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As a freelance writer, my income success is heavily contingent upon a high level of productivity partly fueled by a steady stream of creativity. To this end, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years that are conducive to keeping my focus and promoting both creativity and productivity.
I’d like to share five of these tips, which should be of benefit no matter what industry you work in:
- Restrict your social media habits to a predetermined time frame during the day. Schedule a brief period of time to make tweets, check statuses, and post photos. Make sure that your work time and your social time aren’t in conflict.
- Mute your phone. Simply don’t answer your phone during the time that you’re scheduled to work. Change your voicemail message to indicate to callers that messages will be retrieved and calls returned during specific blocks of time throughout the day. Tell your inner circle to text you in the case of real emergencies and assign a notable ring tone to your notifications.
- Turn off the TV! This one tip more than any other has increased my productivity substantially. If there are TV programs that come on during the day that you just must see you can always record them for later viewing. You may find that you enjoy your favorite shows more once they’re recorded because you gain the ability to fast forward through commercials and scenes that don’t appeal to you.
- Don’t answer your door. All my family and friends know not to come by my house without calling first. I’m notorious for not answering the door to an unexpected visitor when I’m working despite the fact that they can clearly see that I’m home. My work time is my work time, not social time, and this is the most effective way that I’ve found to communicate this boundary.
- Defer household tasks until after you’ve finished working. I know that that pile of dishes is calling your name and that that group of dust bunnies is inviting you to a game of tag, but just say no to subtle distractions. Have fixed days and times to take care of routine household and maintenance tasks and discipline yourself to adhere to them. Ask other family members, if available, to assist you in keeping up with chores.
If you follow these five steps, I promise that you’ll see a measurable increase in both your creativity and productivity, and in most contexts these increases will correlate directly to measurable increases in income.
So what about you? Any tips that you'd like to share that have enhanced your own creativity and productivity?