Disappointing productivity, and what to do about it

By Katharine Swan On Thursday, October 23, 2014 At 10:44 PM

Today was my second full day of freelancing, and it was noticeably unproductive.

Part of it is that I was up late two nights in a row reading a really compelling book, so I let myself sleep in without aid of an alarm to get myself up.  I haven't done that in a long time, and as a result I slept late.  I kind of expected that, though.

The other part of it is that when I don't have a time limit on my freelancing, such as a time at which I need to get up and go pick up the kids I nanny for from school, I feel less pressure to get to work quickly and get it done quickly.

Only two days of this and already I know that's what the problem is.  It wasn't hard to identify, honestly.  It's been a few years since I've worked from home full-time, and I have gotten out of the habit of self-regulating my day.

So how to create than urgency of needing to get something done, even when I do actually have all day?

A to-do list by itself won't help, because I already have one of those.  I could, however, try assigning a certain amount of time to each thing, and setting a timer.  I have a pretty good timer app on my computer that would work just fine for that purpose.  With Windows 8, I could even drag it over onto the side of my screen so that I could see the timer while I worked, and hopefully not get distracted or forget what I was supposed to be doing.

That's a good option, and something I might try.  But first, I think I need to try establishing a routine of getting up and going someplace specific to work.  I haven't been using my desk lately, so I might try working there and see if it helps.  Or I might try actually getting up, getting out the door, and working at a nearby coffee shop.  I know there are people who dislike that approach, but I often find that it works well for me to work somewhere different for a change.

In fact, since I have so much work leftover from today that I haven't gotten done yet, I may actually try one of these approaches tomorrow morning, before I pick up the kids from work.  Perhaps both a change of scenery and knowing I have a limited amount of time will help me be extra productive tomorrow!

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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