If you run your business from home, there are a few things you should focus on that improve your productivity and keep yourself on track.
By Emma Lewis
Being a productive freelancer really is an act in self-discipline. There’s no one constantly watching you to make sure you’re on target and doing what you’re supposed to. So really, it’s only yourself who’s setting the goals and targets. Staying on track is often difficult. You have your bedroom calling out to you, the living room TV waiting to be a distraction and there’s a good chance fighting off these distractions is making you lose focus.
So, if you’re working out of home, then there are a few things you should focus on that improve your productivity and keep yourself on track.
Build a Solid Routine
One of the most powerful things you can do to skyrocket your productivity is to develop a daily routine that isn’t just focused on getting everything done, but also your own comfort. Pairing the two is going to keep you grounded, and keep you on target at the same time.
The first thing you need to do is figure out when you’re most productive and work around that. The most common productive times for workers in business are from 9 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm. These hours seem a little erratic, but it’s not uncommon to be lethargic and completely off track during the hours from 1 pm through 3 pm, so utilise this time for something else.
Another big tip is to spend 30 minutes before bed to write up a list of things to do, preferably with a way to check off each thing as you go. Keep your checklist interactive.
If you’re working freelance then you’re spoilt for choice with the tools and programs you’re able to use for work. Use these to your advantage and let them help you save time!
Focus on apps like MailChimp for your email templates. Don’t sit around drafting them yourself. On top of that, PayPal and other invoicing programs are great for creating and sending off invoices that are stored automatically. Set up some hotkeys in your apps too, every second really does count when you’re trying to stay focused, and losing that focus thanks to a hotkey that didn’t save a document is hell.
Using just one or two tools is going to boost your productivity a lot. So, spend a few minutes getting up to date with all of your apps and hotkeys.
Keep Your Space Spotless
A clinically clean environment isn’t what we’re going for here, but hey, it would help you stay focused. Really though, a cluttered workspace, home or office is going to really slam your efficiency at work. You’ll be constantly looking at something to think about how you’re going to tidy it up and then you’ve broken focus.
You have plenty of ways to tidy up rubbish and general clutter, but if you have items like furniture or even files and other solid materials it can be a bit harder. Something to consider is reaching out to a storage facility and hiring a unit. Or better yet, using an online space sharing community. This way you’ll save space in your work area, and you won’t need to sell, throw away or lock up any of your things.
This is a big one. In the digital world we live in, it’s almost impossible not to get a notification, or 50 of them, every hour, which breaks your focus. It takes an average of 25 minutes to get back into the zone after a notification from your smartphone, so the first thing you should do is switch on Do Not Disturb.
On top of this, it’s a good idea to literally log out of all of your socials and apps during the day to stop them bugging you constantly. Although it might seem extreme, there will come a time when you’re hit with multiple deadlines at once, and you really can’t afford to waste time.
Cut Off Unnecessary Meetings
Now, a client meeting is great. You might be getting some new business partners or someone to add to your portfolio, but if a client is reaching out to you with no real cause and simply wants to talk something over, then push this meeting. It’s going to slow down your day and you could probably answer the question in 5 minutes over email.
It’s good to have a protocol in place to determine which meetings are important and which are pointless. This way you can save time and just stay on track with everything else.
Emma Lewis is a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.