As a freelancer, you will know how good it feels if you are given a tight deadline and you meet it. This should be made even easier to do if you follow the right steps.
If you are not organised you can spend ages trying to find a piece of work you need or some information you have saved but cannot remember where to. By keeping both your physical workspace and computer files in some sort of order you will be able to put your hands on what you are looking for much quicker and find that it is a better working atmosphere.
Have A Plan
If you have several jobs to complete, it can be very tempting just to dive in to get the work done. This can be disastrous as you could be starting in the wrong place. It might seem that you are using time when you should be working, but having a plan can save you more time in the long run.
Work out a schedule for the day, and don’t commit it to memory. You could well forget something, so write it down, or make a list on your computer. Then as you finish each task you will see that list get smaller and that can be quite motivating.
You also will not waste any time wondering what you should do next as it will be on your plan.
As part of the plan, it is a good idea to put similar tasks together. It is easier to do 10 tasks that are alike than 10 totally different ones. If each one you need to do is very different to the one before, your brain needs time to focus on the new job in hand, and that will slow you down.
Take A Break
Taking a break is important, as it will rest your mind and let you return to the work refreshed and ready to get going again. They do not have to be long breaks, just a few minutes between each task will do the trick. If you take no breaks at all you risk burning yourself out and then the quality of the work you produce will drop and you will start to lose clients.
Everyone is different when it comes to the hours they work and the breaks they need. If you are an early morning person, for instance, you might like a nap in the afternoon. That would not suit everyone, and you have to work however best suits you.
If you have to do a job such as some bespoke Excel, you need your brain to be alert. If that means making it the first job of the day before you start to flag, or the last job of the day because that is when you find you work best, is up to you. You know you better than anyone else, and will know when is the best time for you to do some complicated work.
Do Away With Distractions
Remove any distractions that will stop you working. Try to have a working space in a quiet part of your home where other family members are not in and out often. If friends drop by for coffee, explain that you are working and ask them to call back in your lunch break or later in the day when you have done your work. Put your phone on silent and close your email tab until you have finished a task. Then you can check them and deal with any messages without interrupting your work.
Use All The Shortcuts Available
This is not a suggestion that you take shortcuts that will reduce the quality of your work. However, there are shortcuts you can use that will speed up the use of your mouse and keyboard, for instance. Learn the shortcuts for any programs you use and utilise them to their fullest. You may be surprised how much time you can save in this way.
Be Realistic About Your Workload
If you are unrealistic about how much work you can handle and take too much on, you will become stressed and that is counterproductive. Deadlines might be challenging but they should be doable as well. Do not accept a job that is needed in three hours, for instance, when you know it is five hours work at least. To achieve that sort of deadline will involve not taking the care you should and that could lose you the client if the work is not up to standard.
Do It Your Own Way
As a freelancer, you are a self-employed person and it is up to you how you complete a job. It is not down to the client to say it should be done this way or that, as long as the end product is what they were after. You are your own boss, and in some ways that is the hardest thing of all. You have to be self-disciplined enough to do the work you should, but do it your way.
No One Is Perfect
No one is perfect and you should not expect your work to be. What you should be aiming for is for it to be good enough, or you will cause yourself so much stress you will end up doing no work at all, which will really see your productivity slow down. Perfect freelancers, just like perfect people, do not exist so do not try to make yourself something you cannot be.
Of course, it helps if you understand the work you are doing and if you have done something similar before that can make it even easier. However, if you have no experience in the task you have accepted, do not let that stop you. There are lots of online resources that are free of charge, where you cash learn many of the tasks that freelancers are involved with.
If you want to make your living as a freelancer, you need to be able to do as much work as you can each day. Some freelance jobs pay well, and others pay not so well, but whichever you are doing you have the freedom to choose the work and when and where you do it.