According to Businesswire, in 2018 there were nearly 57 million freelance workers in the United States alone. That’s a significant portion of the workforce. And because freelancers tend to be their own bosses and working on their own schedules, they are prone to falling prey to inefficiencies.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with the right amount of discipline and regulation, freelancers can function like a well-oiled, self-sufficient machine.
Let’s dig in and see how freelancers working within the field of IT can make sure their workday is as productive and efficient as possible. Are you one of them? Then read on!
One of the single most important things you can do is develop a regular schedule. When you shrug off any form of regularity, your day is prone to chaos. Although it’s very tempting to rise and shine whenever you like, it’s always best to start the day off and end the day at a regular time. Remember, you are your own supervisor, so you only have to answer to yourself (and your clients).
So when you roll out of bed in the late morning, chances are your day isn’t going to begin until early afternoon. Don’t succumb to the temptation, as this will lead to late nights. Even worse, the demarcation between your professional and private life will start to dwindle.
Because of that very issue, start your work day off at the same time every day, and end it at the same time. That off-the-clock time is the only way for you to recharge … and you’ll need that.
Your office and your home are one and the same. That can be problematic, especially when you eventually become unable to separate work life from personal life. To really get the most out of your workday, you need to have a designated office space. This space will have everything you need to get your work done.
For example, say you do outsource Java development. That kind of work, as well as any type of programming, requires serious periods of uninterrupted effort. If your office is right in the middle of your home, where family and friends are coming and going, you’re not going to be productive.
Instead, make sure to have a dedicated office space that can lend you plenty of privacy.
To really get the most out of this workspace, consider purchasing the following:
- Ergonomic chair
- Ergonomic keyboard
- Standing desk
- Commercial standing mat
Once you have your office space, you’ll want to make sure to strip away as many distractions as you can. Since you’re working with IT—such as as an outsourced support provider, with Java development companies, or a security analyst—you can’t get rid of the internet, which is likely one of the biggest distractions you’ll face.
You can, however, not have a television in your office. Or games. You can also be diligent about not opening social media sites or online shopping while “on the clock”. It’s important, while in your office space, to only do work. Keep leisure activities out of the office.
For some, remaining focused for extended periods of time can be a challenge. This is especially true when you don’t have a supervisor on your back to be productive. There are things you can do to keep your focus laser-sharp:
- Mute your phone.
- Play music conducive to work (such as this Spotify playlist).
- Take breaks.
- Get regular exercise.
- Limit your caffeine intake.
If you burn out, you’ll never reach efficiency nirvana. When you first walk into your office, hit the ground running … not sprinting. You need to make sure you have the energy to make it through the entire day. If you cram too much work into a single day, by the time you walk out of your office, you’ll be drained. A week of this and you’ll be wondering where the benefits of working freelance are.
Remember, working as a freelancer is supposed to be a joy. One of the reasons why you decided to leave the grind of corporate work was to be your own boss and rekindle your love for the gig. You can’t do that if you’re pacing yourself into a frenzy.
Relax. Slow down. Take the time to do your best work with every job, and you’ll find yourself not desperate for the weekend to come by Wednesday. One way to achieve this is to always tackle easier tasks first thing in the morning and at the end of the day. Place your challenging tasks in the middle of your day (after lunch), when you’re most likely to have plenty of mental and physical energy.
Remember, the world of IT is a stressful one. This can be especially true for development outsourcing, where you still have deadlines, but no one looming over your shoulder making sure you meet them.
With just a little planning and effort at the front of your new journey, you can make the freelance gig productive, efficient, and exponentially more fulfilling than spending forty plus hours a week in a cubicle.