We all know how glorious those first warm days of spring feel. The trees are blooming, birds are singing... boy, it's sure hard to keep your head out of clouds when skies are blue and sun's shining brightly. But if you're outside enjoying warm weather... who's running your business?
Spring fever is a notorious distractor for those of us trying to earn a living on our own. There's no stern manager telling us we'd better hurry back from lunch. There's no one to stop us from cutting out early and cruising down to local outdoor restaurant, slipping on our jogging shoes and heading off to park, or venturing over to mall for a reckless afternoon of shopping for spring fashions. So with no Big Brother to scold us, how can a freelancer keep springtime distractors from affecting productivity? Here are seven tips.
1. Shift your schedule forward or back a couple of hours. If you normally sit down to work at 9 a.m., try getting up a couple of hours earlier. You can wind down at about 3 p.m. and have afternoon/evening for yourself. Or, if you're not a morning person, ease into your day with some mindless activities; spend some time out of doors. Settle down to business at about 11 a.m. and work through to 7 pm. While you're doing this, remember all those poor nine-to-fivers who can't enjoy such a flexible schedule!
2. Break up your work day into sections. Feeling blocked, and/or restless? Don't fight it. Sitting there for hours trying to get things accomplished when you just can't concentrate is only going to make problem worse. Spend a couple of hours doing work, and then if you need to, take some time out to clear your head. Chances are, when you return, you'll be primed for productivity. And don't forget that sometimes greatest ideas are born when sun goes down!
3. Take a vacation. Sometimes you just have to give your body what it's asking for: a rest! If work is overwhelming you to point that you just want to get in your car and drive away, then maybe that's what you should do. Even just a few days away from computer will do wonders for your mind, body and spirit. Take a long weekend for a scenic retreat. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel when you get back!
4. Start setting goals on paper. If you aren't doing this already, spring season is a great time to get into habit of setting practical goals. Having that list you can check off is a really handy way to be efficient. It's sort of like being in grocery store when you aren't in mood to go shopping! Write down things you need to accomplish and set a completion date (or time) for each task. Set small goals over course of a work week, and bigger goals over a span of a month or two. Refer back to your list frequently, and don't forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments. You'll soon come to realize: goal-setting really helps keep you on track!