The single most challenging aspect of any freelance work performed from home is maintaining a high level of productivity. This is something particularly relevant to freelance writing—without anyone checking your work on a regular basis, you might find yourself drifting off, procrastinating, or losing lots of time surfing the web.
Here are five of the best practices for maintaining a high level of productivity and managing the intricacies of working at a home-based office.
- Establish a schedule and stick to it.
Nothing will help you to keep up good work more than a daily routine. Organize your schedule according to your preferences—for instance, if you’re a morning person, prioritize your tasks with this principle in mind. Move those involving a higher amount of concentration, like creative writing, to the morning.
If you’re working for several clients, you’ll need to plan your activities to deliver your work on time. Schedule your tasks for specific days and hours by making a daily and weekly plan of all activities. Post your schedule in a visible place to easily check whether you’re on track.
- Take regular breaks.
This is something many freelance writers struggle with—especially if they’re running a large project that begs for their undivided attention. Still, breaks are essential for maintaining a high level of productivity. It’s simply in your best interest to take regular breaks. If you forget about them, you’ll end up tired, less creative, and completely lacking in motivation.
Taking breaks doesn’t mean checking social media or playing a game on your computer. It means leaving your workstation altogether—go out for a walk, have a haircut, or eat a healthy snack. One large break during your workday will help you to effectively recharge your batteries and provide tons of inspiration.
- Create an inspiring office space.
Your office space should be well-organized and provide a minimum amount of distraction. Make sure that it’s functional—you’ve got all you need for your work and nothing more. By working with unnecessary trinkets and objects around you, you’ll find your tasks becoming harder than they should be. Minimalism should be your guiding principle for office organization and decoration—don’t let your working space overwhelm you.
- Have systems for managing repetitive activities.
At some point, you’ll notice that even your creative job requires you to complete some repetitive tasks. One thing you can do about it is to create a process for managing those tasks. Such systems will make your daily work run smoother and help you focus on the things that really matter.
Choose a program to keep track of your ideas and stick to it—Evernote is a good option. Manage your accounting using prepared spreadsheets with all the parameters you set for your work. Create an efficient filing system to easily get hold of key files and documents.
- Develop a productivity trigger.
Sometimes your brain is simply not in the right place to get any work done. The single best productivity hack for solving this problem is developing a habit or action that sends a clear signal to your brain that it’s time to work. For some freelancers it’s the act of putting on a pair of noise-canceling headphones; for others it’s turning on a playlist of quiet inspiring music. Develop your own habit and you’ll see how your brain will recognize it as a productivity trigger in no time.
Staying productive and motivated while surrounded with so many distractions is a real challenge. By following a strict schedule, getting up at the same time every day, and developing a range of good habits for better work organization, you’ll significantly improve your chances when facing the big wide world of freelancing.
Kelly Smith is a writer at CourseFinder. She loves a good read and likes to share her opinions and experiences with others in her writing.
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