How To Stay Focused When Working Online As A Freelancer

May 12, 2013 | Author: | Posted in Work From Home

Staying focused When Working Online as a Freelancer can be a bit of challenge these days, especially, with the presence of the internet. Yes, it is true that the internet is a powerful tool that facilitates communication, easy information dissemination and adds “color to our labor”, we cannot deny the distractions it sets loose to hinder our work from home as freelancers. Wall posts, tweets, sport scores, viral videos, chain mails are just a few time-wasting activities that could militate against your having a successful freelance career. No doubt, a freelancer’s productivity and output could suffer in the presence of these tons of distractions. (Trust me, I know this from experience!) Therefore in this post, I will be sharing with you a couple of tips that have helped me stay focused, productive and happy in my freelancing career.

Plan Your Time Well: To stay focused and become more efficient with your day, it is important you bucket your time into various categories. On a normal day, I set my work day into three groups: Standard Work time, Solo time and Break time. In the Standard Work time, I work on the general project tasks and also stay in touch to be contacted through my email, IM, phone and others. I make use of this period to clarify project details and communicate with clients before getting down to work. Then, I close all internet browsing windows, set my status to “busy” on IM and starts the business of the day, in my solo time. Although, I have had cause not to stay offline completely in case there is an emergency contact to be made, however, just create the time to work alone. In my Break time, I indulge myself a little, read the news, take the load off. What is necessary is to just decompress yourself at your Break time, after a long period of hard work. Relaxation will help boost your productivity on the job in no small measure!

Put Your Alerts under Control
Yes, notifications such as Yahoo! IM, AOL, RSS readers, etc that pop up are vital in ensuring you keep up to date with latest news and information, however, they can derail your path to productivity if not managed properly. If you must keep a notification system, then it is ideal you configure it to play only a beep sound instead of having a visual cue in addition. Research has shown that visual alert, for example flashing task bar notification, causes longer distraction when compared to an audio cue as a result of shift in screen visual focus. In addition, audio cues can be easily turned off with your standard volume control without having to fiddle with the computer settings. Therefore, you still maintain your work pace without any major disturbance!

Make Use of Batch Processing
What I mean here is to apply similar ideology to your work. In other words, have a specific time when you read and reply to all messages in a batch process. Use a schedule that makes sense to you — you could read and answer your emails once or twice a day, depending on what is convenient to you. Apply batch processing to Facebook, Twitter, RSS readers and other daily tasks that distract you from your primary freelance task. Batch processing will help organize your tasks so that you can go through them orderly. At the end, your productivity will increase greatly!

Set Rules for Yourself
If you really want to maintain a healthy, productive career as a freelancer, you definitely should consider setting up a clear set of rules and follow them consistently with the people around you. This will greatly help you stay focused when freelancing from home. In addition, your schedules will be better organized and you can then stay focused and be guided by the rules you have set!

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