Be productive but not at the cost of losing yourself

Be productive but not at the cost of losing yourself

Sometimes when a contractor is so driven to be the best in their field that they slowly lose themselves in their eagerness to work. Being an independent contractor this heightens that risk by often working at home and being isolated from other people.

Are you concerned that your need for optimum work efficiency is overriding your personal needs? Take these cues on how to maintain professional productivity without sacrificing your sense of self.

Have a routine and stick to it

Having a set daily routine can not only help your productivity but it means that you are more likely to keep your work life separate and not encroach into your personal life. Once you have a better grasp on how you are spending your time, you can have a structure that will ensure that you work smarter and not harder.

Having a schedule for your professional and personal time, putting your time into sections with defined starting and stopping points prevents your entire day from feeling like 24 hours on the clock.


 Managing Your Time

With your routine set in place, it makes sense to track your time. Documenting your time is a practice that often yields surprising results in how you spend it. This is especially useful for freelancers weighed down by the frustrating feeling of “It feels like I am working all the time!”

One of the keys to tracking your time is to note every action, no matter how insignificant it may appear to be. For example, you would note an hour worth of correspondence but perhaps you might forget those few minutes you took to glance through your twitter feed, or 10 minutes catching up on the latest news on Facebook.  It doesn’t take long for those odd 10 minutes here and 5 minutes there to amass to hours of wasted time. 

You can use an excel spreadsheet to make a note of your time or even a diary, whatever works for you. There are even plenty of apps you can get to track your time, it is down to what you prefer.  After you have tracked where you spend your time, you can then find ways to make yourself more productive. Perhaps you can then negotiate times for a bit of social media catch-up!

Not forgetting about you!

No matter how in control you think you are, your work life will eventually bleed into your personal life and visa versa.  If you are only focusing on the business side of your life will mean that eventually you find excuses not to do the work or extend the project deadline.  Not only that but you may start to feel depressed and find it hard to even attempt work.

So making simple but effective changes to make sure you are taking care of you not only your professional image will hugely benefit your productivity. When you feel better, you work better.  It could be something as small as setting aside 30 minutes a day to exercise, making sure to take a proper lunch break every day, or perhaps arrange a weekly activity with a friend can all make big advances in revitalising you personally and professionally.


Write a Mission Statement

Being a contractor means that you are your own business, as you are a business it makes sense to have a “mission statement” that outlines your goals.  You should consider thing like, what is your motivation?  What are your strengths and how do I want to be perceived?

Having a mission statement is a good way to keep you grounded in the work-life balance.