As a freelancer, your income depends on how much you work. This is especially true in the beginning when you’re just starting out and haven’t yet found ways to scale your business.
As a result, it’s important that freelancers find ways to be more productive so they can get more work down. I’ve tried many productivity hacks in my day in an effort to find the one that works best for me. Here’s a list of some of the ones I’ve tried so you can take a stab at them yourself.
One of my favorite productivity hacks as a freelancer is batching. Essentially, what you do is conduct similar tasks at the same time.
For example, I’ll have two days on my calendar just for meetings. Those are the only days when I’m taking meetings. I’ll also have a day blocked out just to work on my own brand.
The idea is that once you get rolling on a task, it’s much easier to maintain the momentum by doing similar tasks. That way you aren’t jumping around and losing your focus.
I’ve learned that I work well under pressure. If I’ve got a day where I need to get something done before a meeting I can really crank out some work. For example, just recently I got a ton of work done at a hotel while I was waiting for it to be time to head to the airport. Something about being timed helps me focus.
That’s why I really enjoy the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is that you set a timer, work for 25 minutes and then take a break for five minutes. You can take it a step further by beginning to track how many Pomodoros it takes you to complete a certain task. With time, you can have a better understanding of how long things take and then plan your work accordingly.
By the way, if you’re wondering why this technique is named after a tomato it’s because the kitchen timer you use is shaped like a tomato. You don’t need to buy a kitchen timer, though, there are apps available for phones and computers.
Tackle the biggest thing first.
In the beginning of my career, I used to check my email and social media first thing in the morning. In fact, I’d have my email open all day long. This led to not really getting much done because I was always distracted by whatever task came into my inbox.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that email can wait and that I don’t have to be a salve to administrative tasks. It’s been the single biggest factor in increasing my productivity and creativity. I basically tackle my work for the day first. Then I worry about everything else.
There are several more productivity hacks out there including Big Rocks Method, energy management and developing a routine. Just Google “productivity hacks for freelancers” and a slew of articles will pop up.
My best advice? Try them all out and see what works best for you. We as creatives all work in different ways.