Whether you’re freelancing full time or just working it as a side hustle, managing your own ability to get work done is paramount to your success. Without a boss to crack the whip or a quarterly progress report to file, the only thing motivating you to get down to business is yourself. That’s why we assembled our Legiit list of productivity tips for entrepreneurs
These freelancer hacks aren’t a checklist for everyone to follow to the letter. The beauty of working for yourself is that you get to set your own rules. As an entrepreneur, you know that you don’t fit into the same mold as everyone else. So in this list, we offer you a menu of options that others have found success in.
Try out the ones that look promising, ignore the ones that don’t work for you, and adapt as necessary until you’ve transformed yourself into a well-oiled productivity machine.
First among our productivity tips for entrepreneurs is scheduling. Although you may have started freelancing out of a desire to avoid the 9 to 5, you still stand to benefit from a regular work schedule.
Knowing that you have set time carved out to get work done will help you avoid procrastination. It’s not going to motivate everybody, but seeing that block of time on the calendar meant solely for work will make it a lot harder to say “I’ll get to it later”.
Experiment with how specific you need your schedule to be. For example, some freelancers work fine with something as simple as this…
5:00 AM – 9:00 AM Work
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Break
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Work
Others like to block out specific chunks of time for specific tasks so that they know exactly which hat they need to wear at any given time. Their schedule might look something like this…
7:00 AM – 7:30 AM Respond to client messages
7:30 AM – 9:30 AM Complete client work
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Gym Break
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Respond to client messages
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Complete client work
2:00 PM – 9:00 PM Personal time
9:00 PM – 10:15 PM Complete client work
10:15 PM – 10:30 PM Create to-do list for tomorrow
Some people thrive in the absolute freedom of not having a schedule. For the rest of us, some sort of regular work routine is one of the best productivity tips for entrepreneurs because it keeps us from veering too far off track.
You might think that one of the perks of working from home is lounging around in your pajamas all day, but changing into “work clothes” can be a psychological trigger that tells your brain that it’s time to get productive.
Fashion psychologist Dr. Karen Pine conducted research which discovered that a person’s mind can be primed to feel a certain way based on what they are wearing. In one study, participants who were wearing Superman t-shirts actually reported feeling stronger than control groups who were wearing neutral clothes.
This doesn’t mean that you need to put a suit and tie on every morning, but it does mean that separating your lounging wardrobe from your get-it-done clothes is one productivity tip for entrepreneurs worth considering.
Some freelancers swear by to-do lists. They are a simple, straightforward way to make sure that you are getting the most important things done on a daily basis. With this productivity tip for entrepreneurs, we are talking about creating a checklist of the little tasks that need to get done to accomplish your bigger goals.
Here’s one way to make to-do lists that work:
By making sure that you get the most important jobs done at the start of your work day, you ensure that it doesn’t become something that you put off all day until you’ve suddenly run out of time.
Experiment with the timing of your lists, too. Some freelancers find it much more helpful to create a list for an entire week’s worth of work. They might even work this into their schedule so that every Sunday morning, for example, they plan out their to-do list for the week.
Of course, to-do lists aren’t for everybody, and we did say this list of productivity tips for entrepreneurs was meant to be consumed a la carte. One trend among freelancer hacks is the “done list”, a sort of anti to-do list.
This is the perfect cure for anyone who has had the experience of spending three hours working but has no idea what they actually got done. It’s also a great way to tap into our psychological need for small wins.
The idea behind the done list is to keep a running tally of everything that you’ve accomplished in the day. No task, no matter how small, should be left off of your list. The only rule is that it has to be productive.
Every email you answer, every order you submit, every quote you send to a client—all of them get added to the list. That way, at the end of the day, you can look at a long list of accomplishments and say “Yeah, I got that done”.
When it comes down to it, being an entrepreneur means you’ve got to know how to motivate yourself—because, at the end of the day, there’s no one else to do it for you.
These freelancer hacks are the perfect way to get serious about staying productive, but ours is not an exhaustive list. The best of all productivity tips for entrepreneurs is to shift your mindset towards finding new ways to get stuff done, whatever it takes.
So try out our tips, adapt them, throw them away. But also use them as a starting place to really find out what it takes to keep you productive. Maybe you need to listen to the same death metal song on repeat while you work. Maybe you work best in thirty minute sprints. Maybe you need to work 12 hours every other day.
The point is that you are an entrepreneur, so you need to think like one. Be your own boss and find what works for you.
If you are looking for an awesome community of like-minded freelancers to share ideas with, check out what’s going on at Legiit. With thousands of sellers and an active Facebook group, you are bound to learn a thing or two about keeping your freelance business productive.