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How to Increase Your Productivity While Working From Home as a Freelancer

Written by on July 31, 2017

Being a freelancer has many perks—including the ability to work from home—but it can also be hard to increase your productivity.

In fact, for many freelancers, this is one of the biggest downsides to the job: not being able to concentrate during the day, having lots of distractions, and then having to work late at night to finish the work.

And then you wake up late the next morning or afternoon (without having slept well), and again you’re not productive. Distractions, working late into the night or morning, sleep badly, repeat.

It’s a cycle that can continue and worsen the further you go down the rabbit hole (leading to burnout), and it may seem even impossible to stop it.

Well, there is a way to stop it and avoid this cycle. If you can increase your productivity, you’ll be able to get your work done in time and have a normal, balanced life.

But finding the best ways to do that while working from home as a freelancer can be difficult. That’s why today we’ll look at the 8 best ways to increase your productivity if you’re a work-from-home freelancer.

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#0 Sleep

Before you can do anything else, the first and most important thing you need to do is get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is not something to play with. You’re probably not so young anymore that you can just survive off of 5 hours of sleep. Get a good night’s rest (get in bed by 10pm or 11pm) and wake up refreshed around 6 or 7am.

#1 Get a head start

You may not be an early bird, but that doesn’t mean getting up early won’t work for you. When you get up earlier than normal (say, at 6 even), you can slowly get started with your work.

Get your coffee or tea or frothy almond milk and see how much you’ll be able to get done when ambient noises are down to a minimum.

#2 Get ready for work

Another important thing you need to do is trick your brain into thinking you’re getting ready for work. This will help to increase your productivity because you will switch into work mode.

Your brain will need to spend less energy on getting you into work, and you’ll have the mental energy to really focus on getting your tasks done.

Tricking your brain into thinking you're getting ready for work (even without a suit) can help increase your productivity
Tricking your brain into thinking you’re getting ready for work (even without a suit) can help increase your productivity

#3 Get your work schedule

If you’re going to “go to work” then it’s important that you have a work schedule. Just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean you can’t be formal.

This is a great way to increase your productivity because you’re again making your brain (and mental energy) adapt to the new situation.

If you know that you’re “officially” starting work at 8am, then you don’t need to convince yourself every morning to get up at 7am. You don’t have that much willpower. Instead, by making a habit, you turn that activity into a routine—which is great. Less work to convince yourself to do something, and more energy spent on finding ways to do it better or faster.

#4 Find your space

When I’m working from home, I find one way that really boosts my productivity is working on my balcony in the morning.

I don’t play any music or have any food—just coffee and my laptop. It has really helped me take charge of my work-from-home life. You can do the same to increase your productivity.

Find that space that gives you what you need (whether silence like me or even music or background TV for you) and go there to work at the same time every day.

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#5 Do the priorities first (when you’re most productive)

Many guides will tell  you to increase your productivity you need to do all the important things first. However, I don’t fully agree with that.

That’s because people are productive at different stages of the day. For example, my productivity really kicks in around 11am, so I do the smaller tasks first.

However, if you are most productive in the morning, then by all means prioritize by doing the most important in the morning.

#6 Get some air

From time to time (pretty much every day) you’ll need to take a break in order to increase your productivity.

Spending all your time cooped up in your home can lead to some feelings of entrapment that can easily lead to worse places.

You can take a walk every day, on schedule (for example, after lunch), for about 15-20 minutes. Nothing that will be too distracting, but it will help you take a break from work.

It's important to take a break every day by talking a walk outside your home
It’s important to take a break every day by talking a walk outside your home

#7 Finish work and don’t think about work (at the same time every day)

Lastly, you need to really follow the schedule you made up in point #3. If you have a schedule that says when you’re starting work, then you need to have a time to end work as well.

If you decide it’s at 5 or 6pm, then end work immediately at that point. It will also help you to work faster during the day knowing you have a (self-imposed) “deadline.”

Increase your productivity today

With all that said, there is one productivity tip you need to do: just do it. Reading on how to increase your productivity is great to get the necessary information, but if you want to actually succeed you’ll need to actually do it.

So, get some sleep and start your day tomorrow with structure and success.

Good luck!

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