Don't get caught in these productivity traps

Feb 10, 2020

As with every type of job, freelancing has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you are your own boss, with the ability to pick and choose projects. On the other hand, motivating yourself can prove to be a tricky task.

Freelancers often make small mistakes that can have a major impact on their output. While small, these mistakes could cost you a significant amount of time and money. Here are five ways to avoid the most common productivity traps.

1) Avoid the lure of multitasking.

Many freelancers are of the opinion that they are pro multitaskers. However, grabbing more projects than you can handle at once is a risky strategy. While our brains have the ability to switch between tasks and do them well enough, the quality of your output will be impacted. It is always a better idea to take things one at a time. Pick one project and work on it until it is done. Then, you can move on to the next one. You will find that you’re much more efficient while also improving the quality of your work.

2) Stay away from interruptions.

Most freelancers choose to work from the comfort of their homes. The common belief is that this helps them be more productive, while eliminating their daily commute. However, it can also make you more laid-back, leading to a decline in your overall productivity. It is extremely important to manage your time well, and not let distractions like social media and phone calls take over. When you are distracted by these interruptions, you have to restart your work, and you could lose your rhythm. You could also be lured toward procrastination, thereby affecting your overall output for the day.

3) Don’t plan every hour.

Freelancers tend to plan their schedules in great detail. While it is a good thing to have a schedule and stick to it, everything has a limit. Many freelancers fall into the trap of micromanaging their own work, thereby affecting their overall productivity. The best way to avoid this trap is to have a daily schedule for your work while also allowing for a certain degree of flexibility. You don’t need to be too harsh on yourself. Having an extremely rigid schedule takes away the greatest benefit of freelancing: the freedom of choice.

4) Limit the time you spend on calls.

Almost every freelancer has to communicate with clients or other freelancers working on the same project. Often, they make the mistake of devoting too much of their time to that collaboration and communication. While it is good to spend time communicating with others to ensure you have what you need to get the job done, it is also important to understand how much is enough. You need to have enough time to devote to doing the actual work!

5) Don’t put too much emphasis on any project.

Freelancers often believe that if a particular project is not executed perfectly, it will impact their career. But the very essence of freelancing is that projects come and projects go. And freelancers who choose to diversify their revenue streams are more likely to have higher productivity levels. Therefore, placing too much emphasis on any particular project or client can prove to be detrimental. Instead, give equal importance to all projects, without worrying too much about the future. It is also a good strategy to diversify your income by approaching new prospective clients and showcasing your skills and abilities. This way, you will be more efficient and will be able to improve your earning capabilities, as well.

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Anna Clarke

Anna Clarke is the owner of the online essay writing service 15 Writers. She has over 20 years’ experience in freelancing and consulting, specializing in business, economics, marketing and management.