Productivity is a popular buzzword you’ve probably heard hundreds of times. You’ve probably also learned that there are ways to measure it. But what does productivity really mean? According to Cambridge Dictionary, it is “the rate at which a person, company, or country does useful work”. Interesting, huh?
Why Is Productivity So Important?
As a freelancer, the money you make in a certain time frame depends a lot on your productivity. In other words, on how much work you manage to get done in such time frame. For example, if you are working on a project for which you will charge $100, you want to do your best to get it done in as little time as possible for your hourly rate to increase. Think about it: if the project takes you 5 hours to complete, your hourly rate will be $20; by the same logic, if you finish the project in 2 hours, your hourly rate will have increased to $50.
How do I Increase My Productivity?
It all comes down to staying focused for as long as possible. Below are 5 tips that you could try for making the most of your working hours:
The Pomodoro Technique:
As expert on time management Francesco Cirillo explains in his website, the Pomodoro technique is about working with time instead of struggling against it. Each “Pomodoro” is a 25-minute time frame. During each Pomodoro, you focus on a task and make a commitment to yourself that you will not get distracted. Once the 25 minutes are over, you take a 5-minute break, and after four Pomodoros, you earn a 30-minute break as a reward for your hard work. You should try it!
Deal with the Most Tedious Tasks First:
If all you do is put off those unexciting, tiresome obligations on your checklist for later, not only will you never get them done, but also you will prevent yourself from enjoying the tasks you do find interesting and challenging. The best thing to do is start off your day by completing all the boring, tedious tasks first. It’s a fact: the joy from being done with them will motivate you to work through the rest of your to-dos and finishing everything quickly.
Do One Thing at a Time:
Multitasking and productivity tend to be enemies. Follow Forbes’ advice to set the times of the day when you will check and reply to your e-mails (for example, you could devote 20 minutes to it every 2 hours). Install social media blockers on your laptop and mobile devices (StayFocusd is a very useful blocker). Finally, make sure you finish each task to closure before getting started with the next one.
Stick to a Daily Routine:
You are much more likely to tick things off your to-do list if you stick to a daily routine, because setting up specific times for things and letting this become a habit makes it less likely for you to push them off for later. Have your breakfast at a certain time every day, open your laptop and turn on your phone only after you have finished certain things, go to bed by a certain time. You will train your brain into focusing and being the most productive during the chunks of your day that you use for completing your projects.
As perfectly explained in this article by the New York Times, sometimes the key to being more productive is not increasing the amount of hours we work but rather our energy levels during the hours we already devote to work. Unlike time, energy is renewable. Take naps, go for walks, have lunch away from your laptop and mobile. Avoid work during your holidays, and get enough sleep every night!
Being more productive is a matter of working more efficiently and in a more organised manner. You could try these tips in a progressive manner, maybe by choosing one a week.
Do you know any other tips for increasing productivity? Let us know in the comments!