How to get seriously productive as a creative freelancer

Freelancing can be a lonely endeavour. Sometimes, that’s a great thing, but it presents a number of challenges, too.

On the positive side, it means you have no boss to tell you what you can and can’t do, and, typically, no distracting co-workers to get in the way of the task in hand.

However, when you’re on your own, it’s also solely up to you to ensure things get done, and this is why so many freelancers fight a daily battle with productivity – particularly when they work in a creative fields.

Fear not, for I’ve got some tried-and-tested techniques for getting seriously productive as a creative freelancer.

1. Rely on the productivity basics

Just because you’re a creative freelancer doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from the kind of productivity techniques used by workers from all walks of life.

This is why so much of the advice you’ll find on productivity on the web is just as valuable to you as it is the next person.

From turning off email to unwinding properly before bedtime, these techniques should form the cornerstone of every working day.

2. Work to a schedule

One of the biggest benefits of freelancing is the fact you can work as and when you please, but this requires serious discipline.

For instance, the novelty of taking Friday afternoon off in the knowledge you’ll work Saturday morning will soon wear off once you realise the weekend starts to get swallowed up by work.

This is why working to a schedule is something every freelancer should do.

That schedule can be a rigid 9-5 if that works for you, or something more flexible, but whatever it is, make sure you commit to the number of hours you’ve agreed with yourself each week – no less, no more.

3. Spot the early warning signs of fatigue

You can’t be productive if you’re tired, but far too many freelancers continue to work when they’ve gone past the point of no return.

The trick to avoiding fatigue and it’s monstrous effects on productivity is to spot it early on and act before it’s too late.

A classic example of this is having to force yourself to conduct even the most mundane of tasks. When that starts to happen, you’re approaching the productivity brick wall. Stop before you hit it.

4. Focus on single tasks

If you’re a copywriter, designer or creative freelancer of some other kind, you’ll probably be used to having several projects on the go at once.

That’s fine, and it’s the way you keep the money coming in, but to ensure you complete each task on time and to your best ability, you need to focus on single tasks.

Do this by setting realistic timescales with both yourself and your clients and base those timescales on the pipeline of work you have. Providing both you and your client are happy with the timescale, work that pipeline in a singular fashion to ensure you give each job the time it deserves.

Wrapping up

We’re all capable of being ultra productive, no matter how much work we have in front of us.

As a freelancer, you don’t have the benefit of someone to schedule your time or delegate tasks to; it’s all down to yourself, which is why the above tips should always be in your back pocket.

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