I'm an early-bird, I like to get up early, get things done and then have the afternoon to spend time on the things I want to spend time on… but getting work done before lunch can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if you're working with clients who are on a different timezone to you.
And when I say work, I mean the stuff that YOU need to do to keep your freelance business running. This doesn't include answering emails, scheduling social media, admin type stuff. This is actual, real work. The stuff that brings you in the $$$'s.
Now that we're clear on what actual work is, here's some tips on how you can get your work done before lunch, so that you can then take the afternoon off or focus on the cool things you like to do.
It's about having a choice—a choice to do what you want, when you want… and freelancing should provide you with that, right?
Tips for Getting Work Done by Midday
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- Use a schedule. Now I know this is obvious and you've heard it all before, but if you don't have a schedule, then you can't expect to finish anything by lunchtime. My schedule consists of blocks of working time with a 10 minute break in between. Develop a schedule that works for you, but use one.
- Each night, about 9pm (for me this is when I'm sufficiently relaxed), review your schedule and decide what you need to get done tomorrow. Prioritise it.
- Depending on how you work, decide on where you're going to work tomorrow. At home or in the cafe? Make the decision ahead of time so you're not trying to make that decision in the morning.
- Exercise before you start work. If you can't stomach a full workout, then do the 7-minute workout instead. The aim is to get the blood flowing so that you can get into focus easier.
- Get up before everyone else! If you want to get work done before lunch, then you need to get a jump-start on the rest of your household, particularly if you've got kids. 5am is a good time to get up. It's hard, not gonna lie about that! But, once you've done it a few times and develop the habit, it will become a lot easier and you'll love being up when no-one else is. It's the best time of the day to get all the hard stuff out of the way—so if you've prioritised your to-do's in your schedule, you'd focus on the top two at this time of the day. You'll be surprised at how quickly you get things done at this time of the morning. By the time my husband is scratching his head and stretching, I've already knocked off the top priority on my list. He gets up around 8am.
- Give yourself 20 minutes to get into a state of flow. The best way to do this is to turn off your emails, log out of Facebook (because I know those are the two things you've got open!) and catch up on some news instead. I use Feedly.com and Getpocket.com to keep track of my news, and I find that if I catch up on news stories that I care about before getting straight into work, it allows me to put my business hat on and start thinking about where I need to be and what I should be doing. Set a timer when you do this though, because you want to have your work done by lunchtime, not still be reading up on industry news…
- Use an app like Focus@Will. I use this whenever I need to focus on a specific block of work and I use my headphones to listen, rather than having it play through my laptop speakers. Focus@Will is both a timer and music app. It is based on scientific research and the types of music available is designed to keep your mind focused rather than scattered. I've been using it for over 2 years now and absolutely love it. Find the thing that works for you, it could be classical music, it could be rain falling, drums banging. Whatever it is, use headphones so that you're blocking out what else is going on around you for optimal laser focus.
- Make your decisions quickly. If you can't make a quick decision, then determine if it's a decision that is going to make an immediate impact on your business or not. If it can wait, then move on.
- If you are working with clients that are on a different timezone to you, try and schedule all of their work before lunch. If you're on the other side of the world like I am, this is actually fairly easy to do, as the time differences mean that my clients are available late afternoon their time, which is more convenient for them, because they are finishing off their work days. Win:Win.
- Stick to it! If you want to finish your work by lunchtime, then you still have to do the work, which takes some discipline on your part. Leave the fun stuff till after lunch.
This can also work if you're an evening person, simply flip it around. Do all your fun stuff in the mornings and work later in the day, say from 3pm-9pm. It's about finding a schedule that works for you. The key is in having a schedule, sticking to it and getting shit done!
Do you have your own tips about getting work done before lunch? Or maybe your more the evening person type? I'd love to know what you do to enjoy the things you love to do. Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
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