How to Be Productive When You’re Your Own Boss
Wherever, Whenever, However
This seems to be the mantra for freelancers and people who love the idea of freelancing. So many people think that freelancing means you can lie around the whole day and get around to work when you feel like it. This is funny, because veteran freelancers know that this is nothing close to the reality of freelancing.
Freelancing is exciting, but it’s not all play; there’s hardly even any play. Freelancing may not be like the regular 9 to 5, but it still requires some regularity. You may not have any dress codes, but you still have to be professional. Every kind of work requires discipline; however, as soon as we leave the places of work where we had bosses, we start to think that we can do EVERYTHING that we could not do when we had a boss. In spite of the fact that you are your own employer, you owe it to your clients to be productive. But how can you get things done efficiently, when you’ve been used to having someone else tell you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it? It is a little difficult to adjust to, and this is why a lot of freelancers find themselves barely meeting deadlines, not because they do not have enough time to complete the tasks, but because they don’t know how to boss themselves.
Here are some things you can set up to improve your productivity when there is no time sheet and no progress report.
- Set Clear Goals: You won’t get much done unless you’re trying to achieve something and you know what that is. Therefore, every month, every week, every day, you need to have clear goals on the things that you want to have achieved at the end of the day. Include clear strategies, that includes a step-by-step process that will take you from getting started to getting it all done. With clear goals, you will know when it’s ok to rest, and when it is better to press on.
- Assign Tasks to Yourself Daily: Remember, you are your own boss now. You are not a person without a boss, you are your boss. So, give yourself work. Knowing your goals and the strategies to achieve them, set tasks that will get you there, and assign them to yourself daily, in order of importance. This way, you know exactly what you need to get done daily, and you know when you can afford to take time off to watch Insecure. Another thing about setting tasks for yourself is that you will not be confused or feel overwhelmed with your work. This is because, you know exactly what you need to be doing.
- Set Up Flexible Work Hours: True, you can’t penalise yourself for lateness, but it is also important that you show up on time. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, there is the constant temptation to start work in the middle of the day or even later, when you have a lot to do. This will affect the rate of your deliveries and possibly the quality of your work as well. Your work, no matter where you are working from, should have a dedicated time frame from each day. Your work hours can be flexible (this is of course the perk of self-employment), but they must be existent all the same. discover your most productive hours of the day; it could be at noon, after the kids have left for school and the neighbours have quit yelling at each other. The important thing is that you have dedicated work hours, and you invest those hours into good work.
- Set Up a Workspace: Don’t you go and build a cubicle in your living room, but don’t work from your bed either. A dedicated workspace helps to condition your mind to work, in spite of the fact that you are at home, and on your own. Set up a space that motivates you to get things done. With a simple table, a comfortable but not too comfortable chair, and a work lamp, you’re all set. Set up your laptop, your notes, and whatever else you work with in that space. When you are done with chores and you walk into that space, you’ll be ready for work. Move to your dedicated workspace and tell your brain, “Hey! Playtime is over.”
- Reward Yourself: It’s too bad you can’t win employee of the year anymore, but you can surely reward yourself for being a good sel-employee and a good boss as well. Give yourself treats when you complete tasks efficiently and effectively. The good thing is, you can reward yourself for just about anything; for staying off social media for an hour, for doing nothing but work for three full hours, or for not yelling at a troublesome client. Take yourself to dinner when you close a deal, buy yourself a pizza when you do really good work. Reward work; it makes you want to do more, and impress yourself.
Working for yourself can be hard, and getting yourself to be a good boss sometimes be an uphill task. But these tips can help you get things done in good time. Being your own boss is harder than being someone else’s boss, but you can do it. For sure, you can.
What issues do you have with getting stuff done by yourself that were not addressed in this article? Let us know in the comments.