Published on December 20th, 2013 | by Snoesje0
10 Tips to Be a More Efficient Freelancer
So finally, you are getting on the right track. You are getting continuous work offers flowing in everyday, thanks to all the efforts you’ve put in enhancing your capacity and polishing your appealing skills. It can be tempting to work non-stop because as a freelancer generally the more you work, the more money you get. However being a freelancer is more about enjoying a free-spirited lifestyle, rather than being enslaved by the desire for money. So I like to argue that in order to make the best of your lifestyle and to be an efficient freelancer, you need to allocate your time properly and choose your clients wisely. This may sound a bit abstract but in the end it all boils down to some practical and manageable tips.
Tip 1: Get Adequate Sleep Everyday
You may feel like you need to stay up late and get up extra early so that your day is prolonged, which means you have more hours to devote to your tasks. However, the fact is that sleeping does take time but it is definitely not a waste of time. Getting enough sleep every day plays a very crucial role in boosting up your health and eventually your productivity. Furthermore, forcing yourself to sacrifice your sleeping hours to work will mostly likely stress you out and put you in a miserable mood, which is undoubtedly counterproductive.
Tip 2: Maintain a Healthy Diet
You might take one thing for granted – your body. Have you ever noticed that you are actually relying on yourself all the time no matter what you are doing? Your body is compelled to live up to your desires and ambitions. In the long run, you cannot achieve efficiency by pushing yourself to the limit. If your physical system is not well maintained, it won’t perform its best. Therefore you need to invest before you reap. In addition to good quality sleep, you have to make sure that your diet is adjusted to your body’s needs. Pay attention to your body’s reactions and choose a diet that is well-suited to your conditions.
Tip 3: Stop Worrying and Get Started
There are days when you have too much on your plate, or the project at hand seems too complicated to handle, or the deadline is too tight. Your natural reaction would be to start worrying. Negativity is taking the upper hand if you don’t put up a fight. This kind of stressful situation probably can happen to anyone but more often to people who don’t know or don’t bother to organize their time and tasks beforehand. When stressful incidents strike, first of all, what you need to do is to consciously cease your negative mindset and just get started doing something! Anything! For example, if you are translator (like me), just open Microsoft Office Word or whatever other software you are using and start to work on the simplest part of the project. Little by little, you will get your engine going full power!
Tip 4: Keep a Balance between Work and Personal Affairs
As a freelancer, sometimes it can be even more difficult to draw a clear line between work and personal affairs – one of the reasons being that freelance work sort of becomes your personal affair. However if you allow these two factors to tangle, then efficiency becomes almost impossible to reach. In order to draw a line, all you need to do is to FOCUS. So next time when you start to work, you can make it a ritual to take a deep breath and subliminally evict stray thoughts and stay focused. The same goes with off-work hours. When it’s time to deal with personal affairs, you need to restrain yourself from checking your work emails and clear your mind of any work-related matters. You will get to it when you get to it.
Tip 5: Write Down Your Tasks and Inspiration
Streamline your day by writing down your to-do tasks or new ideas. It is a very effective cure for easily distracted minds. While you are writing things down, you might as well organize your next day in advance by prioritize next day’s tasks according to deadlines and your preference. If you have a long term project at hand, you’d better break it down into smaller tasks and set up manageable deadlines for each small task. This way you will have a clear timeline. If you execute it step by step, the big project will be finished smoothly and efficiently before you know it.
Tip 6: Know When to Do What
There’re tasks that require more creative thinking and careful consideration, and then there are tasks that take more plain labor work. Therefore, it is important that you take your mental condition into consideration when you arrange your schedule. For example, if in the morning you find yourself more focused and well-conditioned, you might want to do the most difficult tasks in the morning. Simple labor-intensive work can be done in your indolent afternoons or even at night if you prefer.
Tip 7: Take a Break Once in A While
Scientific studies show that human’s concentration on average cannot last longer than 1 hour. Whether you want it or not, your mind will take a break when it needs to. Taking a break allows your brain and your body to reset so that when you start again, they can run on full power and continue to bring out their best performance. Every hour or so, you can pause your work and recharge your energy by standing up and walking around for 10 minutes, or eating a few nuts and a bar of chocolate, or do some exercise. Sharpening your axe will not delay your job of cutting wood.
Tip 8: Diversify Your Clientele
Needless to say, the more clients you have, the more jobs you can get to fulfill your working hours. Meanwhile it will keep you excited and active if every day or every once in a while you are up for a new challenge. As much as hunting for a new client, it is also very beneficial to make your current clients want to stick to you. Sometimes when we work for a client for a long time, we are tempted to become a little negligent. Abstain from cutting corners and treat your long-term client the manner you treat your first-ever client, and then some. Never let your professionalism become dormant. Once you lose a client out of your sluggish attitude, you will never get him/her back. Every client is different but it never hurts to be always polite, punctual, and responsive. Let your clients know that you value and appreciate their trust. Basically, it’s about being reliable all the time.
Tip 9: Make the necessary investment
What kind of tools you need depend on what you do. Generally most freelancers probably need fast and reliable internet, a good quality computer and other gadgets, a clean and functional work place. Even if you are constantly traveling, you have to make sure that you are equipped properly for your work. When choosing an accommodation, don’t forget to take these factors into consideration. In most cases a cheaper price is often accompanied by inconvenience and inefficiency with regard to your work environment. When you look at the bigger picture, you will realize that a little investment can generate a higher productivity down the line.
Tip 10: Get Motivated by Enjoying Your Off-work Time
Life is undoubtedly not merely about work. As meaningful it is to work hard, one should also try to play hard. With all the money you have earned by being an efficient freelancing worker, you ought to reward yourself by enjoying the most of your off-work time. If you are a gourmet, then it will definitely lighten up your spirit to go and try out different cuisines in different restaurants. If you enjoy playing musical instrument, why not get together with your music buddies and jam. If you don’t have a hobby yet, try and develop one! There’s got to be something that you are passionate about deep inside. Make sure every minute of your life is filled up with either productive or uplifting activities. As a result, you create a positive cycle and you will stay on the well-balanced right track.
Overall, what lead you to efficiency are excellent skills, positive attitude, time management, necessary investment and motivation. Efficiency will lead you to achievement. And as your achievements accumulate, you will be elevated to a higher level in your profession.