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How to Improve Your Productivity When Working From Home

It has always been my dream to work from home and when I finally achieved my dream to start my own business, I was so happy to say goodbye to long commutes, office politics and unappreciative bosses.

Little did I know that working from home had its own unique challenges. One of them was staying productive while working from home.

It’s tempting to slack a bit while working from the comfort of your own home. No one bothers you with deadlines and the environment is extremely cozy. But as a freelancer, I had to discipline myself. I realised that unless I improve my productivity, I’m not going to get further in my work.

 

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If you’re like me and you’re looking for a way to stay productive, then here are 5 ways to improve your productivity when working from home.

 

  1. Create a productive workspace

You need to create a clearly defined workspace where you can focus on anything work or business related. Create a workspace with a desk and a chair where you can sit and do all your work so that whenever you sit in that space it’ll always put you in the mood to get productive.

Although it may feel comfortable to work curled up in your bed, more often than not, it doesn’t inspire productivity. This is because your bed only inspires sleep and relaxation.

 

  1. Prepare your schedule the night before

Planning your day is the best way to stay productive. When you prepare your schedule the night before, it puts you in that state of mind that there are tasks that need to be done.

A schedule keeps you on track of the tasks that need to done for the day, what time you’re meant to do them and how long each task will take. Productive people are always dependent on their schedule. Without a schedule, you won’t know which task to do and that can be a huge time-waster, if you ask me.

 

  1. Take breaks

This may sound very counterintuitive but taking breaks actually helps you stay productive. Breaks give you the opportunity to recharge before working on the next task. A 5 to 10 minute break can do wonders to refocus your concentration on the next task ahead. So, make sure that you schedule breaks when planning your day.

 

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  1. Avoid distractions

Put your phone away. Turn off the television. Don’t check your notifications. In short, avoid anything that can distract you from working.

You may have heard a lot of people being able to multitask. But research shows that multitasking doesn’t actually make you productive. Distractions take you away from actually maintaining uninterrupted workflow.

 

  1. Break your tasks into chunks

As much as we all want to devote 100 percent concentration to our work, it’s far more important for your productivity to break down your tasks into smaller manageable tasks.

This will help you complete your work a lot faster as it will be less overwhelming to tackle a large task. When your tasks are broken down into manageable chunks, it helps you focus your attention on your workload one chunk at a time.

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Finding the Time to Freelance and Parent

Freelancing and parenting on their own are two extremely challenging activities. But when you’ve got to combine both freelancing and parenting this challenge can turn into an uphill battle.

 

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With running my own business, I am having the time of my life doing my own thing from home and making money. But I must admit that juggling both working from home and parenting 2 under 5 has its fair share of challenges especially when it came to managing my time.

As always, I’m here to share my tips with you. For all the parents who are freelancers out there, if you’re finding it difficult to create time for freelancing because you’re swamped with parenting, here are some tips for you.

 

  1. Steer clear of anything that will distract you

Scrolling through social media, watching TV or flipping through magazines may be harmless at first glance. However they can take away your precious time. Time is limited and so you need to clear away anything that has the potential of eating up your time.

Limit the time you spend on social media. Commit to using it only three times a day for a short period of time. Keep your phone away while you’re working.

Getting rid of distractions also involves you informing your family members of your working hours. During these times you should not be disturbed unless there is an emergency. Setting such boundaries will ensure you have uninterrupted time to work.

 

  1. Build your schedule around your children

Although it may seem from the outside that taking care of children could take up all of your time, it will interest you to know that there are little pockets of time you can leverage on to have some work done. A good example is nap time. Nap times are ideal for you to finish a freelance project or two. You can also work when your child falls asleep at night. Since my kids started reception, I now do 85% of my work while they are at school and 15% at night when they are asleep. I hardly work weekends these days and when I do, I make sure to do my work when they are in bed.

Do your kids have activities that keep them busy? Use that time to work as well. On school days, when the kids are not at home, you can focus on your freelance work.

 

  1. Locate short batches of time

Most freelancers feel that it is practically impossible to have work done in less than an hour. Some even think that they have no time to work unless they have long stretches of time to work on their freelance projects.

The truth is that you can get work done when it’s broken down into smaller batches of time. For example the 10 minutes you spend reading the newspaper at the breakfast table could be used to do some research for an article that you have to submit to a client. The 20 minutes you spend waiting for your kids at the parking lot for them to close from school could be used to send emails to prospective clients.

When you look hard enough you will find a few minutes here and there to get some work done.

 

  1. Set your priorities

Having time to balance work and parenting requires you to set your priorities right. Sometimes we engage in activities that only take our minds from our work and parenting.

When you set aside time to work or spend time with your kids you need to make sure that it’s non-negotiable. Don’t allow anything or anyone to steal into the time you allocated. This may be a little challenging but with practice you’ll get it right. All it requires is for you to remain focused.

 

Do you freelance and parent? How does it work for you? Please share your tried and tested tips in the comments section below.

 

6 Ways To Be A Better Freelancer

As the number of freelancers increase, you’ll start to feel the pressure of competition. To stand out from the crowd you have to consistently work on yourself to be the best freelancer in the industry.

 

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Although being the best is not easy, it’s not impossible either. All you need to do is to be committed to following these 6 simple things that will make you a better freelancer.

 

  1. Plan your week

Freelancers thrive in efficiency. If your schedule or routine is disorganized, it can affect the quality of your work and the speed of your delivery.

That is why successful freelancers make sure they plan ahead of time. They plan their year, quarter, month, weeks and days in advance.

You may not have to plan that far but you should at least have a clear picture of how you want your month to be, the goals you want to achieve and the exact things you need to do during the week to make sure you get there.

 

  1. Develop your skills

Freelancers never stop learning. If you want to get better then you need to set aside time everyday to hone your skills and develop your craft.

Which aspect of your skills do you think needs a lot of work right now? Dedicate time to improve that skill. The more you work on it the better you will get.

 

  1. Under promise, over deliver

Clients love freelancers who are able to satisfy their needs far above their expectations. The way to do that is to under-promise and over deliver.

Most freelancers promise heaven on earth when they pitch to their clients but hardly put in the work that will meet that standard.

A good freelancer will stay humble about their promises and then strive to give their clients the best.

 

  1. Exercise to stay healthy and stimulate brain activity

It’s sad that few freelancers

\engage themselves in regular exercise. You may be working from home but you must never neglect your health.

Set aside time – at least three days a week – to exercise your body.

Exercise helps to stimulate brain activity. This will help you stay sharp and alert while working on client work. Exercise also helps to boost your mood.

If you can, try to schedule exercise in your planner everyday so that you begin your work pumped anytime you’re ready to work.

 

  1. Build your personal brand

Your potential clients won’t get to know you if you just hide behind freelancing sites like Upwork. To increase your reach you need to work on building your personal brand.

Share valuable tips on social media, create helpful content on your blog, and engage with owners of brands and companies. Put yourself out there and let people know about your skills.

As more people get to know you and what you are capable of offering, you will be seen as a go-to person in the industry.

 

  1. Collaborate with other freelancers

Freelancing is a lonely business, but you need to realize that you can’t succeed as a freelancer alone. Collaboration pushes you to reach out to make friends with like-minded people in the world of freelancing.

As you collaborate with other freelancers it’ll expose you to a larger audience, plus you get to learn more about the trade from the eyes of another freelancer.

 

Do you have any freelancing tips to share? Please do share in the comment section below.

 

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