Freelance Productivity Experiment: Making Time for What You Want to Do

My latest freelance productivity experiment: Scheduling time for what I want to do, as well as for what I have to do.

One of my goals for 2014 is to work less. As I’ve considered how I can accomplish this goal, beyond charging more for my work, I’ve thought about how I can ensure that I stop work so that I can work on some of my non-writing goals for the coming year.

I’ve toyed with different freelance productivity strategies in recent years. As a result, I’ve begun working in bursts, incorporating a version of the Pomodoro technique as part of the effort.

That hasn’t been enough to steer me toward some of my other preferred activities, however. In many cases, I’ll keep working, or get distracted by something, even though what I want to do is make time for music practice or exercise, or something else.

My desire to change things up and create more time for other activities has led to another freelance productivity experiment. But this time it’s less about working more hours, and more about stopping work and doing something else.

Scheduling Time for What I Want To Do

Not too long ago, my husband pointed the following out to me: “When you have more planned, you often work more effectively because you have no choice but to fit it all in.” He’s got a Ph.D. in Psychology and often has interesting insights into motivation.

I realized that he’s right. After I resigned myself to the fact that I’m at my most productive in the morning, I scheduled other things I wanted to do for after lunch. Exercise (including two or three trips to the pool each week), practice at the piano and guitar, and other pursuits are for the afternoon. I can work on them before my son gets home from school, and then have time to help him with his homework and his own practice.

Putting together this schedule has, so far, worked well for me. My husband was right that creating a list of things to do later in the day encourages me in the morning. In order to finish my productivity burst ahead of my afternoon pursuits, I need to focus.

I’m surprised at how much I get done in the morning when I have something to look forward to in the afternoon. I’m on track to work less as a result, and I’ve even done enough that I can take a couple of extra “reset days” during the month if I need them.

This freelance productivity experiment has been added to the other strategies I’ve been trying, and so far the schedule has been full of win.

What’s your favorite productivity strategy? How do you get more done in less time?

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