Online freelancers sometimes waste time / procrastinate when they are supposed to be busy finishing work outsourced to them.
Some find a way to deal with their procrastination and get better at managing their time but there are many who just go on for a very long time getting anxious from time to time because of their inability to avoid the many distractions that lead to them not finishing work on time.
Sometimes a freelancer will even lose a client or two before they start thinking deeply about ways to become better organized and utilize their time only on the things that matter the most.
In this article, I share a list of some of the distractions that has causes many a freelancer to waste their time being busy while not getting any actual work (that pays the bills) done.
Where online freelancers waste most of their time + some procrastination remedies you can start implementing today
Social media. So, spending time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn when you should be doing work a client has hired you to do. You might yourself on your news feed scrolling and scrolling looking for funny things to laugh at / comment on.
Or you might just be clicking on links to some of the websites you follow their pages. Sometimes procrastinating on social media can take the shape of checking updates from some of the Facebook groups you have joined.
You might find yourself reading some of the interesting posts in these groups hoping to share what you know or to learn new things. Or you might find yourself saving some of the posts for later.
Remedy: The best way to not let social media sites / apps not to distract you is to just turn them off when you are working. For example, if you are using your smartphone, you can close all the apps like Facebook Messenger or Instagram until you finish working on a task outsourced to you.
If you are on a laptop or desktop computer, you can usually just close tabs on your web browser that you don’t use to lessen the temptation of wanting to check new updates and notifications on theses sites.
TV, series and movies. So, watching television, TV shows and movies when you should be at your desk starting work on a project assigned to you by a client.
If a client sends you work when you were in the middle of a good series, you might be tempted to spend a few hours to just watch a little bit before you get back to work, promising yourself that you will get the work done on matter what – even if you have to go to bed late or wake up early the next morning. Only that sometimes you might just feel too tired to do either.
Or you might succeed at doing both but fail to get enough rest. So, the next day you might wake up feeling tired / drained and delay working on any other assignment you have creating a cycle where you just allow watching TV mess with your schedule in a big way.
Remedy: Any time you are in front of your laptop / computer trying to write an article for a client for example and nothing seems to come up immediately, don’t turn on the TV or start streaming a movie / series, just find an angle to tackle the work.
For example, nobody said that in order for you to write a good article you must first write the introduction (first few paragraphs). You can start from the middle or near the end. Just use the outline you create to guide you.
YouTube videos. So, getting pulled into all those loud things (bikes and cars), all the cute stuff (cats, dogs and babies), all the did you know videos and all the other awesome rants, comedy and music when you should be working on tasks outsourced to you. Plus YouTube can be random.
You might be doing research a d while reading find a video embedded in a webpage, click play and find yourself watching other things recommended to you by the search engine.
Remedy: Whenever you see the You in YouTube when working on a project think this: not me, not now. YouTube can be such a big distraction, you just have to turn it off (apps & web browser tabs) when working. But once you are done, you can jump on the site and feast your eyes and ears on a few videos.
Reading too much. So, doing way too much research for example when you are asked to write an article. Or just learning more stuff now that you may not need even in the coming months when you know there is some work waiting for you to be completed.
Remedy: Finish whatever work is outsourced to you as fast as possible. Then read later. Bookmarked all the stuff you don’t have to read now, so you can easily access them later.
Video games. So, playing any games on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, Xbox or PlayStation before finishing your work. There are a times when playing for 5 to 10 minutes can be a great distraction from the work you are doing especially if you are using that break to find new ideas you can incorporate in the work.
But if you are just playing for the sake of playing and telling yourself to play just one more game, you will be disturbing the flow of your work. Meaning that you can easily find yourself taking more time to finish something that could have been completed sooner if you didn’t take your mind off the work for too long to concentrate on whatever video game you like playing.
Remedy: :No to games until later’ that is all you need to tell yourself. Give yourself the reward when you finish the work. Look forward to playing your favorite game only after you finish your work.
Big to-do lists. So, trying to swallow more than you can chew and then getting so stressed that you basically end up messing a better part of your day.
Remedy: Create simple to-do lists with just a few things you need to complete each day. You don’t have to cram every single thing in one day when you have a full week. Spread things across all those other days and allow yourself time to do everything you wan to do without a lot of pressure.
Doing the final touches on a project. So, editing and proofreading for example when hired to write an article. Or uploading a piece of content with all the right images / screenshots if hired to work as a virtual assistant.
Remedy: Dash for a few minutes / hours and get back to the work. Make the final touches, send the work and then enjoy your break.
And if you have slow internet where if one tab is loading you will be tempted to open many others, the best thing you can do for yourself is to open a few tabs at a time. Limit them to even 5 if you can. Just have only the tabs you need open.
Why you want to finish work outsourced to you quickly
You want to complete your work quickly so that you can:
- Get more time to bid on new jobs. Or to use other methods such as cold pitching to get more work.
- Get more time to relax and have fun. Get time to rejuvenate. To just relax and not be anxious. Use your down time to get in a better frame of mind for when you start working on other projects.
- Get more time for your own projects. Writing blog posts for your blog for example.
- Get the habit ingrained in you. Teach your brain to always aim for the reward you get when you finish work early: the piece of mind you get when you know that there is nothing pending that will force you to start panicking and rushing things.
- Get more time for naps. And also get to go to bed earlier than you used to.
- Get more time to browse ad listings on Entity Marketplace to find more work. Or to place an ad listing on Entity for free with details about the freelance service you offer.