The freelancer’s life is a tricky one. When you’re working by yourself, from home, it can be tough to find motivation and productivity. There are numerous distractions all around you, not least your comfy sofa, the TV, and a fridge full of food! It’s your job to eliminate these distractions and treat every day with your full concentration.
As a group of freelance writers at Make Money In Life, we’ve learnt plenty of tricks along the way. We know how to inspire our productivity, even when it’s down in the dumps. We know how to avoid those pesky distractions and get the writing done!
Today, we’ll share some of our top tips with you. It’s time to take charge of your time and crack the freelancing dream. If you get it right, it’s a fantastic way to make money. You work the hours that suit you best and pursue the projects and clients you truly care about. But, you’ve got to dig deep and find that self-motivation and make things happen. Here’s how.
Get up early
We asked a number of freelancers and they all came back with the same answer: get up early! If you can cram in an hour or two of work before 9 am, it will be the most productive of your day. Tackle the big projects before the emails start rolling in and the rest of the internet wakes up. Understandably, not everyone is an early bird, but try it once or twice and see if it works for you. The trick is to set your alarm for the same time every morning. Try and go to bed early and get out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off. No more snoozing!
Just do it!
When it comes to freelancing, there are two main types of activities. The first is the big project; working on a design or an article, for example. The second are all the small things associated with it. These will be small edits, writing and sending an invoice, chasing up an editor, for example. For the small things our main piece of advice is: just do it! The faster you get these small, five-minute jobs out of the way, the better. Don’t let them build up or you’ll find yourself with a mammoth list at the end of the day.
To-do lists, goals, and calendars
Freelancers don’t have a boss pushing them to meet monthly targets or giving them additional tasks. Instead, it’s up to you to push yourself. It’s your job to set new targets and reach new heights. That means you need to be relentless in your organisation. You should live by your to-do list and your calendar. Set yourself deadlines and objectives to meet. Regularly assess your progress, earnings and rates. Set new goals and reach new targets. Only you can do this!
Do the hardest thing first
Some freelancers refer to this as ‘eating the alien’. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all about getting that dreaded job out of the way. Whatever the most pressing, large job is on your to-do list, tackle it first thing in the morning. Before you look at your emails or answer the phone, get the big job out of the way. Eat the alien, and the rest of the day is easy!
As a freelancer, it’s far too easy to get distracted. You’ll find yourself down an internet rabbit hole by 10 am if you’re not careful! The best thing to do here is set yourself dedicated ‘focus time’. It should be around 45 minutes to an hour (optimal work time) with little breaks. In those breaks you can treat yourself to 5 minutes of stretches or YouTube videos! In these periods of focus time, it’s often worth turning your Wi-Fi off and blocking out distractions. Immerse yourself in the project, and you’ll find a deeper productivity.
Use templates and automated software
A huge part of being a freelancer is the admin side. You’ll need to send invoices, keep on top of money and do your tax return. Rather than use a messy Word or Excel sheet, take advantage of automated software to keep track of numbers. When it comes to invoicing, use a free printable purchase order template instead. It will keep everything simple, convenient, and consistent.
Learn when to stop
Finally, you’ve got to know when to stop working! Understand that your energy and productivity drops after a certain time. You’re better off forgetting about it and tackling it the next day instead. Take some time off, you need it!
Follow these tips and you’ll unlock some powerful creativity and productivity! Good luck!