Managing a freelance workload is no easy feat, but the task becomes much more manageable if you can get into “the zone.” This zone of productivity means different things to different people, but everyone can agree that it’s much easier to get things done when your mind is focused on your work. No two people get into their zone the same way, but the following guidelines may help get you there.
Take Care of Yourself
If you’re tired, hungry, or feeling jittery it can be difficult to get your mind in a space where it can focus. If you find yourself getting distracted from you work, take a moment to assess how you feel. Are you feeling too energetic to sit down for several hours? A trip to the gym or a run around the block may release some of your energy. If you find yourself feeling groggy when staring at your computer it may be time to reassess your sleep habits. Take care of your bodily needs before sitting down to work and you’ll find it much easier to slip into a productive zone.
Create a Productive Environment
If your senses are constantly being drawn to non-work related stimulus you may find it difficult to reach that state of flow. Before sitting down to a task, take a moment to clean up your work area. This includes getting rid of clutter as well as eliminating unnecessary noise and distractions. Turn off the phone, shut off your email notifications, and ban yourself from Facebook. If background noise helps you concentrate you may wish to play some quiet music, but turn it off if it becomes distracting.
Set a Time Limit
Knowing you have all day to complete a task doesn’t give you much incentive to start working. Try setting a time limit to complete each task. A kitchen timer may help you visualize how much longer you have to get a job done. If you only have fifteen minutes left to complete a task it’s much easier to focus in on what you’re doing.
Very few people can stay completely focused for hours upon hours. It’s often much more productive to work in burst of an hour or an hour and a half with breaks in between. Think of it as scheduling a bit of procrastination into your schedule. Knowing that you can take a break to check your email or go for a walk is a great incentive to stay focused and in the zone.