Increase Work Productivity at Home: 10 Powerful Tips For Freelance Designers

by in Articles on 23rd Sep 2013 · 0 Comment

For many, working from home seems like a dream come true. The ability to set one's own hours without a supervisor seems like it would be easy. In actuality, without motivation and with a variety of distractions in the home, being one's own boss is pretty difficult. Unlike other freelance positions, web design from home can be particularly difficult, as there are many different tasks to do.

Because of the long to-do lists, when designers get behind in their work they tend to feel very overwhelmed. By following some simple tips, designers can stay on track throughout the day, making them more productive and giving them the freedom to truly enjoy a freelance position.

10 Powerful Tips To Increase Your Productivity At Home

1. Get in a Routine

Having a routine every working day is the quickest way to tell one's brain that it is time to work. For many designers, this means waking up, showering, putting on a suit and eating breakfast as if the freelance position were taking place in an office setting.

For those who prefer to work in their pajamas as soon as they roll out of bed, try taking a moment to make a cup of coffee or walk around the block. However one chooses to start their morning, they should do it every day.

2. Have Office Hours

While part of freelance design's appeal is the ability to work whenever one feels like it, having set working hours is an easy way to stay on track. These hours should include some time during the typical 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., but it isn't a necessity.

Have Office Hours
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Setting office hours gives clients an excellent idea of when they can contact the designer, making the freelance position seem more professional. Even though the hours cater to the designer's personal schedule, client convenience should be considered.

3. Remove Background Noise

Just like when doing homework, many designers want to listen to music or watch television while they work. These simple distractions in the background can slow productivity, even if the designer doesn't think they are distracting.

When someone has noise in the background, their brain still needs to process the extra sound. By eliminating these distractions and working in a quiet environment, the brain can use more of its energy on the task at hand.

4. Have Dedicated Work Space

When working from home, it is very easy to grab a laptop and start working on the couch or on the bed. Having a more distinct place to work will help get the mind in the working mood.

Have Dedicated Work Space
Image credit: Bigstockphoto

For example, when sitting up in bed, the mind typically prepares itself for sleep. Sitting up at a desk or table in a specific area of the home can help train the brain, increasing overall productivity.

5. Block Unrelated Programs or Websites

Another distraction when working with computers is social media, email programs, online stores and other websites that aren’t related to the tasks at hand. Facebook games, chat, Youtube videos etc are some of the most distracting and addictive productivity eaters.

If possible, block these applications with a program such as Cold Turkey. This will prevent these distracting websites from being used during work hours.

6. Respond to Clients in the Afternoon

One of the most overwhelming aspects of a web design position is that there are constant changes to the work environment. Clients always want new things and want to be heard, but keeping email open constantly is a distraction. Setting a specific time to check and respond to email is important.

Respond to Clients in the Afternoon
Image credit: Bigstockphoto

One trick is to only respond in the late afternoon, which allows the designer the whole morning to dedicate themselves to their projects. Many businesses who work with designers won't mind waiting for a response or will send their requests in the afternoon. Either way, the designer is still responding within one business day.

7. Do Important Tasks as Quickly as Possible

In web design, not every aspect of the job is going to be urgent. Try working with the client to see what is important to them and their project. Overall functionality is usually more crucial than small layout flaws, especially if the website is live.

Most clients want their website to look professional, but desire a steady flow of traffic even when their site is being worked on.

8. Track Progress with a Timer

Almost every job uses a timer and a freelance position should be no exception. From a young age people are trained to focus until they hear a bell. Try setting a kitchen timer to 50 minutes and focusing until the timer stops.

Track Progress with a Timer
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Then, take a 20 minute break to eat lunch, go to the restroom or watch television. Another trick is to set the timer for only 15 minutes, which allows the brain to start focusing, and then work until the job is done even after the timer stops.

9. Start with the Hardest Task First

This long time favorite productivity tip is also known as "eat the frog" by Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker. The idea is that after completing the hardest task of the day, everything else will seem easy.

This will also give the designer a sense of accomplishment early in the day, which can be a huge boost to self esteem, leading to increased productivity for the day.

10. Make Time for Play

Making time to do important parts of a job is important, but it is also important to schedule free time. It is easy to lose one's self in work, especially if you have a seemingly unlimited amount of clients. Even obsessive social media marketing can be the downfall of some freelancers.

Make Time for Play
Image credit: Bigstockphoto

If one's mind is always working, it will eventually get burned out. Scheduling fun activities may seem like a solution, and while they are encouraged, sometimes it is best to just let one's mind take a vacation for a few hours.

Conclusion

By following these tips, freelance designers can expect to see more results. While each tip will only increase productivity slightly, learning all of them will have a dramatic effect on work flow. Try incorporating a new tip each week and finding what works. Try answering the question, "what can I do to improve today?"

What are your tips for increasing productivity at home? Share with us in the comments box below.

Aidan Huang is a web enthusiast and ingenious blogger who loves all things design, interesting and technology. He is the editor-in-chief at Onextrapixel and have founded several other interesting blogs. Do keep in touch with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.