One of the biggest challenges when being your own boss is the fact that you need to organize yourself. Nobody is telling you what to do and when to do it. It’s all in your head.
Most of being successful as a freelancer or entrepreneur comes down to being self-organized and having good work habits. The better your habits, the more you can get done and the better your bottom line.
This article will look at the essential habits of successful entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other creatives. We will see how transferring these habits to a 9-5 salaried job can benefit you throughout the new year and the years to come.
What Successful Business Execs, Entrepreneurs, and Freelancers Do Differently
Ready to reach the next level in business? The habits below will help you be more productive and successful as you anticipate the new year.
Studies have shown over and over again that multitasking is a myth. In fact, those who swear by doing several things at once are often the worst at it. The human brain is simply not made to do more than one thing. When you try, you switch between tasks instead of doing both simultaneously. Multitasking is typically a waste of time and energy and is responsible for more nervous breakdowns than crashing WordPress websites. For that reason, one of the most important work habits to adopt this year is to do one task at a time. Giving your full concentration on a single task will transform the way you work.
Develop Routines and Processes
That big, beautiful brain inside your head is a CPU. Although many powerful CPUs can process tons of information quickly, there is still an intricate linear process. You might be surprised to hear that our brains only have a limited amount of willpower and self-control at our disposal every day. The more decisions we have to make, the more our pool of mental capacity is reduced (what can also be called ego depletion). Once that happens, it’s hard to be disciplined and effective, which is why it’s best to find ways to preserve willpower so you can use it to get the important things done. One way of doing so is by establishing regular routines and habits.
The more routine a task is, the less you have to think about it. That's why people like Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg always wear the same outfit: it’s one less thing to think about. It’s your task to figure out how you can eliminate unnecessary decisions from your workflow by setting up routines. Anything that lets you get into the groove easily and get stuff done without thinking about it is a win for you. While I am not a pro at decision fatigue, the process I have stuck to as my morning office ritual has prevented me from making errors that used to push back my deliverables every day.
Distractions are the enemy of productivity. And unfortunately, our complex world is full of them. There are smartphones, emails, coworkers, family members—and they all seem hellbent on keeping us from getting work done. In addition to that, once we are at our workstation, we have to deal with the temptation of everything the internet has to offer. Memes, podcasts, social sites—they’re just willpower drainers. That’s why eliminating as many of these distractions as possible is another habit for freelance and business success.
One of my favorite strategies for eliminating distractions is choosing something I can do that does not require my phone and I leave it on the charger. It could be a walk across the office to speak with a colleague or a step outside for some fresh air. Willingly leaving your phone (the ultimate distractor) in different places away from you can lead to an ultimate shift in your mood and efficiency. And let’s face it, that’s something we need in the coming year.
Track Your Time
Especially in the beginning of self-employment, it can be difficult to estimate how long different tasks will take. Most of the time, we underestimate the effort involved, and that’s something that should come to an end this year. One way to address this is to take your original estimated time frame and add half that time on top of it. This will perhaps get you closer to the time it will take you.
Second, to get better at estimating these things in the future, it’s a good idea to track your time. One of my favorite tools for that is Toggl. It’s browser-based, easy to use, and will send you weekly summary emails so you know what you’ve been doing. Tracking your time will also let you figure out your hourly pay.
Get Plenty of Rest
To do high-quality work, you also need some top-notch downtime. Albert Einstein reportedly tried to get at least ten hours of sleep every night. Other high performers also religiously adhere to their bedtimes. You and I are no different. We also need to get enough rest to keep at peak productivity. One of the best ways to make sure you get enough sleep is to establish set bedtimes. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day makes it easier to fall asleep.
It’s also important to take breaks during the day. A good way to ensure you do this is to work in sprints, as popularized by the Pomodoro technique. Here’s how it works: set a time for 25 minutes and do one task during that time until either completion or when the timer goes off. Then, when the time is up, get up from your desk and do something else for five minutes. Rinse and repeat four times, then take a longer break. Using the Pomodoro technique helps get your mind out of the work frame and come back refreshed. It works, in fact, I’m utilizing this technique while writing this article. I needed to adopt something that made sense for me in the office because I can spend loads of time doing things that don’t move the needle. With this method, I can refer to my daily routine, and ultimately, I am much more pleasant to work with than I was previously, at least I hope so.
The new year is a great time to make changes in your life and reassess your workflow. To get the most out of 2022, consider these 5 habits that can help you boost productivity while working from home or in the office. Interested in learning how Verb Technology can improve your work productivity in healthy, efficient ways? Click here to learn more!
About the author:
Megan Anderson is a yogi, flutist, and writer. She enjoys a good turn of phrase and can never have enough books to read. She is also Verb’s newest copywriter on the Creative Team!