When you’re a freelancer working from home, from the nice little coffee shop at the corner, or from the shared workspace downtown, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing so many things except work. Establishing a working day when you have no boss around and no office dress code to follow is harder than it looks. Here are five ways you can remain productive and achieve goals without looking like a zombie with no social life.
Set a daily schedule
You can work anytime you want, but you must create a schedule that works for you and stick to it! Otherwise, you will find yourself working until the wee hours of the morning just to meet your deadlines. Set an alarm in the morning when it’s time to get out of bed. Go out for your morning jog or do a few minutes of exercise. Grab some breakfast or have your morning cup of coffee. Take a shower, send the kids to school, tidy up the house a bit, and take out the chicken from the freezer. When all that’s done, you can officially start your work day!
Prioritize urgent tasks
As much as possible, try to finish them all before you take a break for lunch. Most freelancers feel they are the most productive in the morning and the least productive in the afternoon when they start to feel sleepy or restless. For you, it can be the other way around. Know when you are most productive and use that time to finish the critical tasks. Block certain hours of the day to speak with clients and finish pending jobs.
Take regular breaks
For every 90 minutes of work, take a 15-minute break. Stretch or walk around the house. Call a friend for a quick chat. Listen to a new album. Watch a funny video. Play with the dog, or just sit back on the sofa to rest.
Often, especially when it’s a busy and hectic day, you rush through your meals so you can get right back to work. This should not be the case.
Look forward to having lunch or dinner and just enjoy it! You can prepare and cook food in advance. You can just heat it up when it’s time to eat. You can even meet up with friends if you feel like going out. Or you can always have your favorite Chinese delivery place on speed dial when you get especially hungry.
Squeeze in as much flow activities as you can
When you work hard, you get exhausted. And no matter how hard you concentrate, nothing brilliant comes to mind. That’s the time to engage in short but effective flow activities.That’s the time to connect with friends and family so you still get to enjoy quality time with them.
Finish a chapter or two from the book you’re currently reading and share your thoughts with your mom. Take a quick jog around the block with your best friend. Swim a few laps with your buddy. Squeeze in a little yoga time with your sister. Dance it out and shake it off with your kids. Take a nap with your hubby to feel recharged.