Most freelancers work from home, but there are so many pros and cons to that. We get to use the computer from our bed, we get to watch tv while we make stuff, we don't have to get dressed to go to work, set our own hours and so much more. But if you're anything like me, sometimes it feels like there's not nearly enough hours in the day to get all the work done as well as enjoy or accomplish other non-work related stuff. But there are loads of recommended ways to stay productive and on task and still have free time. Here are my favourite ways to stay productive if you work from home.
1. Get your mind right
When you wake up, try and read or think of something positive. Gratitude goes a long way and it's really important to accept and appreciate where you are right now. You may find yourself hoping to accomplish all your goals at once, jumping up at the thought of your new self and dive right in to the deep end and drowning fast.
Woah! Slow down a bit... Setting goals is great but give yourself some smaller stepping stones, or else you're just setting yourself up to fall off the wagon.
If you're one of those people who are like "yeah! I'm gonna do this, and that and this and that!" and you set yourself month long challenges and never complete them, then congrats, you're a human.
Don't get down on yourself, just get realistic. Perhaps you're not ready for the a month long challenge? Then see how well you handle a 3 day challenge. Then a 5 day, then 7, and so on. See what I mean? Start small and get bigger. Start wherever you are now, and you'll get to where you want to go.
2. Wake up at the same time everyday
Second, you have to remember to have a good nights sleep. Go to bed early and wake up early. It sounds so easy, and I absolutely not nailed this one down, especially because I like working late… but when I do a challenge of early wake ups at the same time every single day, I honestly feel so much more prepared for the day. There’s a certain flow and procedure that develops and it just allows for tasks to happen in a timely manner. This, as opposed to waking up whenever and improvising every little thing that turns into a day that has ended already before anything is really accomplished, and rolls over on to the next day, and the next.
Check out this vid of three guys trying match the morning routines of CEO's, it really makes you wanna get your shit together.
3. Organise your day in blocks
Every August/September I get that feeling of the Back To School buzz. Probably because I’m also an art teacher, but mostly because it’s been engrained in us since school days. That lead me to think about how much I used to get done during those days. I mean between all the courses, essay writing and reading, Spanish, art making, dance classes, homework, full-time job, house chores and still have way too many nights out with friends. It’s literally incredible how much one can accomplish when their time is organised. After school, I forgot all about that and quickly slipped into feeling overwhelmed with all the adulting, even when I no longer have all those courses or any homework, and don't see my friends as much. That’s why it’s easy to imagine how refreshing it was to find this video by Jordan Page from Fun Cheap or Free, that snapped the sense back into me - I started blocking out my time and now I feel a lot less overwhelmed and a lot more accomplished.
4. Stop Multi-tasking
I have stopped saying that "I'm good at multi-tasking" because the reality is that no one is. Especially not me. I'm able to do a lot of things, in a short or restricted amount of time, but I am also good at half-assing everything that has to be done at the exact same time. Half listening, typed emails that don't get sent, doing the laundry while burning things on the stove etc. Multi-tasking is not a thing. So stop lying to yourself and just do one thing at a time, from start to finish.
Quincy Jones said it best, when recalling something his dad would often say to him:
BONUS... Make a Note of It
Write it down, schedule it in.
I am a note freak. I write notes for everything, I even set a reminder to make a note of what to do for the day. Either digitally or on paper. Some people use, Google Calendar some people still use iCal, but I use a good old daily diary. I love buying a new one each year. I never stick to the same kind because I like my diary to change and represent how I want to grow in the next year. But some years I used my diary more than other years. The diaries I used the most were this type where you can see the whole week spread over two pages.
I use a diary for helping me to keep track of the week or the month. And I write To Do lists for daily tasks. I used to write To-Do’s on everything, scraps of paper, an old notepad, my phone, random envelopes whatever was around. But THEN, I discovered MinimaList. They haven’t asked me to say this, and I’m not being sponsored. It is hands down the most used and most favourite app on my phone. I was looking for an app that was easy to use but most importantly sleek and nice to look at. I’m actually really passionate about intuitive design and nice interfaces on apps. If I see an app that’s just too messy or too colourful or has too many clicks to accomplish simple things it just takes away from the enjoyment of using it. But as soon as you use MinimaList, you’ll be obsessed. Did I mention it’s free? I’m not sure about Android, but it’s available for iOS.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren was born in London, but grew up in Canada where she received her degrees with distinction in Fine Arts and Education. Now she's back, she continues her work in creative arts by making art and teaching it, while developing opportunities for early career artists as the founder of the online platform Dark Yellow Dot.