How to Become a "Super Freelancer"

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on June 26, 2012 in Productivity & Organization
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Some work days as freelancers are easy. We wake up ready to face the day. We enjoy the projects we're working on. And everything seems to go as planned.

Then there are days when nothing seems to go right. I've had several of these lately -- from backlogged work I'm still trying to catch up on to a neighbor who disrupts almost every work day riding unmuffled ATVs and shooting guns just a few yards from my window (in part because they know what a nuisance it is). Throw in family distractions, technical problems, and everything else life has to throw your way, and some days it's very hard to focus on work and get things done.

On days like these, I used to say I had to go into "superwoman" mode to get things done. And it's been a while since I've done that. But today that changes.

If you need a "super freelancer" day of your own to plow through things no matter how tense your surroundings are, here are a few of the things I do. Maybe they'll give you some ideas for going into your own hyper-focused work mode.

Kick Email to the Curb

I'm a notorious email checker. So today I'm going to keep my inbox closed until I finish a solid day of work. I'll catch up on responses afterward.

Say "No" to Social Media

I also won't be checking in on Twitter and other social media sites today. Remember, the world will go on whether you're there to chat about it or not for a day.

Kiss Blog Reading Goodbye


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Feed readers and my favorite blogs are also off the table on days like today. While they're good for networking with colleagues, they won't help you get through a massive to-do list. And they'll still be there when you get back to them.

Shut the Door

If you're lucky enough to have a door at your work space so you can lock yourself away from everyone and everything else, close it. Put up a sign if you have to. Get a babysitter for the day if you have to watch kids while you work. Do whatever you have to do to isolate yourself. You need a little alone time with your work.

Seek Motivation

Look for little things to motivate yourself. Maybe it's listening to energetic music. Maybe it's repeating empowering phrases or reviewing the big goals you're working toward. Do whatever might get you into gear for the work day. Start off right, and it's easier to keep on going.

Load up on What Fuels You

For me that means coffee and tea. I also have a candle going that tends to perk me up (pine and apple cinnamon can work well). Surround yourself with things that put you in the mood to work, whatever those things might be.

How do you go into "super freelancer" mode when you have to? How do you block everything else out and focus your energy on what needs to get finished, no matter what life's throwing at you? Some days are harder than others. Tell us in the comments how you get through the worst of them.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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9 Comments

  1. Cathy Miller June 26, 2012 Reply

    I have similar methods to yours, Jenn. We converted the living room into my office. We never used it anyway-we hang out in the family room. I love it because it’s spacious and has a beautiful view. The one drawback – no door.

    So, on the days I really need to focus, I close myself up in a bedroom that has a desk and my laptop hooked up to a monitor – and the room has a door – closed!

    I shut off my Blackberry because even if I ignore emails on the laptop, the blinking red light on my Blackberry is beyond distracting.

    And, I make a conscious effort to chant focus when I find I’m getting distracted.

    We’ll see you when you resurface, Jenn. :-)

    • Jennifer Mattern June 27, 2012 Reply

      It’s good that you have some flexibility and can choose whether to work with the view or in more of a closed up space. The view itself can sometimes be distracting.

  2. Stacey June 26, 2012 Reply

    In the last day or so, at the top of my daily schedule in my Blackberry I typed the names of a bunch of inspirational super freelancing colleagues and other inspiring text so I can meditate on it for a minute or two in order to throw me into the very mode you describe above. Doing this reminds me that others find a way, so, so can I. Sometimes cracking a whip against yourself, forcing yourself to “Just Do It” and get it all done is what it takes.

  3. Amandah June 27, 2012 Reply

    Jenn,

    Thank you for the reminder to “kick email to the curb” along with “saying “No” to social media.” I was doing okay and than BAM! I fell back into the trap of checking my email because it’s synced with my BlackBerry. Whenever I see the ‘red light’ flash on my BlackBerry, I know I received a ton of emails. Sigh. Is there a support group for this? :)

    P.S.

    I also got ‘sucked into’ blog reading.

  4. Allena June 27, 2012 Reply

    My neighbor’s lawn mower is ridiculously loud. Like, I swear it’s trying to die. I’ve been wanting to vent about it for days now, and just couldn’t find the appropriate outlet. In addition, if my kids have the TV on in another room, and the commercials just start SHOUTING at me- omg it makes me feel violent. As in, I seriously want to hunt down whoever that announcer is, and throttle them. Ok, hm, I feel better. Thanks Jennifer!

  5. Unpublished Guy June 27, 2012 Reply

    I load up on Goat Cheese and Hashish. It’s what fuels me.

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