Work More Successfully, Not Working More

Work More Successfully, Not Working More


I’ve discovered something about working for myself. I mean, aside from unreasonable demands, and just as unreasonable hours.


The freedom is nice, but it’s also fabulous for procrastination. It’s absolutely amazing for procrastination.

While I’ve long since cut down on the amount I’ve been doing in lieu of my career switch, I’m still doing a lot of work on a freelance basis. The gigs are smaller, and usually quick small graphics. While my own procrastination has gotten a lot better, the temptation to just goof off on the internet or do anything that isn’t work never really goes away.

I have found that there are a few things that do help, though. While they work great for me, they may or may not work for others.

  • Set Up a Time AND a Place

Seriously here. I cannot stress this bit enough. Setting up more ‘normal’ work hours and a ‘work area’ can be invaluable to getting into the right mindset.  Set up hours that you will be working, and stick to them. Mine are usually from around 9:30 or 10:00 am until around 9:00 pm. Yes, it’s longer than a standard work day, but the time is also broken up far differently.

As for work place, if you have the luxury of a separate area you can use for an ‘office’ that’s fabulous for you. Use it. Set it up as work oriented as possible, with any files or things you may need. Try to limit what else is there if it’s not related to work.

However, if you don’t have that luxury? Any area will suffice as well. Mine is my kitchen table (as all I normally need is my laptop, cell phone, and a notepad and pen). Keep your stuff close, and try and keep other distractions minimal.

  • Limit Distractions

This is my main problem, as I work online and my biggest procrastination ‘thing’ just so happens to be the internet*.

While I haven’t had to do anything as drastic as block websites for myself, I’ve discovered that allowing myself some time to mess around helps. As I’ve realized the more I tell myself no, the more I act like my daughter. So, instead of an all out ‘no’ allowing a bit of time to just do whatever helps.

As an added benefit I’m calmer and more motivated to work.

  • Set Limits

Let’s face it, if you’re working with the public, there’s a very good chance you’ll wind up with a overreaching and likely disrespectful client. I’ve had my own share of midnight calls, calls during class, and other completely inappropriate times. When you’re working for yourself, you have to remember – you’re a business. Yes, you need to work with your clients, but they also have to work with you.

Most people don’t want to be the client from hell. They don’t always realize that they are. Setting your limits and sticking to them is an incredibly important part of working for yourself (be it hours you’re going to work, times they can call, or anything else).

Let people know that part of the package is working within these boundaries, most will understand. If they don’t, very likely they aren’t somebody you want to be working with anyway.

  • Get Over Talking Money

Oddly, this was one of my biggest issues. I, like most, was raised that talking money was rude. This made it insanely difficult to talk pricing, and I would constantly undervalue myself and my work. You need to get over this quickly, if you want to get anywhere.

Look around the internet for people in a similar field as you, or even look through craigslist to see what others are charging. While you cannot ask someone (it’s a grey area as it is, and very likely another freelancer wouldn’t be willing to tell you anyway). Check out what people with a similar skill level charge, and reevaluate your work to figure out what you should charge.

While these aren’t the end-all be-all of making things easier on you, they are a good start. If you have found something that works well for you, please share in the comments section.

*And cute animal pictures. So. Many. Cute. Pictures.