For my first blog post of 2022, I thought I'd step out of my typical blogging 'niche' and write about productivity. As a small business and freelancer, I have picked up a few tips and tricks that have helped me stay organised and productive that I'd like to share with you.
As a writer and editor, I am used to having deadlines with my work and for most industries this will be the same. However, when you work for yourself and have deadlines for YOUR projects (in both your professional and personal life), you can sometimes put off the tasks that don't necessarily need or have a deadline. So, I try to set myself a deadline for everything to ensure it gets completed; even the small tasks such as updating my finances, blog posts for my own website and things for my social media. This is a good way to stay organised and ensure you're not missing or forgetting anything.
A lot of the time it can be a struggle to complete tasks as it can feel like you just don't have the time to do it. So scheduling yourself time can be a good way to ensure that there is enough of it. Time tracking is a great technique, there are even apps out there to help you with it. Using an app such as Toggl, Jiffy or Productive can help you to organise and view how you are spending your time. This way you can also review how you're spending your time and see where you could be going wrong.
It may seem unnecessary but, I think rewarding yourself is so important when it comes to staying productive. It's a great way to stay positive and can help to make you feel more motivated, especially if you're looking forward to something. Rewards don't have to be massive or expensive items, it could be something as small as a tea and biscuit break in the middle of your tasks.
Review and change
When you work for yourself, it's important to understand your work habits and patterns. Just because the rest of the world is working from 9 - 5, you don't have to. What time of day are you most effective? When are you least effective? If plan your day around what works for you, then you are way more likely to be more productive than if you sit at your computer from 9 to 5 (unless that works for you). You may also want to consider your work environment too, if you find that you are easily distracted, then make your work environment as simple as possible, some people find that background noise makes them work more efficiently too.
One at a time
One of the biggest issues I faced when I first started working for myself was that if I felt overwhelmed by my workload I would try and complete everything a once. This made things very confusing, each task would take longer and it meant that I was never fully focused on one thing. I find that my approach to fixing this issue is very logical. Now I separate my week and each day have a list of tasks that I need to complete, I will not move onto the next task until I have finished my first task. I think that this helps me with procrastination because I'm more aware of how much time I have to complete my tasks. Doing this means that I am less overwhelmed when I see my 'to do list' and the quality of my work has improved as I am 100% focused on each task. There is also the added bonus of the satisfaction when you tick off your completed tasks.