Hail thee, noble freelancer! Welcome to thy world of freedom and possibilities. You now work in your humble abode ready to conquer the world with your trusty laptop and reliable Internet. It's literally heaven from hereon. No one can stop your greatness, right? WRONG! *end raspy narration*
With new circumstances come new problems. Even with the productivity studies proving its effectiveness, we are still plagued with multiple distractions that hamper our output.
We ventured in freelancing to have the freedom to schedule our tasks when and where we like them done. But remember, we still have to FINISH THOSE TASKS to earn a living. After all, freelancing is a business. And you are responsible for everything.
So how do we know what is distracting us? Well if you’re clueless, here are 6 disturbances that waste your productivity.
The Social Media Trap
The most common distraction for all remote workers is social media. We don't have any supervisor hovering the hallways to check if we are really focused on our to-dos or just tinkering our phones.
Therefore, that impulsive social media itch gets to be scratched at every chance we can get. New notification? Check! Breakfast Selfie? Check! Update on the life of Kim Kardashian? Check!!
It’s so prevalent, we are like zombies checking our social media from time to time.
You don't want to distract yourself with constant pings and app alerts. But I know, it's hard to stop that urge. If you’re fighting with technology, why not use tech as a weapon as well. To help, try using apps that limit screen time (like the forest app). It can be done. *Slaps Hand While About to Check Phone*
No Schedule and Overly Flexible Hours.
The advantage of freelancing is the work flexibility it offers. You can work at your own hours depending on when you are best productive. But then, this advantage can be a double-edged sword.
For starting freelancers, this "flexibility" can be an excuse to procrastinate on tasks. I mean. You can set your schedule. So I set "No schedule" at all. What’s your schedule? It’s “whenever I feel like it”.
Wake up at 12 NN. Binge-watch all day until 6 PM and start work. Only to find you’re already exhausted already. So you sleep at 10 PM. Can you get things done at this rate? Not a chance.
To succeed, you need to build structure. You have to follow a scheduled routine. In this way, you are sure to get things done while still have the time to frolic "after working hours".
Zero Organization and Structure
And speaking of structure, you also need a system on how you do things. Remember, you are paid for delivering output, not by the time you put in.
You need to be organized. Devise your workflow with a simple yet efficient system to keep track of your daily tasks. Use productivity apps like Wunderlist, your Phone Calendar, or just plainly using a physical planner.
Also, fix your email labels and auto-sort depending on content. You don't want to miss deadlines and client inquiries just because its buried somewhere in your email netherworld.
Start being organized right now. Do what you have to do. Find something that works for you and your workload. Your future self will thank you for it.
Image Credit: iStock
Unexpected Requests, Invitations, and Personal Visits
As a freelancer, your family or friends may think that you have all the time in the world.
You're just home. You must be free to clean the house, drive your siblings, or insert-annoying-errand-here. In reality, are we that free? Are you a freelancer errand boy/girl?
NO! WE ARE BUSY! You are working albeit the remoteness. You have to focus to finish your tasks. Remind your loved ones that you need to concentrate to get things done. Inform them of your working hours.
Or do you even have a schedule in the first place? Explicitly set your working hours every week. And if they ask again a minuscule request, you can reiterate what you said. These are my working hours. Please respect that. They are your loved ones. They would understand.
With that, I hope you battle your distractions for your growing freelancing career. Good luck! *Slaps Hand Again While About to Check Phone*