Let’s face it. Being a freelancer and actually getting your work done is one of the hardest things on the planet. Sometimes it feels like everything is out there just to distract you from getting your work done. From Facebook, to Twitter, to the news, to that squirrel that just ran past your window.
And yeah, sometimes it seems impossible that you’re going to get work done because of your procrastination. Well, this is something that you’ve got to deal with soon as a freelancer. Otherwise, you might start to see your profits dropping and clients running away left and right. No one, absolutely no one, wants to deal with a procrastinating freelancer!
Below, we’ve compiled some of the top tips out there for dealing with your procrastination problem. Try not to procrastinate in reading this article and you’re sure to learn a thing or two!
#1. Start your day with the hardest tasks first.
One of the best (and most counter-intuitive) tips out there is to actually start your day with the hardest tasks on your to-do list. Now, you might be saying: “That makes no sense. Should I get the easiest tasks done first since they’ll take less time?”
And yeah, that’s true! Those tasks will take less time. But imagine how you’re going to feel when you get that tough project done – accomplished and ready to take on the world! So you can use that energy to push through the rest of those easy-peasy tasks you have to do.
#2. Work from a different coffee-shop every week.
Coffee-shops and freelancers go together like peas and a pod. That’s why a great way to stop procrastinating and get to work is to try out a new coffee-shop or working space every week. It’s kind of like rewarding yourself for going to work – you get to try out some new coffee, take some great Instagram pictures, and all the while, you’re getting your work done!
Plus, there’s plenty of studies to show that working in coffee-shops or public spaces increases your productivity and decreases your chances of procrastination, especially when compared to those who work from home and are distracted by YouTube videos all the time.
#3. Get an accountability partner.
Right, so next up, you’re going to use your “Phone-A-Friend” line. A great tip to getting stuff done and ending your procrastination problem is to get a friend to be your accountability partner (you can think of a cooler name, later). This is a person who’s going to be your go-to person when it comes to keeping yourself on track.
For example, this guy or gal can text or call you in the middle of the day to check-up on you and see how you’re doing. If you’ve been procrastinating, they can try to get you back on track.
#4. Set up a phone-free zone.
If you’re working from home, a great way to stop yourself from getting on your phone and checking Facebook is to set up a phone-free zone where you work. Your work space should be somewhere where no phone can come into. That way, when you’re doing your freelance work, your phone will be all the way on the other side of your home.
No distractions there!
#5. Make not-so-fun activities more efficient.
Next up, we have the fifth tip – make your not-so-fun activities more efficient. We all have those tasks like invoicing and billing that we just don’t want to do. It’s not part of the work that we enjoy, but hey! That’s the life you signed up for as a freelancer.
A trick is to take all of those tasks you hate doing and make them more efficient so you don’t have to spend as much time on them! You can make it fast and easy with a service like Elorus.
#6. Only keep tabs open that you need.
As freelancers, most of us spend all or most of our days on our laptops. That means that there’s tons of distractions to make us procrastinate on our work – YouTube, Facebook, your grandma commenting on an old photo. The best way to combat this is to force yourself to close all of the tabs you don’t need open during work-time.
So close your Facebook, save that YouTube video for later, and focus only on those tabs that are needed for work. There are even some apps on your laptop to help you to do this kind of focus work.
#7. Prioritize your to-do list.
Freelancers and to-do lists are inseparable. We all try to get down everything we need to possibly do every day and what happens? We end up with a to-do list that’s still full at the end of the day. How can you combat this?
Try prioritizing the items on your to-do list next time. Sure, you should still write down every thing that you need done. But what do you need done today? Or in the morning? Be sure to separate your list into two sections: those things that need to get done ASAP and those can wait another day.
#8. Listen to focus music.
If you listen to Spotify or other music streaming services whenever you work, try out some “focus music” stations or playlists next time you try to do your work. Music like classical or soft jazz or voice-less house will help you really zone in on what you’re trying to do and get stuff done and stop procrastinating. Plus, this is backed up by science too, so you know it’s one you have to try!
#9. Take a break when you need to.
OK, this one might sound a little counter-intuitive, but when you’re trying to solve your procrastination problem, you should…procrastinate? Not really, but don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need to! No one expects you to work every day all day without taking a bit of a breather.
Set a timer and have 10 minutes every couple of hours to scroll through the news, check your social media feeds, or watch some cute cat videos on YouTube. Just make sure it doesn’t go off too loud in the café you’re working in!
#10. Set an amount of time for social media.
Right, so we all are on some kind of social media accounts, right? And since freelancers are constantly on their laptops, there’s more distractions to check our feeds constantly. But this causes us to procrastinate because wouldn’t you rather be scrolling through Instagram rather than working?
One of the best ways to solve this problem is by setting time in your agenda just for social media. Whether it be in the morning right as you get out of bed or in the middle of the day at lunch, you should set some time in your day just for checking up on social media accounts. This is going to help you organize your time a lot better.
Procrastination and freelancers go hand in hand. Most freelancers will deal with procrastination, especially when they’re first starting out in the field. So, if you find yourself struggling with this demon, make sure to try out these tips and see how much more work you get done!
About the Author
Matt Benfield / Matt Benfield is an aspiring travel and lifestyle blogger & digital influencer, currently living in Berlin. He's been to nine countries so far and you can be sure he's Instagrammed every one of them. You can catch him over at everyday-pride.com and his Instagram (@mr.benfield).