by Rebecca Faith

Share

by Rebecca Faith

Share

Road barricades lined against an opening.

First, you must find work. Second, you must get the work done.

If you don’t have work, or not enough work, you may be saying, “No problem, just give me some work.” If that describes you, then your “work” is to do whatever it takes to get some work. If you have work, you may be tearing your hair out and asking, “How will I ever get this done on time?” In either case, avoiding these roadblocks to productivity is imperative. Succumbing to any or all of them will, in time, doom your freelance career to mediocrity.

Forgetting My Uniform

Corporations may have dress-down days, but most still have a dress code of some kind. Nurses wear scrubs; police officers wear blues; McDonald’s employees wear their uniforms. What we wear influences how we feel and how we act. Before I began my first day of freelance training nearly thirteen years ago I received a piece of advice: Dress the part. I got up that first day at a normal work time, showered and fixed my hair, and dressed casually in comfortable clothes that I loved.  No one would physically see me, but mentally my head was in the right space. 

Neglecting My Workforce

What workforce? I’m a business of one! Exactly! You are your workforce. How do you neglect yourself? By not tending to the Big Three—Diet, exercise, and sleep. It took me a long time to figure this out, but when I changed how I ate, exercised regularly, and prioritized sleep, my life and work changed dramatically. The Big Three are interconnected and must be considered together. Without the right food, you won’t have enough energy to exercise. Without the exercise, you won’t sleep well, and without good sleep you won’t work well. You won’t work to your full productive potential.

Operating on a Wing and a Prayer

Whether you are an established freelancer or a newbie dreaming of your first project, you need a schedule and a plan. No corporation operates without plans, schedules, and deadlines, and neither should you. Write yourself a schedule that includes time for prayer and Bible reading, meals, breaks, exercise, and of course, unbroken blocks of working time, in essence, everything that must fit into your day, including how long you must work. Plan to start and stop and get up and go to bed around the same time every day.

Chasing Butterflies

Some of us are more apt to wander than others, but unless you get down and dirty with distractions your best planning and scheduling will be useless. Technology is amazing, but it will hijack your life if you don’t get rough with it. How often have I sat down to pray and my phone dings? Next thing I know I’ve chased electronic butterflies for an hour and not prayed a single sentence. I’m prone to the same when it comes to work time. We must use technology to work, but if we don’t get ruthless with the electronic butterflies, they will destroy productivity.

Ignoring My Boss

Wait, I thought I was my own boss. Isn’t that why I’m a sole proprietorship? Not so fast. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23 ESV). Time spent with your Boss is time well-spent. Without it, you will be off track from the get-go.

Changing too many habits at once can be overwhelming, if not impossible. Small changes carried out consistently over time will keep your freelance work on an ever-improving trajectory.

Related Posts

  • Freelancers and independent contractors always run the risk of not getting paid. We give up the guarantee of a biweekly company paycheck for the flexibility to be our own boss and take the work we care about the most. But that doesn’t mean that getting paid for completed work is optional; indeed, it cannot mean […]

  • Being a successful freelancer requires high productivity. Putting your brain in work mode, taking care of yourself physically, futurecasting and scheduling, and purposefully ignoring electronic butterflies are important methods to keep yourself on track with your work and meet your deadlines. They are all important, but they are not the most important. You cannot ignore […]

  • My previous posts in the Productivity series focused on ways to improve productivity by putting your brain in work mode, by taking care of yourself physically, and by futurecasting and scheduling. This topic deals with the most effective way to derail your productivity: chasing butterflies. Butterflies Are Harmless Beauties, Aren’t They? No. They are evil […]