I have let go of a lot of stuff since becoming a freelancer.

Elsa

 

No longer am I a slave to my inbox. I set the workplan for my clients and any communications I tend to receive relate to the objectives I’ve set. No-one ever asks anything of me that isn’t related to the task in hand (usually fundraising). This is because my time (billed to clients by the day) has become intensely precious. The space I hold for clients is purely for them and is focused on work which will help them to generate more income. No random interruptions which distract from this essential mission.

I have shed those things which inevitably occupy space if you work for a large organisation: round robin meeting requests inviting me to things only vaguely relating to my role (fire warden anyone?). I am no longer expected to bend and flex according to someone else’s idea of what I should be doing, for example, flavour of the month initiatives which are off strategy, whims and fancies of senior leaders, small short-term wins over sustained long term growth.

Having shed the nagging feeling of obligation to engage in all of this, I now feel free.

I am and island and I love it.

I have also completely shed the feelings of guilt that come from taking the occasional morning yoga class, lunchtime run or pre-school run trolley dash around the supermarket. Presenteeism (my least favourite thing ever, along with mushrooms, injustice, and cafes that announce that they’ve run out of maple syrup just after you’ve put in your pancake order) simply doesn’t exist in the freelance world.

Abolishing corporate culture as we know it, specifically its odd preoccupation with time over results has become a passion of mine. Tim Ferris attacks these societal norms with irreverence in his book ‘The Four-Hour Work Week’. He doesn’t pull any punches or seek to hide his anger at the system:

“This schedule is a collective social agreement and a dinosaur legacy...how is it possible that all of the people in the world need exactly 8 hours to accomplish their work? It isn’t. 9-5 is arbitrary”.

Freelancing for me has opened a new world of productivity, focus, clarity around what constitutes important work and freedom.

For those of you who want to get more done in less time, here are some things to try now:

  • Block out time in your diary for specific tasks. Give yourself deadlines. Monotasking is the way.
  • Stay away from the office (or book a meeting room if your boss is terribly old fashioned) for a bit of peace and quiet to help you hit those deadlines.
  • DO NOT allow emails to sync with your phone. If its important, they’ll call.
  • Close down open windows on your desktop and use airplane mode on your smartphone to help you through those important tasks.

Please tell me your favourite productivity tips. There’s always more to learn and I am a sponge when it comes to this stuff...