Staying Productive as a Freelancer

Previously, I have posted articles and tips on Time Management and how apps increase my productivity. However, being a freelancer, time is pretty much controlled by yourself. Unless, of course, your clients dictate on the time you need to work, otherwise, it is pretty much left to individuals to manage their time as long as work gets done and projects get submitted right on time.

Many of you have wondered how I managed to post an article almost every day and still have time for my clients, my family (not forgetting my attention demanding kittens) and myself. My clients sometimes wonder as well and often pop the question how did I manage to juggle it all. Today, I shall share my secrets and see if you are able to apply these tricks to your daily lives as well.

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Work Anywhere and Everywhere
As I’m writing this, I’m slurping my noodles in a cafe while furiously typing away my words as it flew through my mind. I don’t do this when I’m having a meal with someone else, only when I’m eating alone, then my mobile becomes my best friends. Of course, I will soak in the atmosphere of my surroundings, people watch and trigger my inspiration but once my words start flowing in, it is almost impossible to stop.

It can be writing for MiddleMe or articles for my clients. I find that my inspiration comes easily when I am surrounded by interesting sights and sounds. If I ever have a writer’s block (which is not often), my antidote is doing a few laps at the pool to clear my mind. But I will write and #workanywhere and everywhere, be it on the way to do my groceries or wait in a queue or even squatting in front of my kittens’ litter box, waiting for Sunny or Matcha to finish their business so I can clear their poop.

Make Use of Technologies
To enable me to do this efficiently and effectively, I rely heavily on apps. Those who work with me before knows I can’t stand laziness in technology. I have two laptops and a display to facilitate my needs. I have just upgraded my internet bandwidth from 100mbps to 300mbps fiber to ensure smoother connectivity so I can work faster and play more.

I write on my mobile using Apple Notes and save it on my iCloud to share with my MacBook Air. I use Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox to share docs with my clients. For client communication, I have Skype, Zoiper, Slack, Telegram, WeChat, and Whatsapp. For task assignment and planning, I have Asana and iCal.

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Know Your Priorities
The best way to manage your time is to know your priorities. Whether it is queuing your tasks or placing your interest, knowing what is important to you makes it easier for you to schedule your time.

Don’t Overpromise
Hands up if you hate sales folks who doesn’t keep their promise. Don’t be one of them when you sell your service to your clients.

Let me illustrate an example of my own:
A client wants an urgent work to be done, the estimated time needed for that amount of work takes 2 days, I would rather tell my client I need 3 days. I calculated in the extra one day in case of emergency or any urgent task that takes me away from my client’s project. However, I will endeavor to complete the work in one day.

Ask for Help
Say this after me: “I am not Superman and even I am, I can’t do everything on my own, I may need Batman and WonderWoman’s help.” It is important to acknowledge your limitations and ask for help. Sometimes I encounter problems with my client’s project, without disclosing anything confidential, I asked folks around to teach and guide me. That’s how I manage to learn and grow as well!!

Be Open for Collaboration
MiddleMe is a niche and successful platform, every now and then I do get fellow followers like asking if I want to do a collaboration or a guest post. Instead of being selfish and hogging the limelight to yourself, think of the different dimensions you will bring to your audience.

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Plan Your Free Time Ahead
I planned all my time carefully, even my free time. Instead of wasting my free time, I planned things that I enjoy doing like socializing with my friends or playing with my kittens or taking a nap.

Block A “Me” Time Slot
Talking about taking a nap in the afternoons, I value my “Me” time and I think it is extremely important. It allows you to recharge your mind and rest your body as well. When I was working in the corporate world, I block off my lunch and dinner hour to be my “Me” time, choosing carefully who I ate lunch with and whether I want to combine the lunchtime with a meeting.

As a freelancer, I stop taking projects that require working on weekends (with the exception of urgent ones) to spend more time with my family and myself. Instead of working from 9am to 6pm, I have interval breaks in the afternoon to recharge. Usually, I work from 9am to 12noon, then come back to work from 3pm to 7pm and 9pm to midnight.

I am ending this post with a sip of my coconut juice under the sweltering heat of Malaysia! Share your thoughts and tips with me at the comments below… I might just offer you a sip of my coconut juice!!

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30 comments

  1. Although I don’t ‘work’ anymore, I still have so many things to do and I use lists. When I feel overwhelmed, I use the calendar in Outlook to plan my ‘things-to-do’.
    It isn’t very healthy to eat and work/read/watch TV/etc at the same time, but since I also eat alone during the day, I too combine these activities 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice mentioning of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Yes, we can’t do everything on our own as we will definitely require a helping hand (or hands) in our work.
    Me Time is so much crucial! Totally agree with you here. On weekdays, my “me time” is all about playing with my son and spending time with family. Plus, somehow I manage to stay in-touch with the world, thanks to my phone.
    On weekends, apart from my weekdays “me time” activities, I manage to watch a movie or two.

    Liked by 1 person

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