The flexibility and freedom you get as a freelancer are unmatched.
At the same time, that flexibility and freedom can make it difficult to be highly productive.
You have your main priority projects for the day.
But then, there’s the long list of other business-related tasks you have to tackle to ensure you’re successful, such as marketing and finances.
There can be so much to do that it’s paralyzing, causing productivity to go out the window.
Traditional hacks like managing your time well and planning your days will help you be more efficient in your work.
But unconventional productivity hacks might be even more powerful.
Although unusual, these strategies can supercharge your productivity.
What’s Your Why?
Freelancing is a tough gig.
There are a lot of moments during the journey where it seems easier to give up and get a 9 to 5.
The big paycheck waiting for you at the end of your projects may not be enough to keep you motivated during these times.
You need something deeper, like a strong “why.”
Yes, the ability to make good money may have attracted you to freelancing. But what was the deeper reason for becoming a freelancer?
For instance, maybe it’s wanting to spend more quality time with your children.
Maybe you want to offer your services to several nonprofits that are close to your heart.
More time for your personal passions could be another reason.
You’re more likely to keep working, especially through the hard times, to achieve your “why” when it’s strong and meaningful. So, define yours and keep it at the top of your mind to inspire maximum productivity.
Tailor Your Work Environment
It’s one thing to set up a desk, chair, and laptop in a spare room or corner.
It’s another to create a home office environment that looks good and feels and functions well.
Beyond your tech suite and ergonomic furniture setup, think about the atmosphere you need to create to support how you work.
What must you incorporate into your office to accommodate your unique needs, help you work productively, and be more creative?
For example, if you feel most you and refreshed when outdoors, consider incorporating natural elements and greenery into your home and office.
Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best ways to reduce stress and boost mental well-being. As a result, you’re more engaged and clear-headed in your work, enhancing productivity and creativity.
Work During Your Most Productive Hours
Even freelancers were once working the 9 to 5 schedule like it was the only option.
But we’ve since learned, especially after the pandemic, that people can work remotely at the hours best suited for them and still get all, if not more, of their work done.
Instead of trying to fit the constructs of a traditional work schedule, why not try working during your most productive hours?
For instance, let’s say you work better at night.
You could schedule menial tasks like answering emails and doing follow-up calls with clients during the day, and save your big projects and tasks for those night hours you’re most productive.
Factor in your life responsibilities and personal endeavors as well as your freelance work when figuring out your most productive hours to ensure you’re balancing everything effectively.
You have the flexibility and freedom to make your own schedule, so you use it to your advantage.
Create Visual Workflows
In addition to doing your work at your most productive hours, it’s essential to pinpoint your tasks for the day and how you’ll execute them.
While most people are writing down their tasks on a to-do list, it might suit you better to see your tasks.
In other words, create visual representations of what you need to do.
Make a map or other visual of every step you need to take to complete a task or project. Include a timeline and who’s involved in the process as well.
Process visualization enhances your overall productivity because:
- You’re more efficient and organized;
- It simplifies complex projects into digestible plans;
- You streamline tasks with a step-by-step guide for executing them;
- It’s easier for your entire team to be on the same page if you have one;
- You make more informed decisions when you see the entire scope of a task.
You can use visuals to identify the start or end of a project.
Also, be sure to incorporate colors, shapes, and symbols to make your schedule easier to understand and aesthetically appealing.
Gamify Your Work Tasks
Successful freelancers are disciplined and take their work seriously.
But they also know how to have fun and engage in what they do.
It might be the mindset they bring to each workday. It could also be the intentional gamification of their work tasks.
Turn your tasks into quests or challenges, like those in a video game, and it could inspire you to be much more engaged and enthusiastic about the not-so-fun things you have to do.
Meaningful incentives or rewards make anyone want to work a little harder.
For example, let’s say you have a large project.
You can turn each step of the project into a level.
You can give yourself a small reward after each level, like your favorite snack or a 10-minute scroll through social media.
Then, you can reward yourself with something big once the project is complete, like a night out with friends.
This way, you can enjoy working through your task as much as you’ll enjoy what’s to come once it’s done.
Establish Communication Boundaries With Clients
One thing that probably isn’t at the top of your list when thinking about what impacts your productivity is your communication with your clients.
It’s amazing how much time you can spend answering client calls and emails.
Productivity may be falling by the wayside because you don’t have enough time to get what you need to get done after client communications.
Make it a point to establish boundaries with your clients about how and when to communicate with you.
Rely on asynchronous communication so that you don’t have to worry about responding immediately to clients.
Let them know you’ll answer emails within a day or two and that you’ll return all calls when your work schedule permits.
Maintaining productivity as a freelancer seems like it would be an easy task because you have so much freedom and flexibility to get things done.
However, the exact opposite has proven true for many freelancers.
In conjunction with traditional hacks, use these unconventional tactics to boost your productivity and sustain a thriving freelance career.