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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

    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 November 19, 2019

          10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

          10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

          Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

          Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

          As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

          In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

          Projects and Tasks Management

          1. Monday dot com

            Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

            The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

            The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

            The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

            Check out the software here!

            2. Asana

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              The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

              The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

              Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

              Check out the software here!

              3. Trello

                Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                Check out the software here!

                4. Jira

                  The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                  The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                  The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                  Check out the software here!

                  5. Evernote Business

                    Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                    The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                    Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Communication

                    6. Slack

                      Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                      Check out the software here!

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                      7. Spike

                        Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                        Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                        Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                        Check out the software here!

                        Creation

                        8. Office 365

                          Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                          Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                          You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                          Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                          Check out the software here!

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                          9. Grammarly

                            Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                            Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                            Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                            Check out the software here!

                            Team Analytics

                            10. ActivTrak

                              ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                              The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                              Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                              Check out the software here!

                              The Bottom Line

                              Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                              More Productivity Tools

                              Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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