Freelancing is becoming more and more popular among millennials and it is a type of work requires you to increase your productivity. But, due to the nature of remote working, which usually consists of working from home or while traveling, freelancers are prone to putting off their work and procrastinating than those full-time contractors.
This, as a result, decreases their productivity and their quality of work, their timeliness, and consequently, their earning. With all the tools available online, we can get rid of our procrastination habit and start taking our freelance jobs seriously.
Here, we are going to introduce 7 ways to you to stop wasting your time and start increasing your productivity.
1. Don’t let your autopilot mind command your activity
Our minds tend to work in a routine way, the more we use a brain pathway (which means, the more we repeat a behavior) the more we get hooked on that pathway and that pathway becomes stronger in time as a result. This is one of the processes behind creating a habit and these habits could either push us forward toward our desired goals or hinder us on the way to them.
One of these epidemic habits among millennials (and onward) is social networking and checking smartphones every few minutes.
This habit has a great impact on personal as well as social behavior of the people having it, like their level of productivity in their jobs.
To avoid that, start by limiting your social media activity and if it’s really hard for you to do right off, set a minor limit in the beginning and increase it as the time goes by. If, for instance, you don’t know how much time you spend on social media, first become aware of the time you spend and then put a 10 minute limit on that on day one and log in to social media in 10-minute intervals. Expand the limit to 8 minutes on the next day and so on.
If you think you are not that disciplined to do it yourself, try to use one of the apps that help you with this. A couple of apps that you could use on your phone to free yourself from your addiction to social media are “Moment” and “Quality time”.
2. Stop procrastinating by setting goals and deadlines
Procrastination is not exclusive to millennials, but it’s a habit widespread among them due to their tech-driven lifestyles. The reasons behind procrastination vary from fear of failure to wanting to do the job perfectly, which leads people to not start doing what they are supposed to do, to begin with.
We can avoid procrastination by writing about the reasons behind why we don’t want to start a task and try to see the root cause behind this putting off. Moreover, we could write down the goals and incentives that motivate us to follow through and remind ourselves repeatedly about why they matter to us.
Also, setting deadlines to finish a job at a certain point in time and trying to deliver on time is another step in increasing productivity by eliminating procrastination.
3. Create a timetable for every task from beginning to the end
It’s crucial to have goals and motivation to do a job, but without a detailed timetable and dividing your jobs into minor tasks, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to deliver them completely and satisfyingly. With that in mind, we can use as simple as a notepad and a pen and break down our job into a daily schedule, or we can use our phone calendar (or online calendar’s like Google Calendar,…) and write down the tasks needed to be done in order to complete a job.
This writing down of tasks and checking them one by one at the point of completion gives us a perspective of how much work we have done and how much is left. It also motivates us to continue until the end and organizes our plan in a visible manner, so that we don’t need to keep so many things in our memory and we can refer to our daily planner or calendar to see the status quo.
4. Practice focus
In this distracting world where every ad, every medium, and every person is trying to hunt our attention, becoming an attention deficit is not so outrageous. We need to find a way to get passed this if we want to keep our productivity and performance level high. There are some methods to strengthen our attention and keep ourselves focused. First, by avoiding multitasking and paying attention to only one task at a time, you train your brain to focus more intensely on one thing and not jump between different topics while thinking. Second, by practicing meditation and mindfulness one learns to avoid mental chatter and silence the distracted mind which subsequently leads to an increase in focus and attention and higher productivity.
5. Find your productive hours
While some people can practically work anytime they start, some people need to work at certain times, and even in a certain place, with little or no distractions. If you are among the second group, start by noticing when during the work hours you are most productive and when this productivity starts to decline.
As a freelancer, you have the privilege of working at any time you want, so in order to not spend excessive energy on the jobs you do, do them on the times you feel most productive. If you are a morning person, for example, start early and use most of the morning time on the jobs you are doing.
6. Get in shape
While a good diet, enough sleep, and exercise help you sustain your health, it also gives you the benefit of better mental power and a higher chance of being more productive in your job. Having a poor diet doesn’t provide you with enough energy to be as productive as you could.
If you are a sedentary person and work with your computer most of the day, and as a freelancer who works from home and don’t even have to commute to work, try to refresh your eyes and your mind by moving away from the computer every once in a while and come back after a few minutes.
Eat a good amount of nutritional food and drink plenty of water. As well as, and more importantly, doing regular exercise. It’s vital for productivity to keep your health and balance in life.
7. Use project management tools to follow through
When you are freelancing, there might be some milestones as well as some minor steps that in order to achieve the final goal, you need to realize. It might create an overload in your mind to try to memorize them. Instead, by planning ahead in one of the online project management tools, you can keep your mind free of these complexities and at the same time, keep you plan clean and clear for both the freelancer and the employer part in one place. So that both of you have access to see how the job is progressing. There are a number of applications/websites that help you in managing your projects. Apps like Trello, which has a very decent free version, Freedcamp, Monday and many more.
There are many reasons for being unproductive at work. Finding the root cause of unproductivity is the first step toward solving it. We pinpointed the main causes that afflict most people to lose their productivity. But look and ask for yourself about it. If you find your reasons to be in line with one of the reasons we have put forward in this article, use the solutions we have offered and make your freelancing experience as efficient as possible.