Being your own boss is one of the biggest rewards of being self-employed. But with all that freedom, it is essential to have systems in place to ensure you stay productive and get all of your work done.
10 Productivity Tips for Freelancers and Self-Employed
Here you can read the 10 best tips to help keep you productive:
1. Wake Up Early
Research shows that waking up early helps boost your productivity throughout the day. Being up early means you have more time to strategize and plan out what you need to do that day. If you’re like me and are a night owl, there are many things you can do to wake up earlier.
Try going to bed an hour earlier and turning off your phone 30 minutes before bed. The blue light in our electronics stimulates our brains and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Try shifting in 15-minute intervals.
Today go to bed 15 minutes earlier and set your alarm for tomorrow for 15 minutes earlier. Repeat this each day until you reach your goal wake-up time.
2. Have a To-Do List
You should find some time to determine exactly what you need to do for the day. This can be at the beginning of each week, or you can take it one day at a time. Either way, having a to-do list helps keep you focused on the tasks at hand for the day.
If you can, try to keep daily and weekly to-do lists that you constantly update. It’s ok if you don’t always do everything you set out to do each day, but keeping a list to stay focused is important.
As a self-employed individual, your to-do list should also include personal items. One of the most challenging aspects of working for yourself is managing your time. If you’re anything like me, you may struggle some days to turn off the work and attend to other things.
I started adding the personal to-dos to my list each day, so I know I am taking a break from work and getting to my other items as a priority.
Sleep is an important factor in staying productive. Proper sleep helps rejuvenate the body and keep you energized for the next day.
Sleep Cycle is an app that tracks and analyzes your sleep, helping ensure a good night’s rest. They can track what sleep cycles you are in and then suggest corrections to your sleep schedule, so you wake up feeling refreshed.
4. Stay Neat
It would be best if you took time out of the end of your day to make sure that your workspace is clean. Eliminating clutter can help boost your focus so that you can get all your work done faster.
Having a dedicated workspace in your home or as a separate office will help you delineate between work and leisure.
When you are in your workspace, you will be more productive because there are different energy and environments. Organize your workspace to be most inspiring for how you prefer to work.
5. Stay Active
Exercise is great for your health, but it is also good for keeping you productive. It’s proven to lower stress levels which are beneficial for keeping you focused on your work.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy; just take 15 minutes out of your day to do something active. You can do many different things to stay active: enjoy a walk down the block, take a ride on your bike, or even try an at-home workout!
I love to take calls on a walk. It doesn’t interrupt your schedule, and you’re knocking something off your list while getting some exercise and fresh air!
6. Fuel Your Body with Good Food
It might sound cliche, but we are what we eat. Fueling our bodies with clean, healthy foods is essential for focus and maintaining strong energy and a positive mindset throughout your workday.
You will be able to stay productive and focused longer if you prioritize eating and eating foods that are good for you. Being your own boss means taking care of yourself. You are your company, so you need to be in tip-top shape.
7. Meditate & Relax
Stress is prevalent among freelancers and self-employed. With a busy schedule and a lot at hand, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized.
We often forget to take time for ourselves, relax, turn off, and reset. Taking a few minutes early in the morning, in the middle of the day, after a stressful situation, or in the evening to clear your mind and relax can go a long way in helping you stay productive.
8. Manage your Contacts
As a freelancer, client communication is important but can easily get disorganized. It is important to manage your contacts to ensure good communication with clients properly.
Apps like Covve are powerful business relationship management tools, using AI to help you manage your contacts to turn them into clients. Covve automatically reminds you when you should reach out to clients and when you’re losing touch.
The app also helps you store notes about clients after business calls, so you never forget important information! Need context to start a conversation with?
The news feature scans the web and notifies you of relevant information regarding your contacts so you have a topic of conversation and can bring value to every interaction.
9. The 90/20 Rule
The US Navy conducted an experiment that concluded that we are most productive if we work in 90-minute intervals. It’s really simple: work for 90 minutes on a specific task, then take a 20-minute break.
Being self-employed, it is easy to lose track of time and burn yourself out working for hours on a project. The 90/20 form of working is specifically designed to boost productivity by ensuring you’re at peak mental performance.
After 90 minutes of working on a specific task, your brain starts to lose focus and get easily distracted.
Taking a quick walk or taking a few minutes to have a healthy snack could change your mental state throughout the day, ensuring maximum productivity.
10. Keep a Detailed Calendar
Like a to-do list, an organized calendar is a good step to increasing your productivity as a freelancer. Try to highlight deadlines and important dates, so nothing ever surprises you—set meeting reminders and even color-code your calendar to identify what’s on your plate each day quickly.
Google Calendar has a distinct feature that allows you to create multiple different calendars that it can display on one screen. You can now easily separate your personal and work calendars but still, see them all on the same screen.