I'm in the midst of a freelance work experiment. Instead of trying to be productive the same amount each day, I'm working in bursts.
In light of my recent motivation issues, I'm trying something new with my freelance work schedule.
I'm experimenting with working in bursts.
Freelance Work and Bursts of Productivity
The big advantage of freelance work is that it's flexible. While there are some posts that have to be written on certain days, and while there are deadlines to meet, the truth is that most of my writing is flexible in terms of when it needs to be turned in.
As a result, even though I have my days scheduled out with various posts for several clients, I don't actually have the posts written on those days. In many cases, my posts are scheduled out weeks later. Why should I stress myself out trying to make sure I get all of those posts done on a day when I've got errands to run and things to do with my son?
My new freelance work experiment is working in bursts, when I feel like it. So, when I feel energized, I sit down and do as much as I can. Sometimes this means working ahead — which is awesome. And, if I'm not feeling the motivation, I don't have to try and force myself to be productive.
Is It Working?
So far, I think that it's working reasonably well. At times when I'm focused, I avoid social media and my email inbox. I even ignore my buddies on Skype. I just sit down and write.
I'm accomplishing much more, and I have time to work on two side projects that I've wanted to get involved with for the last two years. I'm finally just going for it, and I have time. A lot of it is due to the fact that if I don't feel like doing the “work” part of my freelance position, I just switch over to the projects I'm super-excited about.
I've been on this (non)schedule for two weeks, and so far, I really like it. My work is getting done, I'm making progress on my other projects, and I have time for the other things that I like to do in my life.
Taking Care of Myself and Freelance Productivity
Also helping my productivity situation is my renewed commitment to take care of myself. I'm exercising again, and eating healthier. I made some good progress between last summer and Christmas, and then my health and my de-motivation took it's toll.
For the last two weeks, I combined my freelance work experiment with getting back to taking care of myself. I start each morning with yoga, and then I do some cardio/strength training. I signed up with the gym, and I'm back to swimming twice a week (which I love). I've started meditating again, and I'm not eating nearly as much junk.
The result is that I feel better, and more ready to tackle my freelance work and my side projects. I think this combination of work, plus adding the focus on my health, is providing me with just what I need to get back into gear.
Do you ever experiment with your work schedule? What helps keep you motivated and on top of things?
0 thoughts on “Freelance Work Experiment: Bursts of Productivity”
Great insight; we have the misconception, I think, that we have to be continually working to be “hard workers.” Great post, Miranda.
Staying productive is always a challenge, and I’m constantly trying new things. When I find something that works, I do my best to stick with it.
I’ve found improvement lately in the speed I can write by telling myself I can finish a blog post in an hour. Before, I’d tell myself writing this fast wasn’t possible. But believing I can do it faster actually makes a big difference!
I also decided I’m just not an early-morning work. So, I’ve adapted my workday accordingly, and I’m more likely to work something like 11a-7p instead of trying to box myself in to a 9-5 like everyone else.
Adapting your workday is really important. You have to figure out when you’re going to be the most productive, and then work those hours. I like how you believe in yourself, too. That can be a big deal. You really do need to have some confidence if you want to succeed in just about anything.
I try to do this to a degree. I find that I am most focused in the early morning, when I don’t have any distractions. I get up around 5am and start work by 6. I work from home, so once my young children are up (usually around 7) there are a lot of distractions. By the end of the day, I’m struggling to focus on big projects, so I focus on little things such as updates, email, etc. There is a lot of experimentation that goes on, and I find that I change as well. The key is to try and look from the outside and be objective (easier said than done!).
That’s so true! In a way, it really is a work in progress. We all change, and sometimes that means that your work schedule changes, too.