Increase Productivity and Free Up Time

As freelancers, it’s easy to become consumed with the constant development of our businesses, production of content, and networking. However, it’s important to remember that life as a freelancer consists of many different aspects, and our priorities should reflect – to some degree – all of these categories, especially purposeful productivity.

Some categories may differ from person to person, but you should treat every single commitment as if it belongs on a calendar – even personal relationships! The result is that your life will be more balanced and you will be less prone to burnout.

However, compartmentalization, even more than “balance,” is important because the categories of our lives can become enmeshed and seem to flow together seamlessly. The reality is that aspects of our lives are separate, and we should create boundaries that respect the various functions of our daily activities.

It’s more than just fulfillment or work-life balance. Separating our priorities into categories actually aids in productivity, because this activity helps us to gauge the importance and urgency of different tasks and how to address them.

Work

Work should be broken down into sub-categories of income-producing tasks, prospecting, networking, and development.

You need to have an ongoing list of goals that is diversified. In other words simultaneously, you should be delivering quality content to both current clients and leads, making new contacts, and continuing to learn and grow as a professional.

The work category should probably be refreshed on a daily basis, or at least on a weekly basis.

Home

The second category should encompass anything ranging from household bills to doctors’ appointments to planning vacations. This category should be addressed on a weekly or monthly basis.

Having a “home” category is often tricky for freelancers who work from home and for very small businesses, because the two can become enmeshed. However, it’s important to separate family finances from business finances.

The “home” category can allow freelancers to take care of the odds and ends of life in a way that prevents emergencies that derail work. It should also be noted that, if you take time to focus on the “home” category and you find that it was neglected because you literally cannot prioritize it, you should consider hiring help!

Personal

Finally, a “personal” category can include relationships, hobbies, book-reading, personal growth, and healthy lifestyle choices like cooking well and exercising.

While we may focus intensely on “moving forward” in our business, we may forget that the rest of our life is happening simultaneously, also “moving forward” as well! More than staying on top of our bills or household management, which can all be outsourced in an impersonal manner, the “personal” category allows us to get in touch with why we want the lifestyle of a freelancer in the first place.

If we want the freedom of not having a boss or a set schedule, we need to make sure to take advantage of that freedom and cultivate healthy relationships and enjoy our lives to the fullest. Having a satisfying personal life, educating ourselves culturally, and taking care of our bodies can go a long way to promote a successful work life!

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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