Tips How to Improve Your Productivity as a Freelancer in 10 Easy Steps


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Working from the comfort of home can be a constant battle between the need to earn a living and the temptation to procrastinate. In fact, this is one of the reasons why some people would never consider leaving full-time employment. They’re simply not confident enough in their self-discipline. However, whether you’re a freelance writer, web designer, animator or anything else, success will only come with perseverance and discipline. Follow these 10 steps to get started on the right track:

#1. Form a Schedule

The freedom to work whenever and wherever you want is one of the main reasons people become freelancers in the first place. However, the popular image of a care-free person working only when they’re in the mood to work is very misleading. Although flexibility is undoubtedly a major boon of this line of work, having an organized schedule is crucial. By creating a timetable and sticking to it as closely as possible, you’ll be in a better position to meet deadlines and seek out new clients.

#2. Set Activity Goals

Financial returns are often inconsistent when you’re self-employed. Some months can be great, while others might be downright terrible. To maximize your productivity and maintain motivation, it’s wise to concentrate on activity goals rather than financial ones. For example, you might want to dedicate a certain amount of time every week to actively seeking out new clients. Such activities might not bring results immediately, but it’s always good to base your schedule around a set of goals.

#3. Prioritize Ergonomics

With a plan in place and a set of goals to work towards, your next step should be to get your workspace in order. Ergonomics is essential for your comfort and safety which, in turn, help boost your productivity. Being a work-at-home freelancer doesn’t mean slouching on the settee with a laptop, so it’s important to shed any such habits before you even get started. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit of money on a high-quality office chair with good lumbar support, combined with a suitable desk.

#4. Get a Bigger Monitor

As an online freelancer, technology is your ultimate tool, and you’ll likely be spending most your working time in front of your computer. While everyone knows that slow and unreliable computers wreck devastation on one’s productivity, it’s perhaps the monitor that has the single biggest influence of all. A large monitor with a high resolution gives you vastly more virtual workspace than anything a laptop computer can offer, thus there will be less flipping between programs during work.

#5. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions, often of the digital variety, are perhaps the single biggest enemy to productivity. It’s for precisely that reason that social networks like Facebook are banned in many workplaces. As a freelancer, you’ll need to establish your own rules as well. Other distractions, such as children or pets, can also become a major drain on your productivity, so it is important to keep your workplace as separate as possible from your everyday life.

#6. Brainstorm Frequently

Once you’ve got your workplace in order, it’s time to start seeking out new ideas. Brainstorming is the foundation of any freelance career. By coming up with ideas, brainstorming will also give you something to fall back on during those times when you find yourself lacking inspiration. Whether it’s something as straightforward as writing a blog post or building an entire website to market your skills, most great ideas start off as nothing more than a list of brainstorming notes.

#7. Avoid Multitasking

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not help your productivity. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect, since it decreases your ability to concentrate on specific tasks and prioritize them as necessary. To maximize the quality of your work and minimize distractions in the process, you should get into the habit of focusing on one task at a time. The result will be that you get the job done quicker and to a much higher standard.

#8. Automate Everyday Tasks

Thanks to modern technology, some tasks are perfect candidates for automation, posting content on social media website for marketing purposes being a prime example. Other routines you can automate include data synchronization and backup. You can also save a lot of time by creating templates for different types of documents you use regularly, such as business emails, invoices or quotes. As a rule, if a task can be automated without compromising quality, then it certainly should be.

#9. Match Tasks to Rewards

Although, as we’ve mentioned earlier how it’s more productive to focus on activity goals rather than financial ones, that shouldn’t stop you from matching tasks to rewards. In other words, you can match a monetary value to each type of task, such as writing a blog post or drawing up an infographic. Another approach is to determine a realistic figure for what you hope to earn every year, divide that up into weeks or days and then determine how much you need to do to reach that value.

#10. Take a Break

Finding a happy compromise between work and play is the key to success in any self-employed lifestyle. However, many freelancers don’t find the right compromise, instead either working far too much (often because of poor planning) or not working nearly enough (often because of distractions). Overworking can also severely compromise the quality of your work and be detrimental to your wellbeing, so it is very important to incorporate short, regular breaks into your routine.

Final Words

As a freelancer, you’ll regularly find yourself obligated to perform tasks that don’t offer any direct financial reward, such as building your website or promoting yourself to potential clients. It’s often not easy to motivate yourself to carry out such tasks but, without a motivated attitude, your productivity will suffer enormously. For the most part, improving your productivity is about changing your habits while striving to eliminated any bad ones you’ve developed along the way. With a combination of willpower, and a little help from technology, you’ll have everything you need to supercharge your freelance career.


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number 4 is coming soon :computer:

It makes so much difference, especially when you have to also work with publishing platforms like WordPress. I recently upgraded to a 3440x1440 ultrawide monitor and, although it cost a fortune, it is vastly better to work with. Much less alt-tabbing between windows means more work done in less time after all! :D


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I am trying to find a way to work as a freelancer and study, but I suck at it for now. Since I passed last year, I gained some experience freelancing, but now that I am in college again, I just can't make to work as a freelancer. Any advice?


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I've been having considerable success with Upwork in the last few months. It's a frustrating process though, especially when you're building up ratings, and you have to spend a lot of time filtering through the rubbish to find clients who are willing to pay a respectable rate. Nonetheless, I would say it's worth it in the longer term.


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Yes, actually doing the job became an easier part, now it takes more time to find one then to finish it!


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There are a couple of good tips in that list, for sure. I completely agree with trying to avoid distractions as much as possible. When you decide to work, work and keep everything else out, most importantly social media. You will have plenty of time to catch up once you finish your projects.


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This is a great list. I'd add as an addendum to number four, experimenting with a dual monitor set up. It's not for everyone, but I find it extraordinarily helpful for editing tasks / gigs. Also, it's helpful for spreadsheet work.


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The big monitor is a good idea. I always see TV monitors the size of garage doors when I go over to people_'s houses but they complain of eyestrain. Behind them is a tiny phone and netbook whose footprint is negligible. When you can't read what your grand kids are texting you bcoz your computer screen was smaller than a breadbox, how will you feel then?
That said,
I always devoted mornings to skimming forums and making deal emails. Then the heavy lifting of the day could begin once I'd given my brain a rest from the candle- burning the night before.


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Being in the freelancing world, how do you manage to keep everything organized and effective within just 24 hours. What others do not understand with freelancing is it consumes your time even more than being in an office. Our work just doesnt end when we finish our shift.


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Being productive is sometimes hard. For me specially, when I am working with audio, finding the time, preparing my software, and switcing between windows, so yes, a big screen helps, so I can fix two windows to see both same time.
Great post.