If you work as a freelancer, then you know just how great that lifestyle can be. After all, you can schedule work whenever you want to, and work for yourself, instead of a boss who’s constantly checking up on you. You can work from home, or you can work from the beach, tethered to your phone. It seems like a dream, and lots of your friends envy your lifestyle. But the fact is, being a freelancer, especially if you’re doing it full-time, can be frustrating, too. It can be hard to stay productive. Because your amount of work can vary, and you don’t have an actual office you work from, it can be easy to get too burned out or distracted.
Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to stay productive. By trying out the tips in this list, you can find out what works best for you and stick to those strategies.
Use the Pomodoro method
Sometimes, all you need is just a little bit of structure to feel like you’re working. But when you’re working remotely, you don’t have a structured workday like you might a nine-to-five office space. That’s what’s so great about the Pomodoro method. Created in the late 1980s, this simple method cuts your work up into small intervals. That way, you can keep the momentum but take the breaks you deserve, too. You work in 25-minute sections, taking 5 and 10 minute breaks in-between. Check out the free TomatoTimer website to see if it works for you.
Considering that employee stress was on the rise at the beginning of 2019, taking breaks when you need them is a great way of avoiding burnout when you’re also committing to getting a certain amount of work done.
Stay off of social media (and your phone)
Telling a freelancer to stay off social media is almost as cruel as telling a teenager that they don’t get to use their phone for a week. But the fact is, social media is distracting. Unless you’re working as an Instagram expert or social media manager, wean yourself from these websites. If you’re more of a news junkie, use a site blocker so that you’re only using websites necessary for your freelance work.
And don’t forget to put your phone on airplane mode (or in another room). Americans were checking their phones more than ever, with 63 percent trying to cut back their screen time, according to a 2018 survey, which goes to show just how addicted we are to these tiny screens.
Get some exercise
Since you’re a freelancer, and you can schedule your work when you want to, it’s a great idea to make time for exercise. Most nine-to-fivers are forced to exercise early in the morning before they’ve even had their coffee or after a grueling day at work. You have the freedom to hit the gym or pavement whenever you want, so go for it. Whether it’s something you do at the beginning of the day for motivation, or a break after lunch, it’ll get you energized and excited to keep working at your projects. And by getting your mind off of work, you’ll subconsciously work through problems by not thinking about them too hard.
In 2018, only 23 percent of Americans got enough exercise. By not being part of that statistic, you’ll feel healthier and happier in addition to being more productive.
Remember to socialize
One of the benefits of being a freelancer is that you don’t have to work in an office. But the downside to this is that, at an office, you can socialize with co-workers at the water cooler or during your lunch break. Freelancing can be lonely, which is why so many people choose to work at co-working spaces. If you work for a company similar to Hashtags for Likes (https://www.hashtagsforlikes.co/), you’ll probably find many other freelance social media strategists and content writers. It’s not just an opportunity to socialize, it’s also a chance to connect with your industry.
The number of coworking members was forecast in 2018 to rise to 5.1 million by 2022, but if it’s not your cup of tea, then socialize in other ways. Join a book club or a hiking group–anything, as long as it’s something you enjoy–and the freelance lifestyle won’t feel so lonely.
These are some of the best ways to stay productive as a freelancer. By being happier and more focused, you’ll be way more successful. What other strategies do you use to stay productive?