Remaining productive can be an uphill climb when you’re a self-employed, freelance, or remote worker.
You’re often setting your own deadlines, making it challenging to establish a sense of urgency in accomplishing tasks.
You’re also bound to face countless distractions that workers in a typical office setting don’t experience.
Fortunately, there are tips and tricks to help you work more productively and support your efforts to find success as a self-employed individual—starting with the four productivity-boosting hacks below.
1. Schedule your work hours
While being self-employed allows you a lot of flexibility, following strict work hours is crucial. Doing so helps you avoid procrastinating, piling up your workload, and missing deadlines.
Stick to a consistent schedule instead of starting and finishing your work at random hours every day.
You’ll focus on your tasks more and avoid doing other activities that can delay your work and keep you from being productive.
Use handy task management software such as monday.com to organize, prioritize, and manage your daily tasks and projects seamlessly.
Image source: monday.com
You’ll have the essential tools to easily manage your workload across multiple projects and teams, boost your productivity, and stay on schedule and on top of everything.
Additionally, setting dedicated work hours can help you keep a healthy work-life balance.
You’ll have enough time to rest, relax, and do other fulfilling activities while ensuring you get work done efficiently.
2. Use a dedicated workspace
Your work environment can significantly impact your productivity, especially when you work remotely from your home.
After all, spaces not intended for work can easily distract you and even tempt you to take a quick nap, eating into your productive hours.
If you can, avoid working on your bed or couch. Set up a dedicated workspace instead that can help you focus on your tasks.
You can also work in cafes (although you’ll need to choose one carefully that allows you to focus) or coworking spaces that provide the environment and facilities that meet your needs.
For instance, you’ll need a coworking space with a reliable and stable internet connection if you use tools that might require a lot of bandwidth, such as sophisticated big data analytics tools.
Having a dedicated space helps your brain associate the area with work, allowing you to hunker down, do your job, and avoid potential distractions for better productivity.
3. Block or mute distracting websites and apps
You don’t have to leave your desk or look away from your laptop to get distracted.
Instant messaging apps, emails, and social media platforms can easily drag your attention away from your tasks.
After all, disruptive social media campaigns, for instance, are meant to catch your attention.
Even if you don’t spend an hour or two simply going through emails and messages, checking them often can disrupt your work. It can constantly distract you, keep you from focusing and, in turn, impact your productivity.
One solution to minimize this kind of distraction is muting or blocking the apps or websites.
Use focus apps and website blocker platforms to manage constant notifications and prevent content from popping up and disturbing your focus.
For example, Serene for macOS provides a distraction blocker and productivity system designed around deep focus periods.
You can choose a list of apps and websites that distract you and block them when you want to focus and work.
The app also helps you plan your day by letting you list the number of tasks you want to work on and their duration.
Image source: sereneapp.com
When it’s time to start working, click the Go Serene button to start the timer.
All the distracting apps and websites you included in your list will be blocked for a specified period, and you can enable optional music to play.
You’ll get a reminder to focus, and the app displays your countdown timer if you try opening a website you shouldn’t.
Leverage a reliable focus app and block distracting websites while reminding yourself of what you want to accomplish for the day. It can help you keep your distractions in check and boost your productivity.
4. Work in bursts and take breaks
The typical human brain can only focus on a single task for so long.
One of the best approaches is to work in short bursts to help optimize your focus and productivity.
For instance, you can adopt the Pomodoro technique—a time management approach that involves working in 25-minute sessions followed by five-minute breaks.
However, to ensure the Pomodoro technique works, you’ll need to stick to these rules:
- Break down your complex projects into smaller pieces. If a task takes more than four Pomodoros (four 25-minute sessions), divide it into smaller, more actionable steps. Doing so helps ensure you make clear progress on your big, complex projects.
- Lump small tasks together. Combine smaller tasks that take less than one Pomodoro with other simple tasks to help optimize your time and productivity.
For instance, if you work with or provide services to a social media marketing agency, lump together tasks such as checking on a specific post’s engagement rate and going over reviews.
- Always complete one Pomodoro. The Pomodoro is indivisible, and you can’t break the 25 minutes down and use it to handle minor tasks such as checking messages.
You can note of any ideas, requests, and smaller tasks but come back to them later in another session.
Use tools such as Todoist, a to-do list and task management platform that helps you plan, map out, and organize your tasks and projects through customizable to-do list templates.
Image source: todoist.com
You don’t have to take a huge workload and try to handle everything in one sitting. You’ll only get overworked and burnt out, leading to lower productivity or no productivity at all.
Find a technique that works best for you, whether it’s adopting the Pomodoro technique or something else.
Just because you’re self employed, doesn’t mean you always need to do everything by yourself.
Consider outsourcing some of your tasks so you have more time doing more meaningful work.
For example, if you’re lagging behind content production and your site’s blog posts haven’t been updated for several months, consider buying articles from established content-producing companies or freelancers so you don’t have to spend a single minute writing.
By outsourcing, you can rid of the time-consuming, menial, repetitive tasks and be able to focus on other more important things.
Give your productivity a boost
While there are countless ways to supercharge your productivity, forming productive habits and choosing the best-fitting tools can be excellent places to start.
Set yourself up for success by hacking your productivity and taking your efforts to the next level to work as efficiently as possible, meet your targets, and get your expected results.