As the year comes to an end and we look forward to the next, being more productive with time is something that many people have on the top of their resolution list. Here are some of the tips we have found to be helpful for us.
1. Structure your space for success
An import part of being a freelancer is that you have the ability to control where you work. While you will no longer be interrupted by colleagues wanting to chat about “last night’s game”, there are plenty of other distractions especially if you’re working from home. Keeping what distracts you, like the TV or the fridge (my choice distraction), away from your workspace prevents you from having to expand your limited willpower on staying focused. If you are the kind of person who needs some background noise or people around you, you can also consider taking some time to work from a coffee shop or co-working space.
2. Create separation between work life and home life
Some successful freelancers swear by having a space dedicated to work, whether it’s a home office or just a corner of the house setup for your work. That way, mentally you can segment that when you’re in the workspace, you work and when you’re not, you don’t. People in your household will also have a signal on whether you’re currently working or not.
3. Structure your time for success
Not all hours of the workday yield equal results; some might be better suited to some tasks than others. Schedule creative work around the times that work best for you and push reactive tasks like responding to emails to a different time of day. For some, this could be first thing in the morning while for others it could be deep into the night. If you’re doing deep work, be sure to work in a focused block of time instead of being constantly interrupted by push notifications and other distractions.
4. Relentlessly prioritize
When you look at your task list, it is often helpful to see if there are any tasks that would give you leverage on the rest of your tasks. This leverage could be in the form of eliminating other tasks totally, making the rest easier or just buying you more time to complete them. By prioritizing these tasks first, you are often getting more mileage from your efforts, ultimately helping you manage your load.
5. Try the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that uses a kitchen timer to break down your work into intervals. Typically, each interval, also called a Pomodoro (Italian for tomato), into 25-minute chunks, each separated by a 5-minute break. The idea is to take those 25 minutes to intensely focus on your task, and then taking a short break and switch tasks if needed. After four such intervals, take a longer break. Several high-functioning freelancers swear by this technique as it gives them a space to channel their distraction. There are several tools like TomatoTimer that make it super simple to try it out to see if it works for you as well.
Find these tips helpful? Keep a lookout for more of such articles in the future!