love having the freedom to work from anywhere you want to?

Unfortunately, this type of work isn't always easy. Some people even struggle to adjust to this lifestyle, particularly when it comes to productivity.

But, there are steps you can take to immediately improve.

Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we’ve got you covered!

Let's take a look at everything you need to know about optimizing productivity for freelancers.  

Set goals

One of the most efficient ways to improve your productivity as a freelance worker is to set daily goals for yourself. Otherwise, you may find that it’s notably difficult to get as much done as you'd like throughout the week.

Setting goals also comes with the added benefit of being able to track the progress that you’ve made. For times when motivation is particularly low, seeing how far you’ve come that day can help you reach the numbers you’re after.

It’s important, though, to set goals that are realistic for you. Chasing a level of productivity that isn’t feasible will only lead to you burning out and getting even less work done.

Eliminate distractions

As you may expect, there’s a direct correlation between the average freelancer's productivity and how many distractions they surround themselves with. All too often, a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram can lead someone down a 30-minute rabbit hole that leaves them with nothing accomplished.

So, your best bet is to eliminate as many distractions as you can.

It’s not feasible to eliminate everything, though, so don’t feel bad if you can’t. Noisy neighbors, roommates, and familial obligations are all part of life for many freelancers.

If your life at home is particularly hectic and you have the opportunity to leave for a few hours per day, consider working at another location such as a café or park. This will give you some much-needed breathing room and allow you to focus more on your work.

Schedule time off

Even workaholics need a day off every now and then. The issue with freelancing for many people, though, is that they are constantly working because they have the opportunity to do so.

Other times, freelancers find themselves working late into the night or on weekends in order to make up for work that they missed earlier on during the week.

This practice isn’t sustainable and will negatively impact your career in the long run. Additionally, overworking yourself can affect your ability to spend quality time with those important to you, such as a family member's birthday or a vacation with friends.

Instead, schedule time off months in advance and adhere to the schedule unless you absolutely need the money. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and will have likely missed working during your days of relaxation.

Optimize your productivity

It’s often not enough to simply eliminate distractions from your workspace. If you want to get as much done as possible, you’ll need to find effective ways to optimize your productivity.

For example, some people are most productive when they wear noise-canceling headphones to block out the world around them. Others may be comfortable with making extensive use of multiple computer monitors to handle different tasks simultaneously.

Take a moment to sit down and figure out where is that you can improve your workflow and productivity. This will directly lead to earning more money, which will further motivate you to get more work done in the future.

Hold yourself accountable

This is an area where many freelancers struggle. Unfortunately, it’s common for people to fall into the routine of waking up late, prioritizing social occasions instead of work, etc.

If you noticed that you haven’t been performing up to your own standards recently, you need to hold yourself accountable. Although this could mean spending less time hanging out with friends or relaxing, it’s simply part of the process when it comes to being a freelancer.

Developing a high level of self-accountability will help you build the discipline that’s necessary for you to thrive in this type of lifestyle.

Structure your day

Fortunately, many of the common issues a freelancer sees can be resolved by implementing some sort of structure to your daily activities.

As previously mentioned, it’s not abnormal for freelancers to wake up later than they intend to. This often stems for two reasons:

  1. Anxiety about getting started with the day's work
  2. Taking advantage of the freedom to sleep in

In this scenario, you can attempt to get up an hour earlier than you’re supposed to, but spend that time doing something that you enjoy. Having coffee while reading or playing video games can provide you with plenty of mental stimulation that you need to start with your day.

Similarly, it’s also important for you to schedule an end to your workday. In general, it’s best to choose a reasonable time in the afternoon or evening to stop working for the day and instead spend time with friends, family, or pursue side projects or hobbies.

When you know that you only have a certain window of time each day to get your required work done, you’ll find that you use your time more efficiently.

Peak productivity for freelancers: It's not impossible

With the above information about managing productivity for freelancers in mind, you'll be well on your way toward optimizing your workflow and hitting numbers like never before.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.

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