When I started as a freelance in web marketing, I had to work on my productivity. With the Covid growing quickly, my schedule was turned upside down and I had to learn to be very productive while working 100% at home. It prompted me to revise my priorities and the way I worked. I also made several important decisions in order to free myself up time for my freelance activities. Once this was done, I took several weeks to structure my schedule and develop different techniques to be able to both grow my business and keep a minimum of time for my personal life. Here are 5 tips that I adopted and that I recommend if you want to improve your productivity:
1. Use the pomodoro method
I’d heard about the Pomodoro method several times, which consists of making intervals between periods of intense concentration and breaks. I decided to give it a try and since then I use this method almost every day using the Chrome extension Marinara. Very often, I concentrate for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break between each period of concentration. After 4 sessions of 25 minutes of concentration, I allow myself a longer break of 15 minutes, which is greatly necessary in order to be able to maintain my concentration all day. If I can give you advice to quickly discipline yourself to use this technique, it’s to go gradually. Start with only 1 pomodoro cycle per day, then increase over the weeks. It should help you get more done in your day and generally feel better.
2. Create lists using Trello
I used sometimes Trello when I was working in a web agency, but I started using it more seriously when I started as a Freelance. For those who do not know this tool, it is a website where it’s possible to create boards, in which there are lists and cards. This normally allows you to properly structure your tasks (in the form of cards). What is practical is that you can easily move your cards from one list to another or from one board to another. It’s a bit like virtual “post it” that you can edit at any time. At first, I only used Trello to collect the tasks I had to do, and then move them when they were in progress or completed. Today I have lots of boards for lots of different things and I love it. I think the one that helps me the most is my goals board, where I rank all of my goals based on how much time I have left to reach them. For example, I have a 1 day list, a 1 week list, then 90 days, 1 year and 10 years. It gives me a global view of what I want to achieve and helps me stay motivated by checking and archiving my goals as soon as they are accomplished.
3. Measure your time with Toggl
I don’t know if it ever did that to you, but it was not uncommon for me to work very hard for a whole day, then felt like I had practically not advanced at the end of it . One day I decided that that time was over, then I started looking for a time tracking software. Many sites have referred me to Time Rescue that I tried, but I admit that I now use a lot more the Toggl app that a friend referred me. I have now connected it to Trello and Google Calendar, which makes it very efficient. At the end of my days / weeks / months, I can easily see where I spent the majority of my time, and then correct it if necessary.
4. Create checklists for everything that is repetitive and you can’t automate
I’ve always been the type to create lots of checklists, but since I’m freelance, I would say that I create even more of them. What I love about checklists is that, although sometimes it takes time to design, it saves a lot of time in the long run. For example, I have created a large checklist including the accounts of all my clients and I consult it at least every week to make sure I don’t forget anything when I check their advertising campaigns. I especially love to check off the tasks that I finish because it gives me a good feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. I use Excel a lot to quickly create checklists, but when I want to make them more aesthetic, I transpose them on Canva. Trello is also a good tool for making checklists.
5. Use the ABCDE method
Only a few weeks ago I read the book “Eat that frog!” by Brian Tracy, which I recommend for its simple and practical side. One of the things that caught my attention the most was the ABCDE method to determine in which order to do what we have to do each day. I immediately put this method into practice and it helps me a lot to prioritize my tasks by classifying them according to this legend:
– A : task I MUST do
– B : task that I SHOULD do
– C : NICE task to do
– D : task to DELEGATE
– E : task to ELIMINATE
What the author tries to make us understand in his book is that you have to “eat the frog”, being your most important and urgent task of the moment, even if it is not necessarily the one that you prefer to do. Then it will set you free and help you accomplish the rest.
Finally, these were 5 productivity tips that I use frequently, but I’m very curious to know which ones you are thinking of. Don’t hesitate to comment my blog post and if ever after having made your list of things to do, you realize that web marketing is a task that you want to delegate, contact me now to find out how I can help you free up your time and propel your business!