Freelancing and side hustling are great ways to make extra cash. They can help you achieve you goals, or even your life long dream of working for yourself.
Whatever your reason for doing the side hustle, you probably know as well as I do that it takes a ton of work, dedication and commitment.
Sometimes it’s harder to find the motivation to freelance, and sometimes it’s hard to be as productive as we can possibly be. I’ve been using my blog as my primary side hustle since August of 2012, and here are some of my tips for staying productive while freelancing.
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Sometimes I have a hard time staying on task while doing my freelance work. The lure of Facebook, Twitter and checking blog comments can get pretty strong when I’m supposed to be doing productive things like writing articles. This affliction isn’t limited to freelancers and can be the same time sink for people pursuing an mba online, completing a project at work, or studying for the LSAT.
Schedule Your Time
If I have a lot of tasks to complete in one day, I’ll schedule my time into manageable hourly chunks, including breaks. This helps a night of freelancing work seem less like a huge task and more like a few, small, manageable tasks. This helps because it makes the work seem less daunting, so I’m less likely to procrastinate.
Keep a Log of Tasks Accomplished
I love having a to-do list. Even better, I love crossing things off my to do list. So, whenever I get something done related to my side hustle, I make sure to cross it off my list. This shows me how much I’ve actually gotten done over the past day, week, or month, so that I have real, measurable results that I can be proud of.
Time Is Money
Possibly the best way that I stay productive when I’m working on my side hustle is to figure out the value of my time. Although I get paid differently for different types of work, I’ve figured out how much an hour of my time is worth. So, if I screw around for 20 minutes on Facebook when I’m supposed to be doing something productive like getting a staff post done (that’s never happened before), I know that I’m basically tossing X number of dollars down the drain.
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
After an afternoon, morning, or evening of successful side hustling, I like to reward myself. It doesn’t have to be anything big, a cup of tea, or a cookie will do. Mostly it’s to put a definitive end to working, and to signify the beginning of relaxation time. Having a separation between work and play is important otherwise I find myself thinking about work when I should be relaxing.
Having a decent side hustle can have so many benefits. It can help you pay off debt faster, reach your savings goals, or supplement a lagging full-time job. I find being productive at side hustles to be tough sometimes, but by using my time as productively as possible, I can maximize my efficiency, and therefore, my income.
What are you tips and tricks to staying productive while freelancing?
DC@Young Adult Money says
I think rewarding yourself is a BIG one. I will go to a coffee shop once or twice a week to work and in a not-so-frugal way purchase their overpriced drinks : ) It's a reward, though, for spending my free time on my side hustle since it really does require a lot of sacrifice.
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Discipline is the key. Good point on knowing the value of your time. I also actively seek out alternate sources of income when I'm not working on a freelancing job!
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The Norwegian Girl says
Making a time plan and having rewards are really good points! It´s always very helpful for me to have a list of tasks and cross out one by one as they´ve been accomplished. These ideas are great for any kind of productive work, like studying.
I don't freelance but I think being organized is a huge priority for any of you that do. Time is money so planning and sticking to the goal instead of being distracted helps to bring out the best work. I know when Im writing I have to shut down my email and social media because they are simply distractions which hold me back from concentrating to my fullest potential.
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I agree with these. I try to make a schedule of what I hope to accomplish for the next day. That way I don't end up slacking!!!
Great ideas, Jordann. I'm a bit ADDish, so I always "reward" myself with a few minutes of browsing the Net for fun, taking a break, whatever, and then force myself to get back into work mode. If I don't take breaks like that, then I'm pretty useless at working. 🙂
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I think setting aside blocks of time where you're not in your usual location. I like panera bread or Barnes and noble for the wifi and comfy chairs. =)
Matt Becker says
Really great tips. The list of possible distractions is never-ending. I try to focus on specific tasks, like you mentioned. Working on only a single task to completion is really a great way to focus. I like the idea of turning off internet and phone when writing. I might have to try that.
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John S @ Frugal Rules says
Cutting out distractions & scheduling are HUGE ones for us. We have enough distractions with the kids running around that the last thing I need to be doing is checking out what's going on in the stock market or on ESPN. Time definitely is money and you have to be mindful of that.
I do the majority of my writing on Saturday & Sunday mornings. The television stays off until 2 or 3. I also make sure that my cell phone is on silent as well.
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I get so distracted when freelancing, it's bad! I try to not go on social media when doing so, but it doesn't always work out! haha
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I screw around a LOT on facebook, love the tip about thinking of that time as money!
KC @ genxfinance says
I agree with moneycone, if you have the discipline and realize that time is money, then you can do your job on time without having to procrastinate.
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I need to work on eliminating distractions! Facebook is just too time consuming. And now I'm addicted to Instagram!
My recent post Staying Productive While Freelancing
Even though I just started blogging, I can already see how social media and distractions are so detrimental. Last night I was trying to write a post and my boyfriend kept talking to me and I couldn't focus. I really like getting any type of work done in a library-type atmosphere. When I was in college I always went there to escape and get some peace and quiet!
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Mike Collins says
Lists! At the end of the day I make a short list with just a couple of key tasks to complete the next day. That helps me stay focused so I can get those important tasks out of the way before I get distracted.
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Nick @ AYoungPro.com says
When I worked from home full-time it was usually pretty hard to stay motivated. Eliminating distractions was a huge for me because of my ADD. 🙂
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Crystal @ PET says
You make a great point on rewarding yourself so that there is a clear break between working and not working. For me, it's dinner, tv, or hanging out with friends.
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I am the world's worst prevaricator but sometimes things do take rather longer than you anticipate. So I occasionally reward myself if I have been slogging away at a technical problem with a short burst of Facebook or a coffee from our bean-to-cup machine but I don't 'punish' myself for wasting time! There should be some symmetry around!
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Simple Living says
All great tips and very important in keeping yourself from burning out.
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Debt Gone says
Discipline and task tracking is huge. I have found that I need a physical paper and a pen to function best: I dump everything onto the paper and at the end of the day transfer anything important onto my calendar/Excel/Gmail to set further task.
Great post Jordann!
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