One thing that attracts many people to freelance writing is that it allows you to work from home. Whether you want a work-from-home job so you have more time for your family or you’re simply sick of the commute and office politics, being the boss of your own schedule from the comfort of your home may sound too good to be true. However, while working from home is great, there is a potential downside to all of that freedom: a loss of productivity. Anyone in any job can use a hand now and then managing their productivity, but freelance writers face productivity struggles more than most, simply because the freedom to make your own schedule and work at home makes it easy to get distracted.
It’s a common battle for freelance writers, but science is on your side. There are several vetted techniques that researchers have demonstrated have tangible positive impacts on productivity, and adding them to your day could be all you need to stay away from Netflix, laundry, and social media when you really should be writing.
Work with Your Ultradian Rhythms
Your brain isn’t built for killer work sessions. You may think that you should be typing away for eight hours straight, but this approach may actually make you less productive, because of your ultradian rhythm. Instead of forcing yourself through endless work sessions, work with your rhythm to split your work into blocks of productivity and breaks.
For most people, ultradian rhythms allow for 90 minutes of activity followed by a 15-20 minute break for peak performance. Giving yourself the chance to take these breaks by splitting your work up into 90-minute chunks may let you get more done while feeling less fatigued and more focused.
Many people think that multitasking is their strong suit, but science says nearly everyone is terrible at it. When you allow more than one thing to compete for your attention at time, you lose your ability to filter and retain information and do the kind of work you want to on all of your projects. Multitasking gives people a false sense of productivity, but take a few days away from juggling tasks to focus on one thing at a time. Put your devices on airplane mode so you don’t drift into a Facebook binge, or use a tool that blocks that sites that distract you the most. If you give your entire focus to one project at a time, you may be surprised by how much more work you get done.
Stop Making It About Willpower
You’re not in a battle with yourself for productivity, and if you try to be, you will lose. Instead, science says productivity is about adopting smart strategies for accomplishing your work. Make a plan and follow it, rather than berating yourself over a lack of focus. Your plan should be specific. Don’t say, “work on assignment.” Instead, your plan should be, “write three pages for client X.”
Science has the formula for succeeding at productivity, and at Writers Work, we have the keys to helping you start and build your career as a freelance writer. Get connections to clients who are hiring writers, get advice from our coaches about perfecting your writing, and get support from our community of freelance writers. For these benefits and many more, become a member of Writers Work today.