6 Productivity Tips For Freelancers

Mastering the Art of Working From Home

For many, working from home is like living the dream. Those of us living this “dream life” understand, when a deadline is approaching, being cubicle free can quickly turn from a dream to a nightmare. These are five productivity tips for freelancers to help you master the art of working from home. 

1. List it or Lose It

Nobody likes doing laundry. That is…of course…until you have an approaching deadline and suddenly…..ironing shirts sounds as delicious as Thanksgiving dinner on a juice cleanse. However productive you may feel after washing those clothes previously piled in the corner for months, don’t. Completing these tasks, however productive, is still procrastination.

To avoid the procrasti-cleaning loop, start your day by making a list of the things you ABSOLUTELY need to accomplish. Then, make a secondary list of things you would like to accomplish but are not as important or time sensitive. Put the second list away in a drawer, preferably next to your phone (outta sight, outta mind) and don’t open that drawer until you’ve completed EVERYTHING on the first list.

2. Get Out Of Bed

I love to swim, but you won’t catch me perfecting my backstroke in the bathtub. I also love to sleep, but I do not make a habit of power napping there either.  Point is, some places are better to work in than others, and your bed is not the ideal workplace. Not only is it de-motivating, but it can also negatively impact your sleep.

Picture this, it’s the end of a very long, dragging on, no good kind of day…and you’re exhausted. The eyes half closed, yawn mid-sentence, cannot be bothered to brush your teeth kind of exhausted. However, as soon as your head hits the pillow, work thoughts race in faster than Rubens Barrichello in a Ferrari. If this sad scenario plays a recurring role in your life, you’ve probably made a habit of bringing work into the bedroom. 

The human brain recognizes patterns. Whether the outcome is positive or negative, if you do something often enough, a pattern develops. Regularly working on or in your bed reprograms your brain to associate your bed with work. This fact extends to conversation. Try not to ponder over, talk about or partake in any work on or near your bed. If you consistently keep your work away from your bed, your thoughts will be a bit more cooperative. 

3. Pick Your Place

Where you work affects how you work. Numerous studies have been conducted and concluded that the physical office environment can have a significant effect on the behavior, perceptions, and productivity of employees. As a freelancer, you are your own boss. Therefore, you alone are responsible for constructing a work environment that promotes productivity. Delegate a certain space in your place that is meant for work. Not the kitchen sink, not the couch where you watch tv, but somewhere clean and organized with minimal distractions. Then add a few touches that make it special to you. Commit to working there regularly and soon it will be reeking of productivity.

4. Unplug To Plugin

Whether it be family, friends or Instagram models, there are a plethora of people in your life lusting after your attention. Technology allows us to stay connected 24/7. This seems especially true when the clock is ticking on that project due.

That’s why it’s important to go radio silent. Switch your phone to airplane mode and put it somewhere out of sight (the farther, the better). This allows you to focus your mind on the task at hand instead of bouncing it back and forth from your work to your text messages, which interferes with the creative process. Besides, you can give much better advice to your friends once you’ve finished what you need to.

5. Work It Out

Some days, the motivation just isn’t there. Unfortunately, more often than not, the days that you want to do the least are the ones that you have to do the most. It’s difficult to feel motivated when your exhausted, and fatigue is the nemesis of productivity.  If you find yourself staring at your screen with dead eyes, get your ass up and go to the gym…or yoga studio, or outside for a run. Studies have shown that a short medium to high-intensity workout acts directly on the central nervous system to increase energy, reduce fatigue and feed your brain some much-needed endorphins. You can then use that momentum towards knocking out the task at hand.

6. Move To Groove

So you’ve written the lists, hide your phone, hit the gym, put down the detergent, and you still cannot drown out the sound of the new Madonna album your neighbor has been, oh so politely, playing on repeat…as loud as possible…allllllll day.

If all else fails, leave your place and move to a space that facilitates productivity. In recent years numerous people have actualized the dream of working remotely, and businesses around the world have caught on. There is a selection of coworking spaces, coffee shops and restaurants happy to fuel your working fire. Museums, parks, and libraries are other lovely alternatives.

Good luck out there Freelancers. You. Can. Do It!

Written by: Megan Mari