Working from home is one of the biggest benefits of freelance life but it can sometimes be a little distracting. Whilst it’s great having the work/life balance from very comfortable surroundings, working from home can also potentially zap your productivity, leaving you running behind your workload.
Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or adjusting to remote working, we’ve got some top tips to help you stay productive throughout the day so you can keep on top of your projects without feeling you're always behind.
1. Create a to-do list
Before you start each day, create a working to-do list that includes any ad hoc bits or meetings you might have. Having a plan for your day helps you stay on track and factor in any bits that aren’t work-related too.
If you’re a fan of an old-fashioned pen and paper, a simple paper planner by your laptop will help prompt you to write that list for the day. Seasoned freelancers will know the many benefits of planning your working week - or even month, to help stay on top of projects and important deadlines.
If pen and pads aren’t your thing and you work better with technology, try downloading a to-do list app on your phone or try one of the many to-do list software sites that are available.
2. Set a timer
When it's time to get down to the nitty gritty, do you find your attention span drifting? One of the main issues with being productive at home is distractions so why not try setting a timer. Depending on how you work personally, setting a timer for 20 or 40 mins and shutting away from any distraction including your phone can really help with productivity.
Try setting a timer for 20 mins first and dedicate your attention just to your work with no distraction. Once the 20 mins is up, you can check social media, emails or whatever else distracts you from your workflow.
Doing this throughout the day can really help get things done and you’ll feel more productive about that to-do list!
3. Set yourself achievable goals every day
As a freelancer, it can feel very tempting to take on everything that comes your way, saying yes to a range of projects and working out delivery later. This is another major influence on productivity as the busier you are, the less productive you become.
Set yourself some smaller goals each day to help manage your workload better, these can include things like ‘do a wash’ or ‘hoover’ too as it’s often easy to be distracted by other chores around the house.
Being a freelancer, you’ll probably have admin tasks to do too which can feel like ‘wasting time’ but they’re just as important as fee-paying work. Add them to your to-do list as you’re more likely to get them done and feel productive about them, not like you’re wasting time.
Setting goals in your to-do list is also incredibly satisfying as you tick off each task and create a more manageable working day.
4. Take regular breaks
This is a really important tip for all remote workers at home - take regular breaks! That means stepping away from the laptop and giving yourself 5 minutes away from the screen. Whether that means regular tea making or even going for a walk at lunch, taking yourself physically away from the laptop for more than 5 minutes will help with focus and concentration.
Why not create a routine that involves getting outside or going to the gym at lunchtime, making the most of remote working whilst being productive with your day.
5. Create a dedicated space to work
Another key part of being productive is having a dedicated work space. Whether that’s the kitchen table or a desk in the bedroom, creating a home office is a great way to feel in the zone and concentrate on your workload.
Having a dedicated space for work will physically help you feel more productive as it creates a divide between normal home life and when you’re working. This is particularly good for freelancers who don’t work within the normal ‘9-5’ hours as it can feel harder to be productive when you’re working different hours.
6. Consider how you communicate
Do you spend half your day on calls or zoom meetings, taking up time to get down to the nitty gritty? Are you chasing email chains and spending too much time responding when you should be working?
As a freelancer, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of communicating straight away with clients throughout the day, spending too much time on admin and interrupting your workflow. It’s easy to feel unproductive when you’ve got several meetings throughout the day so take charge of your diary and minimise agreeing to meetings if they can be handled by an email.
Have a rule where you check emails sporadically through the day, not all the time, to help keep distractions down. If you’re a freelancer looking for more work, dedicate time to your emails in the morning and again in the afternoon so you won’t miss anything. If you’re working on a project that involves extra lines of chat, try muting notifications on your desktop so you’re not tempted to spend all day responding.
With many more of us working remotely now more than ever, staying productive has become a key focus in our daily lives. Using freelance management software like YunoJuno helps keep on top of that pesky admin and saves time with timesheets and invoice tracking too.
Why not sign up today and browse the latest briefs for you.