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A lot of people email me. They are like, "Clint. You should probably pay your credit card bill." They're unprofessional emails, and I refuse to deal with a bank that can't personally call me and ask me nicely if I'd like to give them money as a gift since they're having a tough time this month.
But those aren't the emails I want to talk about. I also get a lot of emails from people who are just starting out freelancing. They want to know how to stay on task and get their stuff done. It's tough being your own boss. So here's a few ideas on how to keep yourself motivated and working.
- Keep the TV on in the background. There is nothing like sitting on your laptop slamming out an article while distracting things happen in the background. Sometimes, I get so productive with this method that my jaw goes slack with my brilliance. Sometimes, I will produce up to a quarter of an article per day with this clever little tip. Additionally, you should put on your favorite movie. I find it motivating.
- Take frequent breaks every five to ten minutes. I suggest the following sites: Gawker, Facebook, Wikipedia, TV Tropes, or any given webcomic that has been online for longer than five years. If you take a break every five to ten minutes, then you keep your brain fresh. Be sure to take a break that is at least 30 minutes long. You need the rest!
- Leave the chat programs on. You may have a 5 PM deadline today, but you don't want to sacrifice your social life. That's why it's always a good time to fire up AIM, GChat, and Skype so that you can stay in the loop with all your buds. Remember, you may not have left your house in six months, but there's no reason why you can't have a shallow and brief conversation with each of your friends who happen to be online at work. This is known as networking because you are on a network.
- Multitask with involved chores. While you're writing, there is no reason why you cannot do a little sprucing up of the homestead. I'm not talking about amateur errands like laundry or groceries either–you ought to spend time on intensive projects like scrubbing the grout in your bathroom, refinishing your floors by hand, producing an intricate mosaic tile pattern in your kitchen, or adding a rec room to your house. Personally, I am a fan of custom-making wooden furniture for my house. These are all projects you can do as a quick little break from your ever-increasing stack of projects to complete.
- Surf the web mindlessly. If you have something really important to do, here's what I would suggest you do. Look at your email inbox, sigh sadly, then turn to your browser (Firefox is best, but you can easily make do with Internet Explorer or Safari). Type in random phrases or try to find a website you visited once seven years ago. Please note that this is different from tip #2 because I needed to come up with five tips but then it turns out I hadn't seen the latest episode of Caprica so I put that on first, and now I am making a quality article.
These tips will make you ultimately more productive. Hammer away at these five points (which are totally five points and not four stretched out to be five) until you're a successful freelancer. Shower me with praise via email.