Unproductive habits can make or mar your career as a freelancer.
Freelancing can be very rewarding. As a freelancer, you would enjoy the benefits of setting up your own office, choosing the clients to work with, and deciding when to start your work each day. Nothing beats the relieving feel of this. However, despite the perks of freelancing, it takes genuine intentionality to build a successful freelancing career. If you are a freelancer looking to succeed in your career, here are some unproductive habits you should avoid.
Freelancing is, by nature, very flexible, and in most cases, you don’t have anyone on your neck monitoring your work. As such, it is very easy to develop unproductive habits like procrastination. As a freelancer, you can easily take advantage of the flexibility of your career and procrastinate till the last minute. Procrastination can lead to deadlines bumping into one another. Left unchecked, this habit can affect your overall performance in the business.
One of the ways to avoid unproductive habits like procrastination is to set a calm working environment where you don’t have the TV blaring next to you or your mobile devices calling your attention to activities on social media. Beyond this, you can inculcate some of the tips below into your habit to increase your concentration and avoid unproductive habits.
- Swift off all notifications on your desktop, mobile, or tablet;
- If you can, delete all apps that are distracting you;
- Check your email twice daily;
- Turn off your phone when you are busy.
2. Starting your Work Late
Many successful business owners and freelancers swear that the secret to their success is waking up early to start their activities for the day. Morning larks tend to have higher levels of positive affect and mental health, and this was the case for both younger and older adults, according to the National Library of Medicine.
If you are prone to starting your work late and notice that this affects your overall performance at your job, adjust your waking time. Get up early and start working earlier than you usually do. This can help you get more done in less time.
3. Working 24/7
When the clients start coming, it is very unlikely that you will turn any of them down. In situations like this, you realize you have collected more jobs than you can handle. Knowing your limit and when to say no is one of the keys to avoiding unproductive habits and scaling your career as a freelancer. Know how many jobs you can take and how many clients you can deal with in a given time.
If you find it challenging to turn clients down, you can liaise with other freelancers on platforms like Kominiti and LinkedIn and collaborate with them. That way, you collect the job and outsource it.
You can also create a spreadsheet of all your clients and the rates you charge each. Check if there are any of your clients you could free up to create more time to work on the more lucrative client.
If all clients seem essential, consider increasing your rates. This way, you earn more with few clients. With this, you can pull your expertise into individual jobs.
4. Not Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries would help you avoid overworking yourself and reduce burnout. This is also one of the best ways to avoid unproductive habits. Here are a few ways to apply boundaries as you journey through your freelancing career;
- Establish your “office hours.” Discuss this with your clients, so they know when to reach out to you whenever they want to. But make sure you stick with the time;
- Answer business calls out of office hours if your client pays for 24/7 support;
- If you can’t resist checking and replying to emails on weekends, then get the Boomerang extension for Gmail and write a reply to schedule on Monday.
5. Not Planning and Budgeting Effectively
One of the pertinent challenges freelancers face is getting clients. This is even more for beginner freelancers yet to start landing clients consistently. To avoid the frustration that comes with this challenge, it is advisable to budget and plan effectively. Ensure you set out the amount that would sustain you for a particular time.
Also, while budgeting on how to sustain yourself over some time, plan on how you’ll grow your skill and experience. Lack of skill advancement is one of the unproductive habits affecting many freelancers. Picture where you want to see yourself in the next 1, 3, or 6 months. Gathering as many resources as possible will help you grow your skills and expand your experience.
When sourcing for clients as a new freelancer, don’t be so focused on this that you ignore the importance of upscaling and learning. Proper planning and budgeting help you focus on growing your freelance career. With proper planning, you can easily prevent unproductive habits that can affect your career on the long run.
Sign up on Kominiti here to get jobs as a freelancer or network with other freelancers.