5 Ways to Increase Productivity as a Freelancer

You’ve got two projects on your desk and your project manager calls you last minute to tack on another “urgent assignment.” Yikes!

In this hyper-paced globalized world, everything comes down to productivity and efficiency. How fast you complete a project, make a sale, or translate a 4,000-word document directly affects how much money you will make at the end of the month. Here are some quick tips to increase your productivity and take some of the stress out of your work environment.

How to Increase Productivity

1. Get adequate rest between projects

thebigword tip - get more sleep to increase productivity as a freelancerHow many hours of sleep did you get last night? Research shows that your brain and body both work better when you are well rested. Spending more time at work often leads to less time for sleep, which takes a substantial toll on your performance. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, insomnia cost Americans $63 billion. Yes, that ‘illion’ is following a ‘B.’ Adequate rest is defined as a minimum of 6 hours a night. Though, 8 hours are probably optimal if you are looking to increase productivity.

2. Focus on one thing at a time

Think of all the things you’re doing at this very moment. You’re obviously reading this article, but you’re probably also doing a number of things all at once: listening to music, eating a meal, or checking your email. While multitasking may seem alluring, research shows multitasking is one of the fastest ways to kill productivity. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review article claims multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%. If you want to increase your overall productivity, cut down on your multitasking.

3. Love what you do

Ways to Increase Productivity - Love your Job!

Drawing by Hollis Plample, check out her blog: Hollis Plamle Daily Comic

This may seem obvious, but you can increase your productivity simply by focusing on tasks that you find appealing. Think back to why you got into the translating business… Was translating a hobby or interest, or did you get into the field simply for the money? Business News Daily suggests that employees who love what they do have higher levels of self-esteem, are more motivated, and earn more money. While we are not suggesting you chose a different career path (the world could probably use more translators, not less, in my opinion), it may be time you focused on taking on jobs that make you happy. Do you really like one type of translation job? Why not specialize? You may find you are happier and more productive taking on the types of assignments you enjoy.

4. Learn to say NO

You can never be productive if you consistently take on too many assignments. Tough requests come your way all the time, and sometimes, we feel like we have to say yes to our bosses or clients. If we decline work, it’ll look as if we can’t handle it – right? In fact, the opposite is true; you will be offered poor opportunities every day and it is your job to decide which jobs are worth your time and effort. Value your time. Understand the responsibilities you’ve already taken, and consider those when asked to take on another commitment. There is no shame in saying “I just have too much on my plate right now.” Know your priorities. Is this new commitment really worth what little free time you may have?

5. Reward yourself for completing large tasks

Ways to increase Productivity thebigwordDid you finish a big project early? Instead of moving on to the next task on your list, take some time to reward yourself for a job well done. Relax, go watch a movie, go to the park, or read a book. Take some time to let your mind know that you appreciate all the work it’s putting in. You’ll find it makes you feel better and increases your productivity in the long run.

Related Links

Is Crowdsourcing Translation the Next Big Thing?
What Makes a Good, Successful, and Happy Translator (lingocode.com)
Translators: Do You Know How to Network?
Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic (experiencebusinesssolutions.wordpress.com)
Why Freelancers Need to Worry About Job Satisfaction Too (freelancefolder.com)

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25 thoughts on “5 Ways to Increase Productivity as a Freelancer

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    • Hi Melanie!

      I agree with you completely – its the simplest things that make a difference in how happy and productive we are. I feel like I need to employ these more often as well; its so easy to overlook the small things, but they really make a difference. I’m glad you liked our post! (PS: Your photos and designs – LOVE!)

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  14. The biggest issue I’ve had with freelancing is the amount of time I waste not actually writing but applying for jobs and waiting to hear back, if I hear back at all! I find myself using http://www.workersoncall.com more and more often because you can see which employers are online and use the instant chat to speak with them in real time!

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