Working from home with the option (I say, 'option' because it isn't a reality for me!) to slob around in your PJs; what's not to love? I'll start with the main drawback to my life as a freelance copywriter: staying focused.
While I've never missed a deadline and I pride myself on the fact I 'under-promise and over-deliver', motivating one's self (oooh, I sounded like the Queen for a second there!) can be tough. And the reason for that is this: without the threat of a boss man (or woman!) hovering over your desk at a second's notice, copywriters like myself can notice that the urge to put fingers to keyboard can wane a little, with the lure of Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube, poking its cheeky little head into view.
So, in the absence of a boss (oh wait, that's me!) and a lack of colleagues tapping away at their computers to spur me on, how do I get stuff done?
Nothing is as important to me as meeting my clients' deadlines and exceeding their expectations, so here's what I do:
1. I Work in Threes
Now I don't mean I work with two other people; rather my to-do list never contains more than a trio of items. Plenty of people will attest that this works. And hey, it works for me too - so it shall long remain one of my top productivity tactics - until someone introduces me to another one.
2. I Set Alarms
If I have more than one project on the go, I divide each into timeframes - and set an alarm on my phone to ensure I only work for, say, three hours at a time on one job. That way, my mind is clearer (better for ensuring the ideas keep flowing) when I revisit a piece of work - and it helps me keep better track of hours spent per project, too.
3. I Keep a Routine
So, the hardest part of a freelancer's life is sticking to a routine. While you may begin the day with good intentions (with plans to get up at 7am, and take the long (joke) work commute from bedroom to your study by 9am) it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes, you'll find yourself downing tools at 3pm, taking an extended break, and then working until 11pm. It isn't always the best way to work; keeping to 9-5 hours is the best thing you can do for your motivation as a freelancer - and your social life!
4. I Get Out of the House
Being stuck indoors and communicating with NO ONE (sob!) is no good for your motivation levels - or your soul. So, I make sure I take at least one trip out during the day - even if it's just a walk around the block. It gives me that little burst of energy when I've been staring at my laptop all day, and it's even how I formulate many of my ideas for clients' websites.
And when I'm really pushed for time...
5. I Get TOTALLY Serious About Things...
...and deny myself a tea and biscuit break, a slice of cake; even a trip to the toilet. I'll tell myself: 'no, Lauren. You're not putting the kettle on, or going to the loo - not until you write another paragraph.' It may seem harsh - and possibly even a notch crazy - but hey, being your own boss can be tough; you've got to find the motivation from somewhere.
How do you stay focused when freelancing? It'd be good to pick up some more tips here at Lauren Holden Freelance. Why not comment on this blog with your own freelance copywriting tips and we can all learn from each other, eh?
Until next time...