I love being able to work from home, but it’s been a big adjustment from working in an office. There are fewer meetings and no one knocks on my door to bug me throughout the day, but there are distractions of another kind. The internet kind…
I can’t avoid the internet completely because my job is the internet. I need Google to do research for blog posts and for the copy writing work I do for clients, I need email to stay in touch with my mom and my clients, and I need social media to promote blog posts.
So even though I can’t turn off the internet when I need to hunker down and get things done, I have come up with some really helpful freelance productivity tips to boost my efficiency. I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a long time, but I kept stalling. Will it even be credible if I’m still working it all out myself? But aren’t we all just figuring life out day by day?
So without further ado…
Productivity Tips for Freelancers!
Tips for those who just need a little nudge to stay on track:
If you work from home, keep your work in your office. When you’re not working, leave your computer at your workspace to create separation between work time and leisure time. If you don’t have an office with a door you can close, try to designate a small corner just for your work, ideally with a table and chair.
When you’re working, put your phone on airplane mode in another room. If you can’t do that because of kids or other potential emergency situations, do this:
- Turn off all your push notifications. And I mean ALL.
- Add important people as “favorites”, then change your ringer settings so that only calls from people saved as favorites will ring through.
- While working, keep your phone on mute and flipped upside down so any popups on the lock screen won’t distract you.
Remove social media bookmarks from your browser bookmarks bar. If you need social media for your job, edit the bookmark’s URL so that it directs you to your work-related social media page when you click on it. Here’s how:
Turn off desktop notifications for everything. Yes, everything, including email. You don’t need them. If someone needs you that urgently, they can call.
Decide on an email checking frequency (every hour on the hour, every two hours, etc.) and stick to it. I’m watching you. 👀
Get organized in general. Here’s a post where I shared my favorite organization apps like Todoist for keeping track of tasks and TripIt for organizing travel plans.
Hardcore tips for incorrigible internet addicts like myself:
Designate specific email checking time slots and only check it during those slots. I mean it!
And la pièce de résistance…install and use SelfControl app. This app is indispensable for the times you really mean business and need to limit your access to internet-based distractions.
In the settings, you tell SelfControl which sites to block, then you set a timer for as long as desired. Until the timer runs out, the app blocks your internet access to the blacklisted sites, and there’s NO WAY to get around it. This app is the answer for those times your brain just feels like hopping around on social media when you really need to get things done. Highly, highly recommend it.
So tell me, what do you do to help combat the allure of the internet while you’re working?