“As captain of your own ship – or dinghy – half the battle is convincing yourself that what you do is legit.”
If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or artist you’ll appreciate how difficult it can be to keep regular hours and make them count.
In the second part of our ‘5 Hot Productivity Tips for Lone ‘Freelance’ Rangers’ blog post, Iconic Offices part-time in-house writer, Rayne Attwood, helps you to avoid those minefields of distractions. Beware… there are tips on how to recreate the ambient sound of a café involved!
1. WORKSPACE OCD
The novelist Graham Green had a London office only he knew the location of. He didn’t want to be disturbed, but he also wanted complete ownership and control over his work environment. You don’t have to pony up for your own secret office to reap the benefits of a healthy dose of workspace OCD. Find out what works for you, and make it happen. Some people feel most creative at home on their own sofa. Others prefer a busy, energized space. If you’re a millennial, chances are you cut your free-lance teeth working in cafes. Budgetary concerns might keep you at home these days but if you miss the hubbub of a cafe, try this slightly embarrassing but undeniably handy site.
Keep your space clear of everything that doesn’t belong to your work life. Don’t use the space for anything else. Hotdesking poses new challenges for workspace obsessives, but nothing you can’t handle. Be ‘that person’ who nabs the same desk every day. If that’s not possible, a different desk facing the same window every day can make the view start to mean ‘work’ to you.
2. BE A BOSS (OR IF YOU CAN’T, ASSIGN ONE)
Working for yourself means being your own boss. Do this actively – BE your own boss. Set short-term goals and keep tabs on whether you’re on track to achieving them. Log your hours. Schedule weekly or monthly catch ups (yes, with yourself). If you find it hard to be accountable, buddy up with a coworking friend who’s willing to crack the whip. Remember, you have to measure it to improve it. Give one these goal setting apps a go.
3. KNOW WHEN TO STOP
Solo workers need to be vigilant against the brain sneakily suggesting reasons to stop working. That said, here’s a good reason to stop: you’ve been
working for hours and you feel like you could keep going all day/night. When you’re on a roll it can be tempting to ignore tiredness, stopping only when your left eyelid droops lower than the right, but even if you’re feeling good when you’re tired, you’re no longer doing your best work. What’s worse: you’re cutting into tomorrow’s session.
4. DRESS UP
Towelling bath robe or three-piece suit: your outfit should make you feel Like a Boss. Leaving the suit in the closet can be liberating if you’ve just escaped the rat race to pursue your dream, but many artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs swear by the ritual of dressing up to sit down to work. The way you dress can make you feel powerful, and even affect your creativity and cognitive functioning. Whatever your style, looking sharp during your business hours can signal to you and others that your time is valuable.
5. BECOME AN ACTUAL THING
As captain of your own ship—or dinghy—half the battle is convincing yourself that what you do is legit. A recognized qualification can be a real boost, even if you already know your trade from experience. Formal training can complement your knowledge, help you brush up on your skills, and increase your investment in the work that you do. Register your business. Get yourself a sexy website, start a blog, and go on: add your work to your social media account. I’ll confess this last piece of advice is aimed at myself. My website is now under construction. Yikes!
Written by Rayne Attwood – Freelance Journalist
Rayne works part-time wherever the Iconic crew needs extra hands. During the other ‘part’ of her time, she writes fiction, copy and web content. She is working on her second novel. Her first novel, like all the best first novels, is now in the bin.