One of the biggest problems you will face as a freelancer is getting work done. Dealing with procrastination takes some discipline and you have to, most likely, make some changes in how you do things. We all know how easy it is to be distracted by Twitter, Facebook and anything else that happens around us.
Working at home is great but it is also much more difficult than what many think. There are usually more things to be done than in the office. Being your own boss is not as easy as you may think and I can tell you some things that helped me to deal with procrastination. Hopefully, this will help you to become more effective. Remember that when you are organized and you do get work done in a timely manner your business will keep growing, which is exactly what you want as a freelancer.
Close Social Media Tabs And Mute Your Phone
Every freelancer eventually makes a schedule but procrastination appears because of the numerous distractions that appear. After talking to many, the common problem that popped up was social media. We all have Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, Instagram profiles and so on. Keeping tabs open is an invitation to be distracted. You are tempted to check your news feed and notifications on your phone.
Just turn your phone off, mute it and close social media tabs for the hours you are scheduled to do work.
Start With The Hardest Task
Some things will be really simple for you while others will be quite complicated. If all is around the same difficulty for you, it is a certainty there are some tasks you will enjoy doing more than others. The idea is to start with those you do not like or those that are really hard. That is because you are much more efficient when you start your work day than when you are close to it ending. Also, when you finish a project with the tasks you love, you will feel better about everything.
Write A To-Do List And Prioritize It
A To-Do list is incredibly valuable for an organized and effective freelancer. Many tasks have to be done every single day and we naturally want to get them all done. If you write down every single task that you have to do tomorrow there is a pretty good possibility it will be quite long. The problem is that if you do not prioritize the tasks, the list will still be full at the end of the day.
What is more important to be done from your to-do list? For a writer that just got a new contract the most important task might be research. For a graphic designer that has to create a logo it might be reading a description of the company to understand what branding should be respected. If you are in the middle of a programming project you might need to work on a specific code first since it is more important.
Figure out what is really important, prioritize your list and start with the tough or important tasks first!
Further Reading: 5 Ways To Make Your To-Do List More Effective
Try To Find Music That Helps
I am a little bit weird. I do not listen to music while I work because I normally have my screen split in two. In one half of the screen I have a movie or an esports VOD running. In the other half I work. As I am writing this text I am watching a League Of Legends match between Team Liquid and Team Immortals. This will not work for most people though since I only need some noise to work as I hate it when it is really quiet. For most people the screen is better to be covered by the work that is done and the background should be music.
Listening to music while doing freelance work is a double edged sword. If you find yourself singing, dancing and being more attentive to the song than the work, it is a problem. However, there is always some music that will help you to focus. You can try soft jazz, low beats per minute house music without voice, classical music or even meditation music.
One thing you may not know is that there are studies that proved meditation music helps with concentration. What do you want as a freelancer? To be focused on your work while you do it! Try something like this or experiment and see what helps you to be more focused.
You might think that this is counter-intuitive. Taking a break when you feel that you need it is so much more effective than what you may think. Continuously working will get you tired without even realizing it. I recommend that you have a break of 10-15 minutes every 2 hours of work. If the project is particularly difficult, an hourly break, just as in school, may be in order. Use that break to move around. Do some yoga, walk around the house, make a coffee, grab a sandwich, check your Facebook feed, look at fail clips on YouTube or do whatever relaxes you.
If you read my article about balancing life and business, you surely already found some of the tips above. This is because procrastination and balancing your life are topics that are much more similar than many think. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult parts of everything is accepting that you have a problem. I noticed that when I compared how much I was getting done in one day around 3 years ago and how much I do at the moment.
Eventually, you will have to deal with procrastination. The tips above do help. Try them and if you have other tips, let me know in the comments below. Others will love to read what worked for you. Maybe it will work for them too.