“You need to write down an unrealistic goal and start to live and breathe it every single day. This can be simple, or more complex. Make it crazy though! The sky is the limit, and trust me, people have been up there too.” — Everett Bogue
So you’re now a freelancer. You found the perfect idea. You’re ready to get started. You even found a few clients. There’s just one problem.
How do you get work done now? How do you produce excellent results for clients that are paying you real money?
What are tips that have a proven 100% track record of getting things done?
First you must realize that you don’t have to be productive 24/7. It’s okay to sleep in a bit longer tomorrow or chill out with friends. You don’t have to stress about being efficient all day long.
When you’re ready to get productive, this is all you need to know…
Work when you have the most energy.
When do you feel the most alive? When do you get the most done?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here because every freelancer is unique.
It’s not that easy to pinpoint when you have the most energy because we all assume that it’s in the middle of the night. The reality is that most of us work late at night because we’re scrambling to get things done at the last minute.
My suggestion is that you track when you have the most energy and when you feel the most alive. This should take you a few days or even weeks. Then finally, try to get your schedule setup so that you can work when you have the most energy.
Ditch the distractions.
We all know that distractions are bad, yet so many of us are often distracted.
How can you ditch the distractions? There’s only one solution. Show up at a coffee shop or any public location without anything but the necessary tools to get the job done. It’s impossible for most beginners to get work done at home. Stop lying to yourself. Pack your stuff and hit the local coffee shop. Don’t leave until all of your work is done!
Complete small tasks ASAP!
Don’t wait. When a task that takes two minutes or less pops up, get it done on the spot. Don’t let these small tasks pile up. Take care of them.
I got this tip from the popular book, Getting Things Done, and have tried to apply it since. The problem with small tasks is that they add up easily and take up mental space. This is why as a freelancer, you have to deal with the minor tasks immediately.
For example, when I have to send an invoice or fix something, I do it right away. I don’t wait.
Get those small tasks done!
Watch what you eat.
We all know that we need to eat well, but we just don’t get around to it. Fast food is to easy. Why cook or prepare food when you can just stop at McDonalds or the pita shop?
The problem is that it’s difficult to get anything done when you’re bloated and feel like crap. Plus, good food leads to more energy.
How can you eat better to get more work done?
- Start your day off with protein.
- Keep a can of tuna or protein shakes around.
- Drink lots of water all day.
- Keep almonds around at all times. Grab a handful when you’re low on energy.
- Cut out the junk. You already know this though.
Keep in mind that I’m totally guilty of eating like a slob at times. The goal is to eat better as much as possible. Nobody is perfect.
Embrace power naps.
There’s nothing wrong with a power nap to recharge your batteries.
If you’re tired, the next step is usually to chug down a coffee or an energy drink. This works miracles. However, what you really need is a power nap most of the time.
Grab a spot on the couch and doze off for 20 minutes. You’ll wake up feeling amazing. Just make sure that you set an alarm. You don’t want the power nap to turn into 4 hours. This would likely throw your whole day off as a freelancer.
Work in batches.
You don’t have to work for 8-hours straight nor do you need that much free time to get any real work done. I highly suggest working in batches.
What are batches to work in?
- Task batches. This is where you work on a specific task until you’re done in one sitting. This could refer to a lesson plan for your guitar instructional or a workout for your next personal training session.
- Time batches. I enjoy time batches because I grab a cup of coffee and sit down until the time is up. I usually set my timer for 30 minutes and I ended up going hard for an hour straight.
Ditch the “to-do list.”
You really don’t need a list. You don’t have to keep track of everything you “want” to do on a piece of paper.
What trumps the list? A goal to get 1-3 key things done in any given day.
This works because you know what you have to do and you can get it done.
Oh and while you’re at it, ditch the schedule. Trying to schedule everything into your day will just distract you and create unnecessary anxiety. Get your tasks done and stop trying to create some super efficient schedule.
That’s how all freelancers can get work done. Go get it!
“Just get started. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start.” — Leo Babauta