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5 Productivity Tips For The Self-Employed

August 19, 2013

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Working for yourself is very liberating. You can create your own hours, pick projects that you are excited to work on, and work from any space that you feel most comfortable in. 

I’ve been working from home for a couple of months now and I absolutely love it, but I have to say it wasn’t easy at first. I had a really hard time making my work a priority. There always seemed to be a dog to walk, magazine to read, or family member to have a conversation with! I realized that I really needed to set some ground rules for myself so I could start treating my work time at home just like I would if I worked in an office.

Here are the 5 simple steps I took to improve my concentration and productivity.

  1. Designate a workspace – When I first started working from home, I just used my laptop and moved from room to room. I never had a designated space that I used just for work. I was so distracted by everything happening around the house, it took me twice as long to get my work done. When I set up an office for myself at home, it made it much easier to sit down and work without getting distracted.
  2. Get organized – There are so many organizational apps and online programs. Find one that works for you and implement it into your daily work. I like to use Google calendars to stay organized, but I also have a running “to do” list next to my computer that keeps me on track.
  3. Plan ahead – This ties in nicely to using a calendar on your computer or desk to stay organized. I always plan out my entire week, and sometimes even the following week, on Monday. This allows me to see what my workload looks like and helps to create a schedule that I can stick to.
  4. Work the same hours every day – Let’s face it, humans are creatures of habit. Creating a designated time for work that stays the same each day will hugely increase your productivity.  If you are only working part time, set aside the same 4 or 5 hours each day for work. That way, if you have other commitments like working out or meeting friends, you can easily schedule them around your work time.
  5. Schedule time for email  - Instead of constantly checking and sending emails, designate 2 or 3 times throughout your workday for email. This will allow you to stay on track and work uninterrupted on projects.
  6. Power down at 5 o’clock – A common complaint I hear from other professionals that work out of their home is that they are constantly working. Just because your home is your office doesn’t mean you should be up half the night checking email! Once 5 or 6 o’clock rolls around, power down your laptop and relax.

Are you self-employed? What are some of the tips and tricks you used to stay productive?