Freelancers wrestle with productivity, time management and process. We want to get more done in less time. So we’re diving into freelance productivity.
Today we talk with “WordPress Chick” Kim Doyal. She’s a digital wizard, helping her entrepreneur clients do better online with everything from strategy to implementation.
“Don’t sacrifice the quality of your life today for a bigger business tomorrow.” – @kimdoyal
The conversation covers working on your own business, ambient noise and saying no.
What’s the most effective thing freelancers can do to be more productive?
Get off the computer. There comes a point when pushing through something will cause it to take longer than had you stepped away and left it alone for a bit (or longer). When the inspiration hits, run with it. Learn to trust your own natural rhythm and what works for you.
It’s imperative that you also carve out time to work on your own business (as opposed to client work). I don’t do client work the first half of the day because that’s when I tend to create content, record, write, email and schedule my own social media. If I don’t do those things the first part of the day, it’s too easy to skip them.
How do you stay focused and productive throughout the day?
I do well with a semi-routine. I don’t like having my day completely scheduled, but I allow myself a certain amount of time when I get to my desk in the morning to get acclimated, then I get into my day.
I don’t have any social media outlets open when I’m working and really only have one chat option available at a time (usually Skype). Everything gets closed when I record or write.
I’m a huge fan of ambient noise and have recently been a little obsessed with HipsterSound (you can layer sounds). Pair that with my Bose headset and I’m golden.
Email is often mentioned as a productivity killer. How do you efficiently manage your email?
The closest I’ve come to efficiently managing my email is using using a couple add-ons to Gmail. One is SaneBox and the other is MixMax. I keep all new unread email at the top and let everything else wait until later. I have a few things I check every morning (for content and social sharing) and then don’t pay much attention to it. Truthfully, I go through phases where I’m better at it than other times, but I don’t lose sleep over it. Inbox zero doesn’t motivate me.
What other productivity tips do you have for busy freelancers?
Trust yourself and learn to say no. Not every job or client is a good fit. Every single time I have worked with someone or taken a project that I knew in my gut wasn’t a good fit, I’ve regretted it. Find what works for you and do that—even if every other guru, coach or mentor is saying otherwise. I don’t know if there is such a thing as work/life balance, but don’t sacrifice the quality of your life today for a bigger business tomorrow.
For more from Kim Doyal, check out our earlier interview on freelancing, building a team and boosting profitability.