If you freelance from your home office or take your work with you wherever you go, eliminating distractions can be a challenge even for the most experienced freelancer. While the opportunity to work from wherever you want is a nice alternative to being stuck in a cubicle, mobile work comes with its share of distractions.
Anyway you look at it, freelancing requires discipline and this means managing your time and taking responsibility for reducing distractions. Following are few strategies for increasing your productivity by reducing distractions around you.
Communicate with Everyone
If you are working out of your home office it is important to set guidelines with other family members. Sometimes people think that working from home means that you are not doing “real” work and that you are free whenever they need something. You must communicate to your family members that what you are doing is important and that you are not to be interrupted unless necessary.
Work to strike a balance between family time and work time. Be consistent with reminding other family members when they step over the line.
Limit Checking Email
Email can be one of the number one distractions for a freelancer and the temptation to check it several times a day is not uncommon. Make a pact with yourself that you are only going to check your email twice a day. Checking your email too often sidetracks you into taking care of requests from others that often are not even urgent. This can be very disruptive to your schedule and your own priorities. If not required, shut down your computer. You will see that this can make a substantial difference (in addition to saving electricity).
Break Down Your Projects into Small Tasks
If you are working somewhere other than your home office, break down your work into small tasks so that if you encounter distractions or interruptions it will be easier to get back on track when you return to your project.
Have a Backup Plan
Regardless of how hard you try there will always be unexpected distractions that come up such as loss of Internet connection or a glitch in the project you are working on. Always have a backup plan for getting your work done. Although it may not happen the way you planned, you will still be able to get it done and stay on schedule.
Get Up Early
If early morning tends to be a quiet time, make a habit of getting up earlier when everyone is still sleeping. Many freelancers rise as early as 4:40 a.m. to accomplish what they need to do. If you are not a morning person then schedule the projects that require concentration later at night after everyone has gone to bed.
Clean Up Your Schedule
Be realistic about what you want to accomplish and then prioritize your list. Make sure the tasks you need to accomplish will lead you to the goals you set for the day. Save other distractions for later or set a specific time to handle distractions.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone
The average person can text up to 100 times per day and receive a high volume of telephone calls. Block out a time in your schedule when you will handle both incoming and outgoing calls and make this schedule known to your friends and your clients.
Although it may seem like you are only spending a few minutes on the phone at a time they add up if you keep track of all the calls and how much time you spend taking care of issues raised in those calls.
Distractions are one of the primary concerns when it comes to time management. If you are serious about moving your business forward it is important to come up with a consistent strategy for eliminating distractions so you can achieve the goals that you set out to do on a daily basis. Be disciplined with your time and you will be rewarded with increased productivity and a more balanced lifestyle.
by John Sylo