María Alcaraz

Six things many freelance workers do and should stop doing


Productivity and efficiency are two features that every freelance professional or entrepreneur tries to include in all their activities. We want to take these values along in everything we do, but we unconsciously shift towards our “default mode” when working.

Even without our knowing it, those tasks and habits we do without even thinking about them significantly reduce our efficiency and productivity. Worst of all, we don’t even realize that we are doing so.

Tasks and habits to improve our business management

  1. Do not answer e-mails first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. When you start your working day, you should set to work on the tasks that were given top priority for that day. Leaving it as a last-minute task will probably bring along a sleepless night, as you will spend the night worrying over your work.
  2. Don’t set a meeting with anybody unless you have a definite outline of what you need to talk about and a scheduled time for the meeting to finish. There’s no need for a meeting lasting longer than 30 minutes. Having a scheduled, outlined meeting will make you look professional, and your productivity will increase.
  3. Don’t let the people you meet with get off the subject. Depending on who you meet, they may tell you about what they did at the weekend, where they come from, where they will be going for the holidays... In a subtle manner, you should try to focus conversations with a view to making them as efficient as possible.
  4. Set the 80 – 20 rule, and stop working with some clients according to that. How can I stop working with any client in the current economic context? First of all, find out which is the 20% of your clients that is providing you with 80% of your benefits. Find out as well which is the 20% of your clients that uses up 80% of your time and resources. Kindly meet the latter and try to set rules to improve your productivity; pretend you are just introducing the information to help them improve their own productivity. If still there is no way to improve the situation, carefully consider whether you should really keep them as clients in your job or company.
  5. Leave your smartphone in a drawer, at least one day a week. In order to be productive at work you need to free your mind from time to time, so that you may come back with new energy and ideas.
  6. In line with what we mentioned in the point above, work hard to schedule a date with your partner or an activity you love (as hard as you work to get new clients). Try to find time and make room for you and your passions. If you manage to do so, you will be much happier in the long-term, and your productivity will increase as a consequence.
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