Tips to Stay Focused — Don’t Fritter Away Your Freelancing

By Tom Bentley, Contributor, on March 6, 2017

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Wow, look at that crazy tweet! But I wonder if following the link in that new text is even more interesting? And, now, someone just sent me the funniest cat picture on Snapchat! The storm of social media is amusing, entertaining and, occasionally, even informative. But regarding your freelancing productivity? Just say no. Without focus, your freelancing work will fail.

Before we get deep into the best tools and tips to stay focused on work, consider how the power of habit can make for a productive solopreneur. Setting a work routine, for instance, provides excellent structure for productivity. If you’re at your desk at a prescribed hour, and you’ve already outlined the day’s tasks, you’re on a productive path that’s continually enhanced and reinforced by the established routine. And make sure you include leisure time in that pattern — productive minds need refreshment, too.

Apps to Apply Yourself

If you’re a social media maven, moderation is your friend. Tools that encourage and enforce moderation, like RescueTime and Freedom, can help you eliminate access to certain distracting sites (Facebook, anyone?) for periods during the day. And if you set them on your laptop, don’t cheat with your phone! Turn alerts off when you need to turn productivity on.

Besides the start-the-workday outline previously mentioned, create a project calendar to stay focused. Whether electronic or on paper, the ability to see looming deadlines can keep you on track. And if your motivation dwindles, make sure you occasionally reward yourself with a pat on the back.

Get Social, But Get Out

If you’re big on tweeting, use a scheduling program, like Buffer or Hootsuite, so you can gang up on tweets or social posts without needing to manage items individually. Speaking of social, your grab bag of tips to stay focused should include the 80/20 rule, where you promote the smaller percentage of your posts. Connect, don’t simply sell. (And crazed, emotional rants when posting? Not helpful.)

Social engagement on the net is fun and occasionally helpful, but it can also become a time sink and a mortifying pain in the worst cases. Independent contractors have a lot of freedom in their work — one of the greatest benefits of the lifestyle — but if you don’t keep your eyes on the prize, the prize can float away. Try out these various tools and tips to stay focused, and bring that prize home.

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