Self-Discipline Key to Productivity -- 3 Things You Can Do to Stay Focused
by Kristen Fischer












You'd think that not having a boss
breathing over your head would be
easy -- but the truth is that freelancers
struggle with productivity, too.

Maybe it happens when we have
a deadline that's a little far off.
Or because it's hard to work when
it's so nice outside. I'm convinced pajamas play a role, too. (Even when we change out
of them and begin our workday -- they're still just too close by!)

No matter what keeps you from staying productive, here are some tips to stay on track.
I firmly believe that these tips will help you if you "work" them, and if you start to try to
discipline yourself -- and realize that yes, discipline wasn't reserved for your 2nd grade
teacher. It's a skill you will need to use for the rest of your life -- especially if you work
solo.

Use time spurts.

Sometimes I'm really itching to go out for a walk or simply take a break and lay on the
couch. But when I've got a deadline, I like to push myself -- in spurts. I will tell myself
to work for another half hour (or finish up to a certain section) before I get a break. If
temptation strikes and I want to check my email, for example, I simply close the
Outlook window and focus my best. I always make sure I have what I need to work,
though, which leads me to the next tip.

Feed the need.

It's not always so easy to focus on something, but it's easier to do it with a little
motivation. I'll fix myself a cup of tea or let myself watch the last 10 minutes of my soap
-- knowing that if I get those treats, I'm going to have to work them off. Then I make sure
I do what I said I would. When the voice creeps up that says, "It's not due till next week
anyway," I simply cast it aside. So many people get sidetracked by that silly
procrastination voice. The key to overcoming procrastination is simply to talk back to
that lazy tone.

Use a to-do.

If you're not using a daily to-do list and a long-range planner --why not? Writing things
down helps you remember what you need to do. Take it a step further. Every morning
prioritize what needs to be done. Check in with yourself, and your list, during the day.
What came up that had to be worked in? What can wait till tomorrow? Checking in
helps you avoid panic when it's 5 p.m. and you want to stop working but realize that
you haven't done anything on your list. At the end of your workday, start drafting
tomorrow's list. Try not to be too harsh with your list, either. Nothing is set in stone
--but you do need to stay on top of your tasks.

These are just a few things to get you started on a path to better productivity. Kick
yourself in the butt a little -- in the nicest way, of course -- and you'll be well on your
way to working smarter!







About the author: Learn more about Kristen Fischer at  Kristen Fischer or Creatively Self
Employed.

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