freelance productivity tips

Guest post by Sarah Villavicencio, BSN, RN

Freelance Productivity Tips to Skyrocket Your Side Hustle Success

As a freelancer, you’ve probably struggled to find your rhythm.

Maybe working for yourself is new territory. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you have existing habits that need refinement.

As a business owner, time is money. Carefully paying attention to how you spend your time can help you boost your freelance productivity.   

1. Eliminate distractions

Before settling into your workday, get into the habit of making simple choices to eliminate distractions that steal time away from your workday. 

  • Place your phone away from your workstation to limit the temptation of checking messages or social media.
  • Turn off communication alerts on your phone or computer. Instead, check messages when you finish your work.
  • Make sure others in your area know you are working and shut the door to your workspace.

2. Create boundaries for email

Email is a fantastic tool to share information and facilitate communication, but it can be a considerable time thief.

  • Check emails once or twice a day. Optimal times are just before lunch or before you finish working for the day, giving you an incentive to complete your task before having a break. Communicating your email habits with clients ensures they know when to expect a response to questions that may arise. 
  • Get your inbox to zero to decrease email overwhelm. Get into the habit of filing emails right away. Delete what you don’t need. File and save emails you may need for reference in the appropriate folders. For emails requiring action, make a task on your to-do list and file the email in a dedicated folder. 
  • Create templates for messages you often send. You can add any necessary personalization just before sending.   

3. Batching work

When arranging your workweek, batch your work items together. This will allow you to focus all of your energy on one specific task and decrease the brainpower it takes to switch jobs. I prefer to batch tasks, including invoicing, prospecting, writing, and editing. Take one day to write and a different day to edit, allowing the project to marinate. That way, you can edit with fresh eyes.

4. Work in short sprints

Working in small, defined chunks of time can boost your productivity. The Pomodoro technique takes advantage of the adult brain’s ability to concentrate for about 20 minutes. This technique allows one to work on a task for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. The cycle repeats four times before a more extended break is allowed.

5. Track your time

Tracking your time allows you to better understand where your energy is being used for both your business’s creative and administrative tasks. After you have some valuable data, you can better estimate the time needed to complete projects and allow the accounting of non-billable hours. Some highly rated time tracking apps for 2022 include:

6. Use a project management tool.

When you have multiple projects you are working on, things will get complicated. Figuring out how to keep track of project statuses and deadlines is essential. Pick what works best for you, whether you prefer spreadsheets, whiteboards, or online tools. Asana, ClickUp, and Trello are popular online tools for freelancers, and they offer the additional benefit of sharing projects with clients

7. End the week with planning goals for the following week.

An excellent time management tip is to finish up your workweek, evaluate your current goal progress, and set new goals for the following work week. You will be able to take stock of your projects, consider what you need to do, and schedule your calendar for the coming week. You’ll have a clear mind to enjoy your time off, and you won’t be searching for how to structure your week upon your return to work. 

7 tips to skyrocket your freelance productivity

Jumpstart your freelance productivity

Jumping into freelancing can feel overwhelming and unstructured. Creating a routine for yourself with good habits can dramatically increase your productivity and skyrocket you to freelancing success!

Sarah Villavicencio, BSN, RN is a freelance writer and owner of Sound Writing Solutions. She is based in Seattle with over 22 years of pediatric clinical nursing experience and a passion for education. When not at work, she enjoys family time, long walks, and smelling the salty sea air.

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