According to an MBO Report on Independent Workers by the year 2020 more than 50% of the private workforce will be independent. With growing numbers comes the need for standardization of work and maintaining the benchmark for productivity across the board. According to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer “Speed and quality are often sacrificed while working from home” Ms Mayer’s concerns stem from the fact that there is a lack of supervision while working as a freelancer. So the key to having a successful run as a freelancer is self discipline. In Jon McArthur’s words “Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire.”
Set Hours - The freedom to work independently does not mean that one should work at one’s own whims. A concentrated effort is required to maintain deadlines and quality. Set particular timings depending on your schedule and share them with your client as well so that they know when you operate. If you are working out of home and not at a client location, then this becomes even more important since there is a scope for a lot more distractions.
Set Goals- Another important aspect in maintaining productivity is to set definitive goals. As a freelancer, you are only given deadlines and have the freedom to pace yourself. The easiest way to go about it is the good old things to-do list - organizing a list of tasks to be achieved and setting a deadline to finishing them. Use technology if required to facilitate this by using apps like Wunderlist 2 which is an application to organize tasks, set up due dates etc.
Set a comfortable work environment- A small but important tool to boost productivity includes setting a conducive work environment, which helps you concentrate on your tasks. If you are working out of home, designate a particular area as your home office and keep all your supplies in one place to minimize diversions. If working at home is a distraction, choose a nearby café with a good ambience and a fast wifi connection. Also, freelancing does not mean that you live as if on a vacation. It infact, requires a lot more self-motivation and dedication than a regular 9 to 5 job since you are accountable for yourself.
Freelancing is not for everybody. Make sure it is the right choice for you, according to Ariana Green in a blog published in HBR. Do not be tempted by the perks of working from home since it actually involves tough work. One needs to assess their ability to work without supervision, resilience and comfort while scouting around for new projects. Some time will also have to be devoted to all your own legal, administrative and financial issues. Budget these in as well to ensure you utilize your time efficiently.
In conclusion, maintaining productivity while working independently may sometimes be more difficult than your regular job because of the freedom and flexibility involved. However, discipline and planning can help a long way in not only boosting efficiency but your income and professional development as well.