Got 15 Minutes to Become a Productive Freelancer?

Of course you do.

Is being a more productive freelancer on your soon to be created New Year resolutions list? Well, we have good news: Contrary to popular belief, we all have a few pockets during the day where we’re waiting on public transportation, surfing the web, waiting for your significant other, or just have a little extra time. Come on, admit it, you may have pretended previously to be busier than you actually are. Right?

We’re bringing this up because you’d be surprised at how productive you can be in just a 15-minute timeframe. After reading this, you might even want to build taking 15 minutes for productivity into every hour of your daily routine to do something other than your project.

A concentrated 15-minute burst of focusing on being a productive freelancer can help you cross some important items off your ever-expanding to-do list and get prepared for the bigger, time-consuming projects you have.

Here are 15 things you can accomplish with your newly discovered 15 minutes:

1: EMAILS: You could check your emails and respond to outstanding messages, or you could attempt to delete or better organize them into folders.

2: TO-DO LISTS: You can easily work on writing up a to-do list to keep track of the things you have to do. You can also rank them by priority, ease of the task, or additional non-work-related jobs of which you have to take care.

3: SOCIAL MEDIA: Is maintaining a brand important for your freelancing career? Of course it is! Use that time to check (your business page) social media, plan out a few tweets, make a Facebook post or share a story. If you so desire, you could even start deleting tweets or Facebook pictures you don’t need or want.

4: PICTURES: Use the quarter hour you have to take pictures of the things around you, either for Instagram, your own memories, mood boards, or for inspiration.

5: BRAINSTORMING: Make sure you have a notebook on you for this. Start brainstorming ideas for projects or for things that you want to do. Take a breath and look around you, taking in all the sights, smells, textures, sounds surrounding you, and write down what you find appealing. You never know what ideas might come out of simply paying attention to the small details you might otherwise overlook on your daily commute or folding laundry.

6: FRIENDS AND FAMILY: If you’re anything like me, you aren’t the best responder when it comes to non-essential texts or messages. Use this time to respond to any texts or calls that you have to help minimize distractions when you’re working later.

7: GOALS AND PLANNING: Write out a list of goals you have, for the week, month, or even year. Write out the skills you want to gain. Figure out what your passion is—it will help in the long run when choosing projects that help you advance the kind of experience you have doing the jobs you want to do.

8: STAY UPDATED AND GET INFORMED: Read some of the news stories of the day on your favorite media sites. Keeping up with current affairs can help give you inspiration, remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing, and make you more informed which is never a bad thing.

9: BLOGS: Read an article or a blog post that pertains to some of the other projects you have. Inspiration abounds—it also helps if you make sure you’re not producing work that copies others, or work that’s already been done before.

10: EXERCISE: Do some push-ups. Or some crunches. Or jumping jacks. Got a jump rope? Use it! Even just stretching and doing breathing exercises can help you get centered and relaxed for what you have to work on next.

11: CLEAN: A clean and organized workspace can drastically impact your productivity levels and minimize distractions. I can’t tell you how many times I use cleaning as a form of procrastination. Setting aside 15 minutes to straighten up your desk or do the dishes can really help you later on.

12: UPDATE YOUR CV: Make sure your CV/resume is up-to-date with all of the projects you’ve been working on and the skills that you’ve gained. Update your website by adding anything from your portfolio that’s not on there yet.

13: TAKE TIME TO REFLECT: Think about some of the problems you’ve been having recently, whether difficult clients, trouble with time management, concerns about money, or lack of motivation. The first step to fixing something is to recognize that it’s an issue. Once you have a general idea of some of the difficulties in your life, choose one and think about some of your habits and what you can change (if anything) to help alleviate the stress those issues might be causing.

14: DELETE, DELETE, DELETE: Some files and pictures and documents are worth saving—some definitely are not. You could use this time to start getting rid of things you no longer need, like that stock photo you thought a client might like, or a document you started that has only three words on it. Clearing up space is not only practical in that your computer or smartphone or tablet is freed up for new files, but also is truly effective at helping you have peace of mind.

15: LAUGH LIKE IT’S THE BEST MEDICINE: Pretty much everyone concludes that humor and laughter can drastically impact your mood—get on Tumblr or Vine or your favorite web-comic site and use this time to decompress and get a few laughs in your day.

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