Maintaining Structure When Working as a Freelancer or Entrepreneur

Today, significant numbers of people are stepping away from their more conventional jobs, and are embarking on the path of working freelance, or even of starting up their own businesses outright.

Today, significant numbers of people are stepping away from their more conventional jobs, and are embarking on the path of working freelance, or even of starting up their own businesses outright.

Becoming a freelancer or an entrepreneur naturally tends to grant a great degree of flexibility, and can allow for a significantly more adventurous approach to everyday life, depending on your particular goals and aspirations.

Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the idea of working remotely as “digital nomads” while seeing the world, for example.

In any case, there are a number of significant challenges that come with the freelance and entrepreneurial lifestyle, which individuals need to consider alongside the benefits of these career paths. To protect yourself, for example, you may need to ensure that any company you do business with has a good casual worker agreement in place that you find appropriate.

Easily one of the biggest issues that freelancers and entrepreneurs regularly end up having to contend with, however, is the simple difficulty of maintaining structure and organisation while working remotely, and in the absence of the various accountability mechanisms found in traditional job roles.

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Surround yourself with an accountability-boosting group if possible

One great way of helping to mitigate some of the issues of working remotely and solo, is to begin working out of a coworking space where other professionals will also be.

Not only does this put you in an environment where it’s easier, psychologically speaking, to get yourself into a professional state of mind and to stay focused on what you should, but it also potentially introduces you to a range of other individuals you can interact with, who can provide an extra dose of motivation and accountability.

Finding accountability-boosting groups in the form of entrepreneurial communities and meet-up groups can also potentially be very helpful.

The people you surround yourself with will always have a very substantial potential impact on how focused and driven you are on a daily basis, as well as how likely you are to cut corners — or not to.

Remind yourself at regular intervals of what you have to gain by staying focused (and what you can lose if you don’t)

Working as a freelancer, but especially as an entrepreneur, can be tricky partly because of the fact that it can be difficult to gauge if you’re being as focused and productive as you should be at any given moment.

Particularly if you don’t have big deadlines looming, it can be all too easy to lose focus, cut corners, and find yourself procrastinating for extended periods of time, if you’re not being held to account by something external.

A very effective and important discipline to develop is to remind yourself at regular intervals of what you have to gain by staying focused, and what you potentially have to lose by not.

By reminding yourself of what you’re working for and aspire to, while simultaneously reflecting on the long term damage that can occur if you end up “harmlessly” wasting time here and there throughout the day, can help you to consistently do your best.

Prioritise getting good sleep on a regular schedule

Sleep is massively important, both for your health, and also for your ability to perform to the best of your abilities at any range of activities — including remote work.

Due to the fact that freelancing and entrepreneurship typically offer a significant amount of flexibility in terms of how you schedule your days, many entrepreneurs and freelancers end up with haphazard schedules and poor sleep routines.

Simply put: if you consistently sleep less than you need, you will be exhausted, unmotivated, and your mental clarity and performance will suffer dramatically.

If you have an irregular sleep schedule, your circadian rhythm will be out of balance and the quality of your sleep, and daytime energy levels, will suffer.

Utilise time blocking and become adept at sticking to your schedule

“Time blocking” refers to the act of dividing the time available to you in a given day, into different “blocks” — each of which is dedicated to a particular activity.

It’s scheduling with an emphasis on single-tasking.

According to many very successful and influential entrepreneurs, time blocking has been an invaluable practice for them when it comes to maintaining everyday structure, and staying on top of their assorted tasks, projects, and obligations.

Utilising time blocking in your own life — and becoming adept at sticking to your schedule — can help you to be as productive as possible each day, while keeping a realistic sense of what you can expect to achieve in a given day.

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Darie Nani

Blogger, developer and business mentor.

Articles: 220

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