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How To Become A More Efficient Freelancer: Tips for Staying Focused and Productive

How To Become A More Efficient Freelancer: Tips for Staying Focused and Productive

Unbeknownst to many, freelancing is a challenging career path. It’s easy to get fooled by the flexible hours, freedom, and a seemingly endless amount of “free” time that most freelancers seem to enjoy. But unlike colleagues in the 8-5 day job that have a guaranteed check every month’s end, freelancers need a lot more than the willpower to wake up every morning and go to work.

To make ends meet as a freelancer, you must cultivate sharp focus and discipline in order to stay productive throughout the day. Freelancers are more likely to get distracted by small things, especially when working at home. Loud TVs, household chores, kids, idle friends, and a long list of other distractions can easily break concentration and keep you further from your goals.

So, how can you stay focused and productive in the face of all these challenges? Read on for tips on how to grow and establish yourself as an efficient, high-achieving freelancer.

1. Set A Work Routine & Stick To It

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    Setting a regular work schedule will help you separate work and play and become a more successful freelancer. A routine enables you to avoid burnout, sleepless nights, missed deadlines, and unproductive days when working as a freelancer. When making a routine, assign the toughest jobs to times of the day when you are most creative.

    Though work schedules and routines vary, a typical routine should look something like:

    • 5:30 am: Wake up
    • 6:00 – 7:00 am: Emails, catching up on news
    • 7:00 – 11:00 am: Work
    • 11:00 am – 2:00 pm: Gym, lunch, social media, emails
    • 2:00 – 7:00 pm: Work
    • 7:00 – 10:00 pm: Family
    • 10:30 pm: Bedtime

    Of course, this can be amended to fit individual lifestyles but, as a rule of thumb, always ensure that at least 60% of your day is committed to productivity.

    2. Manage Distractions

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      One of the major challenges of being your own boss is managing distractions, especially if you are working from home. Family, chores, TV, and the general temptation to lounge at home can keep you away from achieving your goals. Getting an affordable shared office space can be a good option to avoid such distractions, especially if it’s impossible to establish a No Distractions Zone in the house.

      Apart from the physical distractions, you can also get hooked to unproductive internet habits. We all know the pitfalls of the cat video conundrum: once you watch the first cat video, you must watch ALL cat videos. Thankfully, there are tons of software you can use to block web-based distractions, including Cold Turkey, Self Control (for Mac), and the chrome extension, Stay Focusd, which gives you time limits to certain addictive sites.

      Your phone can also be a source of distraction, especially after blocking yourself away from your computer. Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” to prevent unnecessary distractions while working.

      3. Make Time To Work Out

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        Your work schedule should make time for some form of physical activity. Prolonged durations of sitting have been associated with numerous health problems, including metabolic syndrome and obesity. Working out, even in its simplest form, helps to rejuvenate the body and give you a fresh perspective of the task at hand. For instance, a 10-minute workout was recently shown to be just as effective as longer workouts of moderate intensity.

        Physical activities also help to improve brain power and boost problem-solving skills, thanks to the rush of oxygen and nutrients into the brain when your heart rate goes up.

        4. Reward Yourself 

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          Cultivating a good reward system will not only help you breathe between tasks, but will also give you something to look forward to when working on a task. It acts as a good self-motivational system that can help you tackle the most difficult of tasks. Set small milestones and a reward for each completed milestone, for instance, a chocolate bar after every two blog posts.

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          Don’t forget to relax after a long day of work. Pour yourself a glass of wine or pop open a bottle of beer while reflecting on the day’s accomplished tasks.

          There are so many measures different people take to become productive and focused as freelancers. The key is finding what works for you through trial and error and making it part of your daily freelancing ritual to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency when working at home.

          Featured photo credit: freepik via freepik.com

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          Last Updated on May 14, 2019

          8 Replacements for Google Notebook

          8 Replacements for Google Notebook

          Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

          1. Zoho Notebook
            If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
          2. Evernote
            The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
          3. Net Notes
            If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
          4. i-Lighter
            You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
          5. Clipmarks
            For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
          6. UberNote
            If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
          7. iLeonardo
            iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
          8. Zotero
            Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

          I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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          In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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