Working solo at home can occasionally bring a whole new set of problems when it comes to productivity. In an office environment, you are constantly surrounded by colleagues, noise, and of course, your boss. It is easy to be productive when people around you are too. So what to do when all you are surrounded by is walls and nobody checking in once in a while? Here are my tips on productivity for freelancers.
I always found problem being that I am the one making the deadlines, although it is great, it does comes with a big responsibility of actually executing according to the plan. That is the hard part! I have read many books on productivity, have set up various follow-up templates and used a number of online project management apps to keep me busy and on track. But, those kinda did not work too well… I kept missing deadlines and I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing. so I created my own way or looking at productivity. Simple, effective and works beautifully for me.
I find this critical to success. When I follow a routine for my work day, I get things done. Right now my routine is breakfast, exercise, snack, write one blog post before 10AM and only after that I do client work. Routine is based on “paying myself first” so to speak. I also have a routine for my client work, but it is a small one, since I currently only have two clients I work with and those take anything from 5 minutes to 90 minutes a day. Rest of the day is dedicated to business, social media and time off.
Three Tasks A Day
My particular productivity tackler system. And only that I have had any real success with. Partly because it is more than just keeping track of tasks I have done or will be doing for the day, but it looks at the bigger picture and focuses heavily on what is going well and what I learned that day.
I made an Excel sheet with my goals, deadlines, three tasks a day, gratitude and lessons learned. On the sheet at the top is space for my goals for the year and deadlines. Rest of the sheet is a list of calendar dates and space for three tasks for each day. Pretty simple yet effective. I often do way more than three tasks a day but three are a must-do tasks. I also add daily gratitudes and lesson learned for the day. Having gratitude integrated makes the day just so much better already in the morning: clear tasks for the day and what I am grateful in my life/business. This is also a great way to end the day, I can see clear results of my achievements and what I learned during the day.
I also use it as a reminder of things I need to be doing later on.
Why Excel? For me, I wanted a template where it’s super easy to move tasks from day to another. I don’t always follow the tasks I need to do for the day, at times I move a task to the following day but then I do add an extra task I did instead.
Specific Email / Call Times (and social media!)
I must admit that this one I struggle at times but do try to keep it as much as I can. Social media is a difficult part as it is also a big part of my business and marketing. I do have strict rules about calls with my clients, one being I do not give my mobile number! Yes, my client can only contact me via email or Skype (which nowadays is hardly ever even on…). Why do I have this? A couple of reasons really. One being simply becaue my mobile number changes every couple of months as I travel around the world. Sure I could get Skype number or something similar but I love that clients can not contact me while I’m off. Another reason is that nothing is that important that it can not wait till next day. Same goes with email, I never check work email from my mobile! When I’m off I am really off. It is good to check email couple of times a day (set times) or even once if you can do that. A simple thing like email time will improve your productivity by a mile!
PS: I have heard that coffee shop noises make you more productive. If you think daily latte or two is too much for your budget, head here to where you can listen to ambient coffee shop noise in the comfort of your own home (and possibly an instant cup in front of you).