After being a corporate suit for many successful years, I decided to venture out and get creative. I run my own business and freelance, too – I think you could call this ADHD, but it’s really just the innovative and active workings of a creative mind! And while seven months of remote work has been quite the learning curve, I’ve taken it as an opportunity to explore and expand my capabilities.
Working as a freelancer is a great way to make extra money and have more control over your work-life balance. Sure, there are the perks of setting your own hours when it comes to working from home, but let’s be honest – it’s not always easy! Without the hustle and bustle of an office or coworkers around, staying motivated and on task can be a bit of a challenge…but hey, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Let me lay down some tried and tested tips that have worked wonders for me over the past 12 months – *queue trumpet fanfare*
4 Tips For Staying Focused When Freelancing
When you work remotely, on your schedule, it can be difficult to stay focused and productive. Try these tips:
1. Create a schedule. This is so incredibly important. While you might not have the typical 9 to 5 set up, you still need to make sure you establish a routine and set specific hours for when you’ll be working.
And keep yourself accountable. We all love to reward ourselves for a job well done – think of that cheesecake you bought after smashing the last assignment. But how often do we give ourselves a metaphorical slap on the wrist when we’re late with our ‘work’? If you want to stay productive and take your freelancing career seriously, it’s time to start treating it like a real job. Set achievable but challenging goals each day/week/month, and don’t let yourself off the hook until they’re met! *wag of finger*
2. Set boundaries. This was a tough one for me to learn. I used to spend evenings and weekends working on projects, even though my husband and I had planned to watch our favorite shows together. And I’d often get roped into last-minute meetings or requests for help with YouTube projects. Why? Because I didn’t know how to set boundaries. If you don’t want to sacrifice your family time, it’s essential to learn how to say no and set clear limits on your work hours.
Setting a clear schedule is critical if you want to stay on track. Whether it’s 9 to 2 or 3 to 8 – pick something that works for you and stick to it! That way, you can actually take time off without feeling guilty for not getting that extra hour of work in. *fist pump*
3. Stay motivated. I’m the first to say that staying motivated can be challenging. You’re alone in your house (or coffee shop), working on a project that may or may not see the light of day. Getting caught up in negative thinking and doubting yourself can be easy — too easy.
I’ve found that the key to maintaining motivation is to set small goals and celebrate each accomplishment. When I finish writing a blog post, I’ll take a break and post it on social media or reward myself with an hour of graphic design or video editing. That way, I’m still making progress, but I’m also taking care of my mental health by not overworking myself.
4. Take breaks. As a corporate employee, taking breaks other than lunch felt like an impossible task. And sure enough, it led to my burnout pretty quickly. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone can stay focused and productive for 8 hours straight without breaks – after all, we’re only human!
On the other hand, it can be easy to get carried away when on a break. Here’s a simple solution: Set a timer of 10-15 minutes and focus on something unrelated to work. This could be anything from going for a walk or talking with your partner to playing a game or watching an episode of your favorite show. I’m telling you, it works wonders.
Those are my top tips for staying focused when freelancing. All in all, taking care of your mental health is crucial. Maintaining that positivity and motivation is vital to staying productive and meeting your goals. Set clear boundaries, take regular breaks, and remember that you don’t have to go it alone – there are tons of resources out there for the freelance worker!
What works for you? I’m always eager to learn how I can increase my productivity. Let me know in the comments what tips and tricks you use!