Monday, July 8, 2013

Coping With Distractions and Interruptions

The majority of freelancers work from home, and although there are many advantages that comes with setting your own pace, the freedom of not having a boss or supervisor can have drawbacks, too.

It's a well-known fact that distractions are a freelancer's number one enemy. There are also a thousand and one ways that you can be interrupted if you don't guard your schedule.

But if you're really serious about keeping your freelance business going, you only need to keep a few things in mind. Here are several of the most common distractions that freelancers face and effective ways to minimize or cope with them:

(1.) Telephone calls

I'm not talking about phone calls from your clients. You may have friends who, upon hearing that you decided to work from home, assumed that you now have a lot of discretionary time, and kept badgering you with attempts to engage you in endless chit-chat.

Unwanted phone calls can be extremely time-consuming. The only way to deal with this is to tell people upfront that you will entertain calls only during certain hours, like lunch time or late in the afternoon.

(2.) Television

You're convinced that you can't get your creative juices flowing until you've had some form of "stimulant," so you tune in to the television "just to find out what's on." Before you know it, you're hooked on a popular talk show or soap opera, and what you originally intended to be just a 10-minute channel surfing stretched to an hour. 

I'm not saying television is bad. Instead, try this technique: use it to reward yourself after finishing your tasks for the day. Once you've tackled a project that's been particularly tedious, you'll feel a lot more relaxed and a lot less guilty while watching your favorite show.

(3.) Social media

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, you name it. If your work as a freelancer requires you to spend time doing research on the Internet, it can be very tempting to log on to these sites to catch up with friends, look at photos, read some piece of gossip, etc.

The key is to monitor the number of hours you spend online. Have a daily to-do list at hand, and resolve to finish most of the tasks on your to-do list before you even think about checking out social media sites.

You can also hit two birds with one stone by composing and sending your business emails on the same day that you plan to write a personal message to your family members or friends.

Stay tuned for my next article installment where I will cite the two remaining distractions that can ruin a freelancer's routine.

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