When you start working for yourself you can start to feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing your productivity throughout the day. It feels like you’ve got so much to do you don’t know where to even begin. That’s why we’ve come up with 11 productivity hacks every contractor and freelancer should know.
1. Automate your social media
It’s important you keep your social media accounts up-to-date, otherwise your accounts will become stale and you’ll never build your social audience. Having a presence on social media as a contractor or freelancer can help you increase the exposure of your work, potentially attracting new clients, so it’s important you don’t let it slip.
2. Build a daily routine
Routine is important, particularly when you’re working from home. Try and set out your core hours from Monday to Friday and stick to them. Downing tools at 5.30pm or whatever is normal for you is important to be able to maintain that work/life balance. Try sectioning off parts of the day into morning and afternoon and pencilling in tasks you feel are more difficult and require more brain power in the morning (if that’s when you’re more productive, of course.)
3. Keep a notepad
Think back to when you were in full-time employment, did you keep a to-do list on a notepad? If you did and it worked for you then, why would you stop doing that now? Keeping a simple daily to-do list can help you keep on track with client work. Jotting down when you start each task and when you finish can also ensure you’re not spending too much time on a particular project.
4. Take breaks
How can you take breaks – you have so much work to do! A study conducted by Science Daily has proven that if a break once an hour, simply to divert your attention elsewhere, can boost productivity in your work day. Even walking downstairs to get yourself a glass of water or popping out to post a letter could help you keep on track throughout the day.
5. Reward yourself
We’ve spoken about breaks but maybe there’s something you could look forward to in those breaks or perhaps at the end of the day that can help boost your productivity. Maybe you could treat yourself to a cold beer on a Friday evening, or a takeout on a Wednesday, or maybe you’re going to treat yourself to a bought lunch on a Wednesday instead of a homemade one? Whatever your treat, it can really help motivate you to finish your work.
6. Block out all other tasks
It can be so tempting to quickly check your emails as you see them pop up, but sometimes the project you’re working on requires minimal distractions. With emails now easily accessible on our mobile phones, you need to learn how to tune them out. Allowing yourself a quick peek at your inbox every hour or so can help you keep focused on your project.
7. Use tools to help inspire creativity
There are many free tools out there to help inspire ideas. So, if you’re stuck on a project where you’ve hit a bit of a brick wall, type some keyword phrases into tools including Answer The Public or Buzzsumo to see what other people are talking about around your project topic.
8. Just start
It sounds so simple, but a lot of the time the thought of actually starting something can be worse the longer you leave it unfinished. Just sit down at your laptop or your computer and just start. You know once you’re in the project you’ll be consumed and you’ll really enjoy it!
9. Inject personality into your workspace
Buying a few desk plants, or getting yourself a colourful lamp or some creative pictures, can really liven up your workspace. If you’re sat in a featureless room it’s no wonder you’re lacking in productivity!
10. Have your lunch away from your desk
Firstly, your eyes need a break from staring at the screen but most importantly, getting out of your work setting can help you feel more relaxed and refreshed when you come back from your lunch.
If you can’t think straight and feel as though you’re going round in circles, take an exercise break. Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, which can help heighten alertness and will help you tackle that project you were stuck on before.
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