Working for yourself can seem like a dream. But if you’re a procrastinator, or simply someone who tends to get distracted easily, this sort of freedom can prove to be a challenge.
Fear not – even the most unfocused, unorganized freelancers can find their way, as long as they follow some basic guidelines. Here’s how you can keep yourself motivated as a Fiverr seller or freelancer.
Set specific work hours and stick to them.
Freelancers have the ability to set their own schedule, but be sure it’s consistent. Some people work better in the morning, so they may prefer a 7 am to 3 pm day, while night owls might do best working from noon to 8 pm. Plan your social life outside that schedule – if you work until late in the evening, don’t make a habit of scheduling 6 pm dinner plans with friends. And if you’re starting early, then try to avoid going to that thrice-weekly two-hour yoga class at 8 am. Within a few weeks, you’ll adapt and realize that a regular schedule leads to a lot less stress as well as a more organized work and personal life.
Have a space specifically designated for work.
Working in your pajamas has major appeal to many. If this is you, try to carve out a room (or even a corner of a room) as a place used solely for work. If possible, avoid being in the same room or area where your television or other possible distractions are located. Other people find that making the effort to leave the house (much like heading to an office) keeps them on track. There’s a plethora of coworking spaces out there now, which are great for freelancers because they can also provide networking opportunities. And, of course, there’s the old classic – the coffee shop (just be sure there are plenty of outlets to keep your electronics charged). Getting out of the house also has another benefit – it leads to more social interaction, which experts say make you more productive.
Make a daily to-do list.
It’s simple yet effective. Organize your to-do list based on deadlines and estimate how long each task should take you, so you know what is actually realistic to get done in a day’s work. (It can be helpful to set a timer or alarm based upon the estimate for each project.) There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment you have when you check off everything on your list at the end of the day.
Set aside time for administrative tasks.
Balancing the books, scheduling meetings, and the like all take up time. If you’re unorganized in your approach, things are likely to get missed. Set a block of time each week (or day) to catch up on these things. If you feel like these tasks are taking time away from your work, consider hiring a bookkeeper, administrative assistant, or excel guru to help.
Don’t forget to take breaks.
Studies reveal that eating lunch away from your desk (and taking other regular breaks throughout the day) actually makes workers more productive. When you work in an office that may mean going out for lunch or simply spending 10 minutes chatting with colleagues at the water cooler. But if you work for yourself, try going for a short walk or simply closing your laptop while you eat. Keep an eye on the time and return to work with renewed energy!
Ok, doers. No more dilly-dallying. Just get started. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, settle in, and tackle that inbox or Fiverr queue. It doesn’t have to be perfect yet. Once you’re *actually* working instead of talking or thinking about working, inertia will kick in and you may find yourself accomplishing more than you expected. Once you get going, the rest will fall into place. You just need to start!
Doers, what solutions have you found to help you stay focused? Let us know your advice in the comments below!