Friday, July 10, 2009

My Productivity Killers--And How to Deal

Working for yourself, you're directly accountable to yourself for how much you produce and how much you make. The more I can work in a day, the more successful I'll be. if I don't get everything done in a day and leave time for marketing and other business tasks, I don't give myself enough opportunity for success during the day.

Sometimes my day goes smoothly--and I get everything done that I want done. Other times, I get stuck on a single project I thought would take an hour--and it winds up taking all day. Sometimes this has more to do with my focus than the difficulty of the work. Here are a few things that never fail to distract me--and how I deal with them.

The Internet. The Internet is a necessary evil. I need it to communicate with clients and market, but I also can get drawn into a great time-wasting vortex. Between blogging, my forays into social networking, checking email incessantly, and playing around on Facebook stalking people I haven't seen since high school (come on, you know you do that too) when I should be working, sometimes I can lose hours to the Internet without realizing I'm doing it. Sometimes I need Internet access for certain projects, but with projects that don't need online research, I sometimes head out to a cafe that doesn't have free Internet--just so I can stay focused.

The phone. My friends and family know I work from home--and they know they can reach me in the afternoons. I love spending time catching up with the people I care about--but not when I'm in the middle of a project. Of course, the diplomacy is tricky--they know I make my own schedule, so I always worry they assume I could talk if I wanted--so I tend to stay on longer than I should, just to be nice. Being nice isn't always the best for your business, though....

The work! Sometimes there's just so much to do that I can't focus on a single thing. I start one project and then worry that I'll never get time to finish the next one. So I start switching from project to project, never really focusing or finishing. To combat this, I make a lot of lists--and get a kind of perverse joy from crossing things off them.

A late start. The worst productivity-killer for me is getting up late. Nobody's demanding I show up to work by a certain time in the morning. Still, most of the time I try to get up early enough so that I have a whole day to get things done. Sometimes life doesn't work out that way, though--and just going to bed an hour later than usual can cause me to wake up later and lose considerable work time.

As freelancers, we're responsible for our own success--and part of that, for me, is making sure I have enough time to do everything that needs doing. And there are still more things I want to do than I have time for.

What are your productivity killers--and how do you deal with them?


Freelance Writing said...

I agree. There are many writers around who knows these reasons, but dont realize how badly these factors can effect their productivity. I think, the only way to realize the necessity of dealing these productivity killers is to trying it. The differences could be seen easily.


Anonymous said...

I'm suffering from one of the time wasters now. I love your posts and tell myself that this is part of the research and learning cycle. The other side of me recognizes that I could doing this at night after all of the billable stuff is done.