Even though the one thing I enjoy the most about freelancing is the ability to structure my day the way I want, I’m still finding that some days are organically more productive than others. Without a few basic time management strategies, I can easily get lost in the passage of hours; it’s the end of the day and I don’t have much to show for it. If I’m not vigilant, any one of these or a combination thereof, can land me in an unproductive trap.
Distractions: While the internet is a beautiful thing, it can be my biggest distraction. Many of my articles require research so a browser window is usually open. Trouble arises when something pops into my head that needs to immediately be Googled or I check my email and social media accounts multiple times.
Too much research: I have the habit (fortunate for my clients; unfortunate for me) of conducting too much research. Somehow the actual writing of the article can get postponed for a day or two!
Today Begins the Night Before: Because my time is essentially my own, I tend to forget that it doesn’t matter if I’m working full-time for someone else or for myself, I still need a good night’s sleep. Often I stay up and watch that late night movie when I should be sleeping. Then I spend the following day wondering why I’m not as productive as I should be.
Schedules: If I make a schedule, it’s sometimes “negotiable.” I have to make the effort to a) make a schedule and b) stick to it. I know…a little discipline would come in handy.
Goal Setting and Priority Lists: When I do set goals and make a priority list, I feel limited or restricted. When I don’t make a list or set goals, it’s very easy for me to fall into the unproductive trap.