Freelancing, as we know, has many benefits and we are already aware of them. Freelancers can work from their bedroom in their underwear. They can work any time and catch a mid-day nap if they feel tired in the afternoon blah blah blah… We all know that. But freelancing needs a lot of motivation and focus to stay on the game. There will be times when the weather outside will be sunny and warm after a chilly night or it would be a wonderful spring day calling you for a walk in the park or lazing around in the park chair with a coffee and your favourite thriller novel! You might also feel like watching that tempting baseball match running on the telly… Sometimes you will feel like giving in to those temptations but then again you have to control yourself. The question is how. There are quite a few very effective ways to keep every freelancer motivated which we are going to discuss here.
Think why you are freelancing
Try to picture the cubicle in your head. You have worked so hard to get out of it! You have stopped working for others to make them rich and you have started working for yourself! You do not have to toil every morning in the public transport wasting one fourth of your life commuting to work. Also picture where you want to see yourself at this time next year. What do you want to achieve during this year. Imagining these in your head will give you enough motivation to carry on and get started immediately.
How to begin your day
The best way to begin your day is to start reasonably early. Yes you can oversleep the commuting time to work. Wake up at such a time that you can begin your work day by 9am. This is not a hard and fast rule though! Wake up, take a shower, prepare yourself some breakfast. After breakfast grab that cuppa strong coffee to kickstart your day and begin! Some freelancers have also told me that they dress up like they were going to office and begin working but I have not found it working for me. I feel far more comfortable in my pyjamas to work.
Having a well defined workspace
It would be my advice not to work in your bed or in your couch. I would advice you to set up a proper workspace with an ergonomic table and a good ergonomic office chair. This is because as soon as you sit in your chair you will start to feel that you are in your office and you will get the motivation to concentrate on your job. It would be like your office space. It is imperative that you have proper tools to get your job done. Having the proper tools will add to your motivation.
Keep a third working space
A third place is a social surrounding other than your workplace or home. Refer : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place Sometimes it is good to get out into the open and work somewhere else like a neighbourhood coffee shop. Now most of them will have wifi internet access so working from there should not be a problem. There is also a new concept of third space coming up called a co-working space. The co-working movement is gaining a huge momentum and I believe the concept is here to stay. Co-working is basically an office space or an office building where individual independent professionals gather to work. They do not work for that company. They all are freelancers or a team of freelancers working for themselves. The company merely rents out office space and infrastructure to professionals needing them! They offer tables, chairs, internet, air-conditioning etc. They also offer conference rooms to meet prospective clients and a kitchen where you can cook a small snack if you want to. Using the conference rooms of co-working spaces are a good idea if you are working from home and if you have to meet a prospective client. It is a better alternative than a coffee shop because sometimes a coffee shop plays loud music or you might have two loud people sitting on the next table. Freelancers also sometimes like to co-work because they get leads form other coworkers who do not work in your particular area of expertise. For example a content writer might outsource graphic design work to a friend and vice versa.
Making a to do list first thing in the morning.
As soon as your sit in your desk for the day, make a to do list immediately. Picture the whole day in your head and sort your tasks based on their priority. Freelancers have a tendency to do the ‘fun work’ keeping the boring stuff pending for later. This pushes those tasks further and further down the day and finally is left unaccomplished at the end of the day. This keeps on happening day after day and finally it adds to your list of pending works that never gets done. Making the to do list according to priority will help you to get your work done. One more thing to remember about to do lists is that you should set short goals. Divide the whole day in three parts namely morning, afternoon and evening and then set tasks for those three parts of the day.
Offering rewards to yourself
Stupid as it may sound, bribing yourself or giving yourself incentives after achieving a milestone works wonder at times. After you have completed a content writing assignment or after you have designed a great logo, you might watch a television show for about half an hour or so. You might even take your dog out for a walk or enjoy a chocolate brownie with ice cream in the neighbourhood bakery shop. Rewards are a great way to keep yourself motivated and focused.
Set a timeline for every job
You already have a to do list but you also need to set a time limit for each job in your to do list. Suppose you are writing an article about the “traits of a successful man” for a client. Say it is a 1000 word article that is to be written. Now you need to do an hour’s research before starting to write that article and another two hours to complete the article along with proof reading. So you should set aside a total of three hours for the assignment and another 15 minutes of extra time for miscellaneous activities. Now you should be able to hit the target. If you cannot complete the work in the target timeframe then be sure to analyze why that extra time was required and why you could not meet the timeline set by yourself. This will help increase your productivity in future.
It sometimes happens to freelancers that they get bored by working on one project for a long time. The creative juice stops to flow. It is highly recommended that if you find yourself in such a situation then you should change your project and should work on some other project for some period of time and then come back to the first one and finish it off. This will help you get your job done faster.
Naps and breaks to boost productivity
Taking periodic breaks for stretches or a short walk is beneficial to freelancer’s health. Many computer related health risks can be avoided by taking breaks. It also rejuvenates you and helps you keep going. Without breaks productivity suffers and so does creativity.
Taking naps is also very refreshing. If some day I have heavy lunch at home I just take a short nap and I wake up refreshed. I get much more energy and I can work for more hours after taking the nap. Studies have shown that power naps have increased productivity, concentration and reduces stress in professionals.
Think about things or persons that inspire or motivate you
There might be some inspiring move that you saw. There might be some inspiring legendary historic characters that you admire. Think of them when you feel low. Think of their struggle and how they achieved great things by untiring work and perseverance. People who have went on when going got tough have always emerged out victorious. Just don’t stop when you are tired : stop when you are done!
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