5 Easy Productivity Tips for Freelancers

Posted on - in Work Productivity
typing on laptop

As the job title implies, you get plenty of freedom as a freelancer. Typically, you can set your own hours and choose your own location, telecommuting with your superiors in order to complete projects and receive feedback.

This is clearly a sweet deal, but it comes with one looming stipulation: you have to force yourself to be productive. Yes, even on those days — the ones where it feels impossible to focus. Below are five tips for freelancers to boost your productivity in order to be the most efficient and cost-effective freelancer around.

1. Own Your Office

One of the greatest perks of working from home is that it’s comfortable. Sometimes, though, you can let yourself get too comfortable and slack on your productivity. Tomorrow, don’t grab for your laptop and start working while you’re still in bed. Instead, get up, change clothes, and sit down at a desk or table.

When you move from your bed, your brain will recognize that it’s not time to zone out — it’s time to focus. Eventually, you should dedicate a specific spot in your house as an office that you only use when you’re working. That way as soon as you sit down in your new office area, you’ll know it’s time to get serious.

2. Worst Goes First

The project you’ve been dreading should be the first thing you take on in the morning, according to many all-star freelancers. With a fresh mind, take it on and get it out of the way — don’t check your e-mail, don’t take calls and don’t let yourself skim your social-media feeds.

Once it’s finished, you’ll feel energized and accomplished, which will help you take on the rest of your to-dos with ease.

3. Unsocial Media

Another pro tip: keep your social media breaks to a minimum. This is much easier to do in an office, where many companies have sites like Facebook and Twitter blocked to ensure their employees’ productivity and focus. At home you might find it a little bit harder to avoid a five-minute break that turns into a 30-minute one, all thanks to that interesting YouTube video or news article that a virtual friend has posted.

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Try and cut yourself off completely from social media while you’re working. If this is impossible to do because your job requires you to update a site or respond to social media posts, time yourself and see how long each one takes. By being aware of how much time you’re actually spending — or wasting — you could cut down on your usage big time. Forbes suggests that it could save you up to two hours per day.

4. Find Your Time

If you’re not a morning person, why are you trying to work at 6 a.m.? One of the keys to being a productive freelancer is creating a schedule that plays to your personal rhythms.

For example, perhaps you’re a freelance writer. If you find yourself feeling most creative at night, you could do your more basic tasks during the day and save your most involved assignment for the evening. The same sort of thoughtful scheduling should apply to anyone who works from home, whether you creativity is needed or not.

5. Schedule Yourself

To that end, it’s a good idea to create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Sometimes an unexpected phone meeting or lengthy email correspondence can knock you off track.

While that’s to be expected from time to time, it shouldn’t happen every day. With a schedule in place, you’ll be more motivated to tick off your to-do list and earn that sense of post-work-day accomplishment that you seek. You can enhance your productivity even more by budgeting a realistic amount of time for each task so that you really hunker down, stay productive and make the most of your workday.

Image by SplitShire

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!


  1. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    Unsocializing social media can free up so much time. I am glad you included it on the list. I also agree that it is best to get the hardest thing out of the way first when you have the most energy to do it. I tend to have the most energy in the morning. Thanks for the helpful reminders.

    5 years ago
  2. ludovic

    Nice post, I think another thing is to have the right tool for the right job and the right profile. Because every freelancer is different and may need a specific tool. Some prefer use paper, excel online software, office etc…

    We created an online software https://www.iprosh.com that gives possibility for a freelancer to have a complete online presence with front end (website, scheduling…) and back end (project management, time tracking, expense..) and thus to not spend time with multiple account or tools. Can be useful for some freelancers who want everything in a same account.

    5 years ago
    • Kayla Matthews

      Cool stuff, Ludovic! Thanks for sharing. =)

      5 years ago

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