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20 Tips for Increasing Your Productivity When Freelancing

20 Tips for Increasing Your Productivity When Freelancing

Whether you’re self-employed or a freelancer, productivity is one of the most important metrics by which you measure business success. But you're probably not alone if you struggle to get things done.

Freelancing is one of the most sought-after career paths in today’s workforce. It’s a career that allows you to set your schedule, take advantage of flexible hours and earn a decent income without working a 9-to-5 desk job. 

However, this flexibility comes with its own set of challenges. Many of you may wonder how to improve your productivity when freelancing or how to make it work for you when you’re working as a remote freelancer. 

This article will cover 20 tips to help you increase your freelancing productivity. Read on to learn how to be more productive and effective and work more efficiently.

If you’re not using these productivity hacks when you freelance, you’re missing out on extra cash, a happier work environment, and more time spent with the people you love.

1 – Take Notes During Meetings

When you take notes during a meeting, you can remember more information than just listening to the conversation. For example, you can take notes on essential people, ideas, and business questions you hear being discussed. 

Even if you aren’t writing, you can use your notes to remind you of what you heard during the meeting. If you can take notes, you are less likely to forget what was said. 

It is easier to remember a point if you can write it down rather than listen to it and recall it later. A study found that people who took notes had a 35 per cent higher rate of getting their questions answered than those who didn’t take notes.

2 – Stay on Top of Your Emails

Productivity When Freelancing Inbox Zero Email

Many people use the “inbox zero” system to keep track of their business email. If you do that, you must check your email once an hour. 

You can set your computer to check your email every 15 minutes. Or you can create a Gmail notification for your smartphone that will check every hour. It’s very convenient, especially if you want to clean your inbox. 

If you want to check your email more often, you can add a reminder to your calendar. You’ll remember to check your email every 10 minutes or so. Remember never to click on suspicious links or provide personal information over email. And, of course, always be cautious about phishing attempts. Deleting all emails on Gmail might be necessary sometimes, but exercise caution and ensure you're not inadvertently deleting important information.

3 – Always Have a Plan

You may think you don’t like doing what you’re told, but you probably would have done it anyway. It’s better to be told than to sit around wondering what to do. 

This will increase your productivity, and you will accomplish more in a shorter period. It would be best if you focused on getting things done. 

There are so many things that you need to do. Some people say that they aren’t going to do it because it isn’t worth it. That’s why they don’t follow through with what they say they will do. 

It’s essential to do what you say you will do. Doing what you say you are going to do will increase your productivity. The same thing goes for those who want to be successful. They should make a list of everything they need to do each day. Then, they should get to work on them right away.

4 – Use Email as a Buffer

If you’re looking to increase productivity when freelancing, thinking about your email usage can be helpful. The reason is that people often send emails to one another instead of using other communication channels like phone calls, instant messages, and even face-to-face conversations. 

That can be helpful for several reasons. For example, email is much less expensive than other communication types, and it’s easy to write down things quickly and send them. 

However, email isn’t the best channel for communicating. It’s great for sharing information with someone, but it doesn’t work well for discussing personal issues.

5 – Schedule One Day a Week for Meetings

Weekly Check In Meetings

You don’t need to spend all day every day working. You can schedule meetings one day a week and do some serious time management. This is essential because many people fail to recognise the value of meeting their commitments. 

Scheduling a daily meeting is a lot of work. It forces you to keep up with all your meetings and ensure no one else gets left out. However, one day a week can free you to get stuff done, meet deadlines, and finish projects.

6 – Use Tools to Manage Projects

One of the best ways to manage projects is to use project management tools. These tools allow you to set goals, assign tasks, monitor progress, assign time for each task, and provide an overall status. 

These tools make project planning, managing, and communication easier and faster. Most project management tools allow you to create different projects for different types of clients.

7 – Track Project Time

Freelancing is hard work. If you don’t want to have too many clients simultaneously, it is a good idea only to take one or two jobs at a time. This is how you can manage your time better to increase productivity when freelancing. 

You can do this by tracking project time. Tracking project time is helpful to keep track of how long you spend on a particular project. This gives you insight into how much time you need to spend on future projects. Couple your project management tools with any of the best Mac time trackers online to ensure you don't spend too much time on an individual task while leaving the others out.

You can also use project tracking to help you stay on budget. If you are working with a client with a tight deadline, you can ensure you stick to your schedule by tracking your project time. You mustn’t work on other projects until you have completed your current project.

8 – Prioritise Projects

Eisenhower Matrix Project Management Tool

Many freelancers are stressed because they don’t prioritise their workload. It is important to remember that freelancers are not like regular employees whose bosses give tasks. Instead, they have the freedom to do what they want. 

They can choose to work on whatever project they want and work whenever they feel like it. This makes freelancing more challenging than a regular job because they don’t have a boss to tell them what and how to do it.

9 – Schedule Regular Workouts or Breaks

There are lots of ways to take a break. You can plan a regular daily coffee break, take a short walk during lunch, or stop working and take a little break. Sometimes, taking a break is just as important as working. 

Taking a break allows you to relax and refocus. Taking a break can also be good if you work for yourself. Many freelancers have to work late into the night, so they sometimes don’t stop until the last minute. They forget to take breaks, which reduces productivity when freelancing. When you take breaks, you get more done in less time. This makes you more efficient and effective.

Related:  The Evolution of the Iconic IBM Logo Design

10 – Keep Your Clients Informed

While freelancing, keeping clients informed of your progress and development in the project is vital. Clients expect their projects to be done on time, especially if they’re paying for them. 

However, some clients might be reluctant to pay if they feel you’re not taking it seriously or are slacking off. So, when working on a freelance project, make sure that you keep the client updated. 

If you do not update your client, they might think you’re not taking it seriously, leading to stress and tension between both parties.

11 – Have A System For Client Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open, transparent, and organised is essential. Doing this will make it easier to understand the information provided and help you keep on top of things.

As I mentioned, some clients expect to be contacted by email, while others expect a phone call. Whether you prefer to communicate by phone or email, ensure that you’re keeping the lines of communication open and that your communication methods are easy to follow and accessible to all parties involved.

Doing this will make it easier to understand the information provided and help you keep on top of things. So remember to keep the lines of communication open; that way, you can avoid any issues that may arise during the communication process.

12 – Set Deadlines

“Give yourself deadlines,” says Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. “If you’re not going to give yourself deadlines for something, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You have to be able to say: ‘I’m going to write this article for two hours. I’m going to have lunch. I’ll return in two hours and keep working until it’s done.’ No excuses.”

Freelancers often use this tactic when abundant work is available but cannot handle everything at once. 

In other words, freelancers have to juggle multiple projects. They might set weekly or monthly deadlines for themselves to ensure they finish each project within those deadlines.

13 – Be Flexible

Millennial Freelancer Tools

You’re likely to feel stressed and overworked if you’re working from home or for a client. So, when freelancing, you should be mindful of your daily schedule and what you need to work on so you don’t fall behind and become overwhelmed. The trick to this is flexibility. 

Know that your business may shift at any time, and adapt accordingly. The most productive freelancers have flexible hours but know when to put their foot down when their clients push too hard. 

This may mean you must accept more projects than initially expected or lower pay for fewer hours, leading to tremendous success.

14 – Have A Clear Process For Each Project

To achieve your goal, you must plan. Before you begin to work on your project, think about the tasks you will need to complete and how you will do them. You need to plan precisely what you want and how you will do it. 

If you don’t plan, you might miss essential steps and forget to perform crucial tasks. Make a list of everything you need to do before completing the project. 

You have too much on your plate if you can’t figure out what to do first. It would help if you prioritised what you needed to do and only worked on one thing at a time.

15 – Don’t Start a New Project Until You Have an Estimated Finish Date

Please don’t start a project unless you know how long it will take to finish. You will be more likely to procrastinate if you don’t have a goal. 

Procrastination usually occurs because we are too lazy to work on a task we don’t want to do. The problem is that we don’t accomplish much, and it is often too late to start a project. 

If you don’t start early enough, you won’t be able to complete a project on time. There will be so many distractions, and you might find that you won’t be able to stick with the project until it is completed. 

You won't know when to stop if you don’t have a deadline. That’s why you should have a goal to work towards. For example, if you want to make your own company, you must devise a deadline. You will be less likely to procrastinate if you set a specific deadline.

16 – Don’t Start A New Project Unless You Have The Plan To Complete It

I am a big proponent of working on projects. Whether it’s a side hustle, a business, or a passion project, I can’t stand to see people start a new project without having a plan to complete it. 

Why? Because if you don’t have a plan to finish something, you’re essentially throwing away your money, time, and effort into a dead end. If there isn’t any real benefit to starting something new, there’s no reason to spend time on it.

17 – Break Down Projects Into Smaller Tasks

Productivity When Freelancing Subtasks

When working on a project that needs to be completed, it might seem that you can only do one thing at a time. But it’s better to break the project down into smaller tasks. 

Breaking a big project into several smaller ones is one of the most effective ways to get things done quickly and efficiently. It’s much easier to manage once you’ve broken the project into several smaller tasks. 

Once you have a series of small tasks, you can see the results of each task every day. You can measure progress and tweak tasks as needed. 

And if you’re having trouble getting started, you can always start with the first task of the series and complete it before moving on to the second task.

18 – Make Sure All Your Projects Are Organised

I always recommend that freelancers organise their workload. They need to set aside time to work on projects, but they should also have some free time to relax and spend time with friends and family. 

It’s essential to keep track of your projects to avoid falling behind. You can organise your work using a spreadsheet. Make a separate row for each project you are working on. Then, make a row for each task you must complete on that project. Make sure you note down when you started on each task. 

Don’t forget to note the time it took to complete the task. Make sure to set aside time to work on your projects. 

It’s good to relax once in a while, too. After all, no work is fun, but you should make time for it.

19 – Keep A List of Things To Do On Each Day

One of the hardest things to do in life is starting with a blank slate daily. You don’t want to worry about anything when you begin each day. But, to get the most out of your day, you must put some things first. 

Creating a daily to-do list is the best way to organise your schedule. Your to-do list should include everything you need to complete that day, including minor tasks. 

After completing your morning checklist, you can use the rest of the day to pursue your highest priorities. You may have trouble starting your day with a blank slate, but you can. 

Start your day by writing down your short-term goals and your long-term plans. Use a simple checklist to keep your priorities in order.

20 – Keep a List of What’s Due Tomorrow

It’s not just about the time you spend at your desk but the time you spend away from it. Much time is spent commuting to and from clients, sitting in waiting rooms, driving to meetings, etc. 

It’s easier to be productive if you can walk in the door knowing what needs to be done. Whether you’re travelling or taking the day off for a family event, keep a list of what needs to be done that day or that week. 

This could include filing documents, answering client emails, or any other task that must be accomplished. Ensure you keep it where you’ll see it first when you walk in the door.


In conclusion, your productivity when freelancing is all about mindset. You can’t expect to increase your productivity if you don’t treat your freelancing as a regular job. 

The best way to do that is to make freelancing part of your identity so you can get up in the morning and treat it like you’re at work because you’re at work. 

Don’t think of it as something you do when you have spare time; think of it as something you do to make money. This shift in thinking will lead to better productivity.

Learn these 20 tips for increasing your productivity when freelancing today.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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