The Importance of a Daily Schedule

Posted on 29. Sep, 2011 by in Motivation

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The Importance of a Daily Schedule

When we gave up a job to work from home as Freelancers we probably had visions of a productive home office, that would provide us with being paid for doing something we love to do, combined with the freedom of self employment to take care of our life responsibilities

For many of us however, the reality is we wake up in the morning full of intentions to complete a chapter of the book we are writing or to make a start on allocated assignments, only to find at the end of the day we have actually accomplished very little.

Sound all too familiar?  Most of us have are probably nodding our head in agreement.  We can probably all relate to taking a little longer over our morning rituals of reading emails or checking our social media accounts in the name of “work”.  When we are ready to work we face writers block or have a feeling of overwhelming fatigue we find hard to shift.

If this is your experience, here are 4 simple, but very useful strategies to help Freelancers control their day and increase productivity with minimal effort and little change of routine.

  1. Have a daily schedule mapped out:   Plan your day and prepare a to-do list that is achievable. Include the things you have to do AND the things you want to do.  Multi task where you can by combining different tasks together.
  2. Work solidly for a set period of time but take frequent breaks to enable you to then surge again.  A little like the popular “fat burning” routines that people are getting such great success from.   Short exhausting stints and a cool down break produces pleasing results.
  3. Achieve one task on your to do list at a time.  Enjoy the feeling of ticking off that one item and seeing the list become shorter as the day progresses.
  4. Decide if you work better with or without a distraction. Use music if it keeps you focused, but turn it off if it causes you to loose concentration. Schedule other distractions like checking emails for a specific time each day.  Resist the temptation to keep your social networking sites open whilst you work.  Don’t forget to reward yourself for completing a task.

Unless we are very strict with ourselves schedules tend to be broken more often than they are kept. Despite all our good intentions, unexpected interruptions happen to freelancers and we can still find ourselves in the middle of an unproductive day, where little has been accomplished and we are far behind on those deadlines.

What steps can we take to regroup and turn our productivity around?   The most useful advice is don’t panic.  Don’t get frustrated and angry with yourself and others.  Don’t stop planning either.

Three simple steps may prove helpful.

  1.  Take a look at what you still have to accomplish and rearrange the tasks so that you can achieve the urgent and important tasks and leave the non urgent ones for another day.
  2. Where possible reschedule any non essential appointments and tasks to minimize the need to leave your desk for any length of time until the work is completed.
  3. Reduce other responsibilities for the day by having an emergency back up plan you can call on when absolutely necessary to create some extra time.

The humble daily schedule may seem an unnecessary task that adds to an already over full “to do” list, but in a distraction filled work environment, it is the freelancers best asset to improve and maintain optimum productivity.

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3 Responses to “The Importance of a Daily Schedule”

  1. Craig

    29. Sep, 2011

    Re. point 2. “Work solidly for a set period of time” – this sounds like the “Pomodoro Technique” – this suggests setting a timer and working in 25 minute “sprints” each followed by a 5 minute break. It can help when you’ve got a lot on your “to-do” list. Supposedly as without the 5 minute breaks, your concentration levels slip over time and on hour 2 or 3 of a concentrated session, you’ll actually be less productive than you would be if you’d taken frequent, short breaks.

    There are downloadable timer applications that run on your desktop for this and I’ve used it with some success on occasion. Not sure I’m disciplined enough to be a slave to it though.

  2. Carol

    30. Sep, 2011

    Hi Craig

    I think this is a great idea. I actually authored this post and althought the idea of using an egg or minute timer is something I use with my high school students (I am a tutor in my other life). I hadn’t thought of using a timer with my writing, but you are right..

    What a great idea and thanks for the link to the timer gadget. I think this will be the first thing on my list to download tomorrow onto my new work station. ..

  3. Craig

    04. Oct, 2011

    Hi Carol
    The one I use is called Focus Booster, it’s just a small app that you leave running on your desktop. Pretty simple, and it’s been fairly effective at keeping me off Facebook when I’m up against a deadline.

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