The thing about freelancing is that although it’s quite convenient, it also requires self-discipline. The most successful freelancers are the ones who stick to some sort of schedule, allowing for it to vary slightly based on the given project. If you’re a freelancer who’s found yourself daydreaming your work day away, you can regain your focus in several different ways.
Your workspace is really where structure starts. After all, if you’re working on a laptop while sitting on a nice, comfy couch in front of a television, you probably won’t be as productive as you would be if you were sitting at a desk in front of a PC.
Converting a room into a home office, or even just setting aside a place in the home that’s purely dedicated to working, can make quite a difference when it comes to maintaining focus. A desk with enough room for a keyboard, mouse, laptop/PC, and a printer/scanner combination will suffice, along with a moderately ergonomic chair.
Noise or not?
Interestingly enough, there are some freelancers who need to be able to listen to music or have background noise while working – for them, quietness is actually a distraction. These are the freelancers who might seek out cafes, or at least have their earphones plugged in wherever they might be – could this be you, too?
If having a soundtrack to your freelancing life is your thing, it’s best to stick with music that you’re familiar with and have worked well to. Downloading the latest album from a favorite artist and listening to it for the first time while working on a project will most likely not result in a very productive day.
Conversely, there are freelancers who need quiet in order to focus on their work – perhaps this is what’s more your style. It’s possible you might prefer working in your home office (door shut), or perhaps in libraries. Even the slightest noise might be enough to cause distraction – in which case, nighttime hours might be a more productive option, or earplugs, or even noise cancelling headphones.
On and off the clock…
The presence of actual clock, be it digital or analog, can do wonders for keeping focused. For example, if there’s a lot of work to be done, and you only has so much time in one day to complete it, staying on-task and checking a clock every so often provides just the sort of discipline needed for productivity. Building in breaks for so many minutes after 1-2 dedicated hours of work can also help prevent burnout.
A motivational mindset..
Consider, for a moment, what it is that made you want to freelance in the first place. Was it so that you could spend more time with loved ones? Was it to earn a bit of extra money in addition to a salaried job?
There are definitely a myriad of reasons for choosing this profession, whether in full or part-time capacities. Your motivations should, ideally, be enough to keep you motivated, focused, and productive – the threads, if you will, that weave the tapestry of success.
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