3 Bad Habits You Need to Get Rid Of As A Freelancer
As a Freelancer, whether you work hourly or per project, optimizing for your productivity is crucial to maximizing your revenue and also ensure you are providing the best value to your clients.
Procrastination is really want sucks the life out of the work you do.
In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield personifies the enemy as “Resistance”.
Resistance is what stops you from being the best you can be. Resistance is what lowers your productivity and lowers the value your give your clients.
Not all habits are created equal.
Good habits take time to form like baking a cake. Careful instructions are required to make sure the cake rises even before you put it in the oven.
Bad habits however are easy to start and hard to break. When you allow the formation of bad habits to fill your day or your week, it can strain your ability to create success, grow your Freelancer revenue and hinder the value you bring to your clients.
Here are the bad habit three that needs to be removed to increase productivity as a Freelancer:
#1: Checking emails, messages or notifications first thing in the morning.
I know I’ve done this myself. It’s tough when you double your phone as an alarm clock too because the first thing you do when you open your eyes is see that locked-screen on your mobile phone.
But, the fact is, there’s been ample evidence that the first couple hours (or even the first hour) of one’s day IS bar-none the most important time during the day.
It’s the most productive.
It’s the most creative.
So it’s a no-brainer that checking emails, messages and notifications first thing in the morning is bad for your Freelancing business because it makes you go into react mode right away.
It makes you want to reply that email or someone, something is requiring you to do something when in fact it’s robbing your of your most precious moments.
After-all, the most important and vital asset you own as a Freelancer is YOU. Y. O. U.
You must be able to be creative, be clear in your experience in order to rejuvenate, heal, grow…whatever it is you need to do.
Try swapping your mobile phone for a notepad. Write down ideas, jot down plans, whatever comes to mind. You might not use all your ideas, but it’s good to get it out anyway. Even if you use 1% of the ideas that you jot down over a year’s time, that’s 365 ideas of which roughly 3 or 4 will be viable.
It sounds silly but as a Freelancer you have to wear multiple hats and do everything from clean up to CEO.
In the 90’s someone in academia did some workplace studies that showed evidence that the most effective student is one that is “well-rounded” and can multitask. This person was to be valedictorian because she can excel at all subjects and all extra-curricular activities.
We’ve since shown that multi-tasking hinders productivity. It has what is called an inverse relationship.
Spreading yourself thin while doing too many things at one just makes you do everything with lesser quality. And just like the Tip #1, it’s because distractions lower productivity.
#3: Wanting or Needing Immediate Feedback
In our world where we can spread a message halfway across the world in a click of a button or share a blogpost to hundreds and thousands of subscribers, it a no-brainer we’ve become an army of “Freelancer Feedback Fiends”.
I see this need for feedback come from our accessibility to instant notification and also instant gratification too. How many people have liked our share? How many people followed up? How many people retweeted our post?
What ends up happening is that we get stuck in this cycle of addiction, of wanting approval, seeking approval really.
Scientifically, when we get some kind of validation or feedback from our social media, our email lists or any kind of feedback in the form of validation, it causes a biological response. It’s a dopamine reaction that’s kind of taking drugs for recreation. It becomes a drug, whether you intended to be or not.
Feedback is all bad. Getting feedback in the form of comments from your blogposts for example, is an amazing thing to receive. It’s like a gift because your audience is telling you exactly what you need to improve your site, product or service and to validate your work.
That’s negative feedback and that’s good. The feedback that I’m talking about that is bad is the kind that gives you empty validation that what you’re doing is good when it fact it’s just noise.
At the end of the day, know that whatever you’ve accomplished, however small it is or that it may seem, is something that will amount to something. Every thing you do is an experiment. Not every product or service or piece of content you create will become viral because sometimes the work you do is that just the work you need to do — whether or not you get validation or not.
How have you struggled with these bad habits? What has your experience been? Any other habits you can think of?