Freelancing 101

Freelancing 101: 8 Tips to Stay Focused

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 4/02/227 min read
Freelancing 101: 8 Tips to Stay Focused

Table of Contents

  • What Is Freelancing?
  • What Are the Drawbacks of Freelancing?
  • 8 Tips to Stay Focused at Work
  • Key Takeaways 
  • Conclusion 
  • FAQs

It has become a well-known fact that with rising unemployment levels and job-shifting patterns in our country, a major chunk of the youth is moving towards the freelancing culture. In fact, it is said that by 2025, this independent and versatile lifestyle can attract as much as $20-$30 billion growth in India, in terms of self-employment. However, in order to earn a decent income and also be happy with the goals you are achieving, you must focus on the right clients and prioritize your work. Here is a handy guide of tips to stay focused as a freelancer who is just starting out. However, before we dive into some freelancing tips, let’s first understand what freelancing is.

What Is Freelancing?

If we have to state it in simple terms, freelancing is a way to work independently, for multiple clients. As a freelancer, you are not employed by one particular organization. Rather, as the famous saying goes, “A freelancer is their own boss.” Freelancers are self-employed and are also called independent contractors since their employment for a certain project is often for a brief period of time.

The definitions of modern-day freelancing are always changing. If you are somebody with a lot of interests, or if you are drawn to trying new things, freelancing can help you explore all kinds of industries. Freelancing comes with a spectrum of activities you can do.

What Are the Drawbacks of Freelancing?

While freelancing comes with a lot of flexibility, the risk of job security always stays with it, especially for beginners. Along with the lack of financial security, being a freelancer means you also don’t get any health perks that full-time employees do. For a freelancer being hired as an independent worker, it generally means the company will not provide them with financial or healthcare benefits, as they would their full-time employees.

Apart from that, staying focused at work while freelancing could also be a great challenge.  But worry not! This article will help you with some tips to stay focused at work, especially when you are a beginner and still figuring out this way of self-employment.

8 Tips to Stay Focused When Working

It won’t be wrong to state that after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are finding themselves working from home for the first time. And working from home has its own challenges, such as taking care of personal responsibilities even while working. And for freelancers, it is even harder, as the people they’re dealing with are their clients, people on whom the former’s entire career depends. So, how can you focus on your work when you’re juggling multiple tasks at once?

For this reason, prioritizing your work is highly important. With regular training and following these tips for freelance beginners, you can strengthen your focus on work as well as the right clients. 

1. Create a routine (and stick to it)

When we talk about routine, we specifically mean a schedule that a freelancer must follow. In fact, for any freelancer, having the right schedule or routine is one of the primary tips to stay focused at work.

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By creating a proper routine and abiding by it, you are instilling a sense of discipline into your life. A good place to start would be devising a set of rules and regulations for yourself, while you’re working. Since freelancing usually involves working remotely or from home, you will almost always have some form of distraction around you: think of pending chores, family members, mess lying around, or television on full blast. Hence, the key here is creating a routine. Sticking to a schedule will help you distinguish between work and free time. This will, in turn, also increase your productivity. 

2. Set up a dedicated workspace

One of the most important, yet oft-overlooked, freelancing tips for beginners is to have a dedicated workspace. Sitting down for work at a dedicated workspace acts as a signal for your brain that it’s work time. 

Because working from home can feel comfortable, switching to work mode can become difficult. Hence, a perfect workspace can help you get away from this issue. You don’t need a fancy workspace. Just a small table, a comfortable chair for proper posture, and a way to block outside noise (like noise-canceling headphones) can do wonders. Undermining the importance of a space where you work often tends to make you lazy and lethargic. 

3. Follow the Urgent-Important Matrix

The Urgent-Important Matrix is based on the Eisenhower Principle that helps you separate out urgent and important tasks from those that are either:

  • Important but not urgent
  • Neither important nor urgent

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An important tip for new freelancers, this formula is a key way to keep focused. You can start each day with an understanding of what work is critical, what tasks can either be pushed to the back or delegated. It is nearly impossible to expect yourself to perform all a bunch of functions effectively, on any given day. There will always be certain distractions. In order to solve this issue, you need to gauge which activities require your attention urgently, and which ones don’t. You can create a schedule accordingly.

4. Always record your meetings

Recording meetings always helps in keeping track of all the important pointers. While taking notes manually is an age-old and effective practice, it can get time-consuming. If you want to make better use of your time, you must record all your virtual meetings. These days, various tools help you record and keep track of your calls. 

The purpose of recording these calls is to preserve time. Also, recording your meetings means there is little scope of missing vital bits of information, which you may otherwise forget while note-taking. So, in case you feel you have missed some pointers, you can always go back to the recordings and refer to them. One such software you can try is Loom. 

5. List down your tasks before the day ends

After completing your work each day, you must develop a routine to note down all the work that you have completed. This habit can help you to keep track of the work you have done and give you a clear understanding of how much you can manage in a day. Make it a point to also create a list of tasks you look forward to completing before the day begins. Maintaining a to-do list should be mandatory for any beginner whose primary goal is to achieve growth within the freelancing field. 

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6. Turn your internet notifications off

One of the foremost complaints or issues modern-day freelancers grapple with is how to prevent themselves from spending more time on the internet and decreasing their social media consumption. Hence, turning off your internet notifications is one of the most common freelancing tips for beginners. 

These days, you can have access to various tools that can help you stay away from websites that you often use for entertainment. Such a practice can assist you in staying focused at work, rather than being carried away by a sea of notifications. 

StayFocusd is a plug-in that you can install on Google Chrome if you want to prevent yourself from visiting “time-wasting” websites by blocking them. It can also help you limit the amount of time you spend on these websites. Hence, you can spend just enough time to check a few updates or reply to the important texts you may have received, and then get back to work.

7. Set aside time for growth-centric tasks

By setting aside time for tasks centered on your growth, you are utilizing your time effectively. They are also a great way to break away from long hours of monotonous work. However, what do you understand about growth-developing tasks? For instance, if you are a freelance researcher, you can always take multiple projects from different genres and areas to work on. 

Tapping into a wide spectrum of projects can help you gain experience in different fields, thereby contributing to your growth as a professional. This way, you can also take a break from continuous work that sometimes could be repetitive and redundant. Always be on the lookout for any opportunity that you think will accelerate your freelance career.

8. Don’t forget to reward yourself

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! As clichéd as it may sound, it is applicable in every field of work. We all need motivation occasionally, and therefore, rewarding yourself is always helpful. However, this freelancing tip can be extremely subjective. 

For instance, in case you are a person who loves sweets, motivating oneself with some cookies or dessert can be rewarding enough. Or if you have had a very stressful week, you might reward yourself with a good dinner and wine. 

Key Takeaways

Now that you know about the 8 freelancing tips to stay focused at work, here is a summary of what all should always be kept in mind.

  • Proper time management and following a routine are the primary requirements in any freelancer’s life. It develops a sense of discipline, which, let’s be honest, can never be bad.
  • Always follow the Urgent-Important Matrix. Enlisting your work according to your priorities always helps.
  • Develop a habit of listing your tasks before commencing your day. This will help you keep a track of the work based on your priorities.
  • Having a dedicated workspace and recording your meetings not only helps you stay organized, but also saves time.
  • Blocking certain websites or reducing the time spent on social media can help is a crucial tip to stay focused at work.
  • Finally, never forget to reward yourself after a hectic day. 

Conclusion

Setting priorities as a freelancer will initially be a method of trial and error. Choosing one or more of the freelancing tips mentioned above will require you to integrate a certain level of discipline into your daily activities. If a certain practice doesn’t work, move on to something else. At the end of the day, only you know what works and doesn’t work for you.

It is okay to have trouble while staying focused because we live in a world with lots of distraction-inducing screens and devices. However, working on these robust tips to stay focused will make you a highly productive freelancer in the future.

FAQs

1. How to grow as a freelancer?

Here are a few freelancing tips that can help with growth. 
Develop your skills.
– Surround yourself with inspirational people.
– Open yourself up to possibilities. 
– Apply yourself to different opportunities that present themselves. 
– Keep your overhead expenses super-low.

2. What are the requirements to become a freelancer?

Before starting your freelancing journey, here are a few things you must keep in mind.
– Decide what services you will offer. 
– Create your brand. Building an identity is an ongoing step of the freelance process. 
– Develop a network. 
– Enhance your skills. 
Build a strong portfolio.

3. What are the most popular creative design tools that a freelancer can use?

Canva and Affinity Designer are two top-rated design tools used by freelance content creators across the globe.

4. Are there any free writing tools for freelance writers?

Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are two great writing tools that you can install as an extension for error-free writing.

5. What is a good project management software for freelancers?

Some of the best project management software for freelancers include Trello, StayFocusd, and Monday.com

6. Are there any tools for time management for freelancers?

Yes. There are many good time-management tools that can easily be used by freelancers. Some of them include Harvest, Toggl, and RescueTime.

7. How can freelancers prioritize their tasks effectively?

One of the top freelancing tips is to create a routine and stick to it. Making to-do lists, recording meetings, setting up a workspace are other ways to prioritize tasks.

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