Staying on task.
That sounds boring, doesn’t it? How does someone who’d rather spend their days spontaneously stay on task? It’s not always easy, but it’s not as different from the cubicle world as you’d think.
Find out how you work best
Just like people learn differently from each other, people also work differently. That’s why I find it odd that there’s such an emphasis on work needing to be done in an office. I personally work best when I am trusted to get a job done and done well. As a creative person, I know I need to take time to formulate ideas and work out projects. Working from home allows me to focus on thinking through a project without the interruptions commonly experienced in the office. I can put my phone on silent, turn up the music, start some research, and get in my creative zone. I figured out I usually need music, coffee, and people around. Therefore, I work really well in coffee shops (coffee, laptop, internet, headphones, more coffee, and people around.)
Note: Don’t forget to check your phone periodically or follow up with your clients back in a timely manner!
They happen whether you work for someone else or for yourself. Sometimes I’d rather clean and do the laundry than work. If I let something distract me, it usually means I’m just unsure of how to do a project and I have to throw myself in. If I really can’t stop thinking about getting some errands done, I’ll take a few minutes and write them all down. If I feel overwhelmed by the list, I’ll figure out no more than 5 things I want to get done that day and put the first list aside. After 5 items, I’m not going to get something done as well as I would otherwise and there’s no point in having to do it twice. I use the Getting Things Done methodology to focus on priorities first, perceived priorities second.
I’m gonna hit you with some realism for a second. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. That’s how it is when you freelance. Trust me, this is a motivator. This is also a very positive aspect of working for yourself, you are held accountable for slacking off and any projects you do not produce. Therefore, you will get the job done. Because of this you’re regarded as timely, reliable, and trustworthy. I also feel more accomplished in working this way.