The challenge of earning more money almost always comes down to getting more things done. This sounds simple, but it can be a huge hurdle for many. As many freelancers are aware, the very nature of freelancing is that your income is dependent on great productivity. This is the main reason why so many blogs and websites focus on instruction for increasing productivity.
Despite these resources, many actually fail to cover how to end your working day to enable yourself to be more productive the following day. Many successful freelancers are aware that setting the stage for a productive day actually happens the evening before. This can be done with a number of simple tasks. Establishing these good working habits will enable you to finish work and relax in the evening, while helping improve your productivity in the morning.Clear Your Office
Take a little time at the end of every day to clear your office and ready it for working the next day. Throw away any papers or clutter which are no longer needed. File away any paperwork or items that you have finished with, but need to keep. Clutter can be an immense distraction and starting the day off with a clear office will help you get the day off to a great start.
Check Your Messages
You should check any phone messages periodically throughout the day, but it is important to do a final check at the end of the day. Make a note of any calls which need to be returned in the morning and delete any unnecessary messages or ones which have already been responded to.
Check Your Emails
Some experts believe that checking emails at the end of the day isn’t a good idea. However, it can actually allow you to put your mind at rest and assist you in relaxing. Delete any junk or spam emails and file away any emails that you have already dealt with. Make a note of any issues which need to be dealt with in the morning, so you have a ‘to do’ list for first thing.
This is often neglected, but many of us have experienced the devastation of losing work due to a computer malfunction. Regular back-ups are essential because for a freelancer, even losing a day’s work can be a huge inconvenience. Get into the habit of backing up each evening to minimize any data loss. With the development of cloud based options which are now readily available, you can even have an offsite back-up for even greater level of data protection.
Note Where You Left Off
If you are engaged in a larger project which cannot be completed in one day, make a note of where you left off. This can be helpful to pick up straight away in the morning allowing you to be more efficient without back tracking or redoing any tasks. If the task is slightly more complex, why not have a task list which can be crossed off, allowing you to keep track of your progress.
With the developments in technology, it can be very easy to slip into a routine of being constantly accessible and at work. Therefore, it is important to ensure you take a mental and physical break from work. Turn off your computer and switch your phone onto silent mode or turn it off when you have finished for the day. Resist the temptation to allow your day-to-day work activities bleed into your evening and downtime. Don’t be tempted to check in on your emails or messages; you have finished work for the day, so stick to it.
Take Time for Yourself
Allowing yourself relaxation time each day will help to maintain your mental sharpness. Take time out to ensure that your after work hours are filled with after work activities. Pick an activity for each evening that you will enjoy and do it. The type of activity doesn’t matter as long as it something you enjoy, whether it is exercising, something social or just relaxing with a good book. This will help to recharge your batteries and allow you to feel as if you have had a true break from work. This will provide more motivation and energy for the following day which will increase your productivity.
Set An Alarm
Sleeping in can seriously compromise your productivity. Set an alarm to help you establish a routine and help you reset your biological clock. If you have a tendency to keep hitting the snooze button, set your alarm for an earlier time or move your clock so it is out of reach. This will help you to maintain a good working day routine which will boost your productivity.
Get Good Quality Rest
Research has documented that people who are better rested tend to be more productive and have better decision making capacities. Whether you spend late nights working or for leisure activities, being a night owl can have a serious negative impact on your productivity. Lack of sleep can also be responsible for increasing your susceptibility to illnesses, which could compromise your working hours even further.
Taking these simple steps will facilitate a restful evening and night which should provide the motivation and energy to be ready for productive work the next day. You will no longer find your mind dwelling on business tasks or remembering you must do activities for the next day, as you have taken care of all your preparation.
If you do still find yourself a little preoccupied in the evenings, why not make your final task of the working day a to do list for the morning. Jot down any activities that you need to remember to do, so you can then switch off your business brain and get down to the task of relaxing. This relaxation time is essential for long term productivity and success. It is far better to schedule this into your day to day life, than risk waning productivity which could cost you dearly. Building these simple steps into your routine will help to establish a good working practice which will be of benefit even in years to come.
Elena Simionescu handles PR for Pixel77 and Inky Deals. She takes design tutorials and design deals pretty seriously and in her free time, she watches a lot of movies. Like a lot, a lot. Get in touch with her on Twitter and Google+.