To be a successful freelancer, you need to make the most of the time you have and get stuff done.
You have to focus, seize every moment and keep energy levels on a high; otherwise work will take a toll on you and you may end up quitting your dream and freedom.
Here are a few tips to help you make it in this industry that many people crave for but not all can hack:
Create a Feasible To-Do List
A freelancer’s whole world is a breakdown of clients, projects, and tasks. The more you work and take bigger projects, the more you need effective task management since clients are unaware of (or don’t care about) your other commitments, so they slap you with a strict deadline and bombard you with multiple requests that could leave you confused.
For this reason, and to minimize distractions, boost productivity and deliver high-quality work that meets deadlines, you need to be organized and guided by a to-do list.
Think about what you need to achieve and create a list of how and when you will get there. Break up large tasks into smaller ones and be specific about what must be done on a day.
The list needs to be realistic, providing you with enough time to do a proper job, not just chase time and churn out poor work.
Track Your Time
When you are done creating the list, track your time and stick to your timetable.
This will help you manage your work and keep you focused. It will also give you a sense of responsibility and make you appreciate your grind.
Remember to assess your performance at the end of the day. If you managed to do everything you planned to, reward yourself. If not, think of why and work on doing better the next day.
One Thing at a Time
Many people think that being great at doing multiple things at once gives them an edge over the competition but the truth is multitasking is messing with your productivity, straining your brain and may lower your EQ.
A study by Stanford University proved that those who attempted to multitask often were worse at it. The more they multitasked, the worse they performed at processing and remembering information. They also performed slower overall than the non-multitaskers – in part because they were so distracted – and produced low quality work.
So, try doing one thing at a time moving forward. If this bores you, consider batch processing (grouping similar tasks and doing them at the same time) or cluster taking, which is processing batches of work in groups throughout the day for example answering emails in the morning, early afternoon and late evening.
Have a Motivating Working Space
Having a place that you associate with work can be helpful because getting in that area keeps your head in the game.
You don’t need to have your own office. A corner of the room can do as long as you set it up in a way that is comfortable and will motivate you to work.
If you need to make the most of your time and keep your creative juices flowing without the distraction of home, you can consider a co-working space like Lattice Community where ambitious people like you come to smash their goals.
Determine what’s important and shut yourself off from everything else.
You can achieve this by creating your office hours and maintaining a consistent schedule will help you and establish a routine that makes it easier to stay focused. Take care of chores, social calls and other necessities of life beforehand so that you don’t have to worry about doing them when you are busy.
You might also want to invest in tools to eliminate distraction and keep you focused like noise-cancelling headphones, a work calendar and a dry erase board.
Turn off social media notifications and keep your phone on Do Not Disturb unless for whitelisted calls.
Most importantly, let others know you are busy. Most people think freelancers have a lot of time on their hands since they don’t work 8-5, so they may interrupt you or ask for favours which may rob you of the time and concentration you need to get things done.
When you check n great deal on your To-Do list, reward yourself by taking a well-deserved short break to recharge and catch up with your social media without feeling any guilt.
Breaks can replenish the psychological costs associated with working hard, improve work performance, and boost energy. They also replenish mental resources such as attention, ensuring good performance.
As such, the 15 or so minutes should not just be about physical disengagement but also psychological detachment from work. Play a game, step outside or watch an interesting clip that has nothing to do with your work.
Learn To Say ‘No’
Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you are free to do anything and everything.
Be strategic about the things you take on because not all jobs (or clients) are great opportunities. You have a finite amount of time, so you need to prioritize jobs that are most lucrative, enjoyable and play to your strength. You will have all the motivation you need to do these jobs.
And when you receive multiple jobs that tick all the boxes, turn some down nonetheless for the sake of your sanity and reputation.
Remember, juggling two balls is everyone’s cup of tea but adding a third and a fourth could make you drop them all.
While the world glamourizes doing everything yourself, you might want to outsource some of your work or distribute your workflow.
If you are a marketer, for example, find an assistant to handle business development and maybe onboard a graphic designer to do creative work as you write content. Besides getting the capacity to do more, having other people work with you teaches you stuff you didn’t know and gives you fresh ideas.
Outsourcing also improves your quality of life as it gives you time to do other things. You also get more work and more income since clients trust you to get stuff done in less time.
Learn From Other Freelancers
To stay on top of trends and increase your productivity, you need to exchange experience with your colleagues from time to time.
You could join Facebook or LinkedIn groups for freelancers, attend events and join a collaborative community like Lattice Community.
Sharing experience and gaining new knowledge is a contribution to your professional success.
Have a productive day, won’t you!