The gig economy has drastically changed the way people work today, with more and more people deciding to freelance rather than take a full-time job at one company.
If you’re one of these people, you know how difficult it can be to stay productive while also juggling all your other responsibilities in life.
Being your own boss can be great, but it also means you need to keep yourself on task, especially if you’re among gig economy workers and have other jobs outside of your own business to attend to.
You may have no one else to tell you what to do or when to do it; this makes staying productive an entirely different challenge than it is for those who work traditional jobs where someone else holds them accountable.
To help you out, we’ve compiled 11 of our best productivity tips that will help you get things done!
With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on the prize, no matter how many other projects or obligations are vying for your attention.
11 Productivity Tips For Gig Economy Workers
1) Get an app to organize all your jobs
The influx of work from new gigs is exciting and fun, but can also be overwhelming.
When you have a lot of jobs, it’s easy to get busy, forget about other gigs and then sit at your computer waiting for another job rather than doing anything productive.
Use an app to organize all your jobs.
For example, there are apps that let you track clients, projects, and invoices so that you don’t have to worry about missing out on a new gig while you’re working on something else.
Bottom line: Get organized! If you have trouble keeping track of all your work, an app will help you focus on one task at a time.
2) Keep track of your hours
When it comes to taking care of business, you can’t afford to let your work speak for itself—you need to actively communicate how hard you’re working.
Take advantage of technology—as well as other services—to ensure that you can easily log your hours and keep track of them.
This is especially important if you’re not a W-2 employee but work on a contract or by commission.
If your earnings fluctuate, so will your taxes; making sure that your employer and tax preparation software (or accountant) have an accurate log of what you make is important if you want to avoid an unpleasant surprise come tax season.
3) Schedule Your Day Effectively
One of the most crucial elements of effective scheduling is planning around your biological clock.
That means if you’re a morning person, you should schedule tasks that demand peak cognitive abilities early in your day.
Conversely, late-night owls should schedule their day to reflect that tendency; perhaps they can focus on less-stimulating but important tasks as they wind down.
Effective time management goes beyond ensuring you’re scheduling around when you’re at your best–it’s about matching your energy level with what needs to get done.
If a task requires a burst of energy, don’t force yourself to do it when it’s going to sap all your strength.
4) Use Google Calendar
Your calendar should serve as a hub of all your tasks and deadlines. Create calendars that help you keep track of important events, such as conferences or deadlines.
Because Google Calendar is accessible via smartphone and computer, you can easily access your calendar no matter where you are or what device you’re using.
Share it with co-workers so they have visibility into your schedule, too.
It makes it easier to coordinate meetings on short notice—and ensures nothing slips through the cracks.
You can even use your calendar to set time limits on your social media usage, protecting against time-sucking rabbit holes like Instagramming every beautiful flower in sight—in search of #inspo!
5) Set up Auto-Reminders
Because gig workers often have a lot on their plates and aren’t always operating out of an office, it can be easy to forget things. We recommend setting up auto-reminders on your phone or tablet.
Then, you won’t need to worry about forgetting to call that client or follow up with a potential new contact.
You will be prompted before certain tasks are due and reminded when it’s time to get back to work! It can also help ease some scheduling issues when you remember all your appointments at once.
6) Don’t forget about Free Time
Working all day, every day can be taxing on both your mental and physical health. Being social is not only important for making new contacts—it also helps you get a break from work.
So spend some time with your friends; you’ll likely come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on more.
If you have to work through lunchtime, treat yourself to a quick walk outside or grab lunch at your favorite café instead of eating in front of your computer.
Even if it’s just an hour spent taking in some fresh air, that hour will make a huge difference in your productivity when you return.
7) Divide Large Tasks into Smaller Ones
The idea is simple.
Instead of setting yourself up to fail with a single gargantuan task, try breaking it down into smaller ones that are easier to manage and do something productive each day, rather than spending all day on something that won’t get finished.
A study in Psychological Science found that people who took steps toward their goals even when they didn’t feel like it ended up accomplishing more than those who waited until they were motivated.
The lesson: even when you don’t feel like working toward your goal, don’t wait until you do before you start working on it—that’s probably when you’ll be least productive and most likely to give up.
8) Have a social life
If you’re working in a flexible job, it’s important to make sure you have a healthy work-life balance.
Having friends, family and an active social life is not only good for your mental health but also good for your physical health and brainpower!
People who engage in social activities on a regular basis tend to live longer, according to studies by Stanford University.
Make time to meet up with friends or go out with colleagues after work every week. This will help prevent burnout while improving team morale.
If you feel like you’re spending too much time with work—even if that extra time is making you more productive—it might be worth taking a look at whether your own attitude toward work is becoming unhealthy.
9) Work When Most Productive
No two people are alike, which means that no two work at their most productive times of day.
To determine your most productive time, start by jotting down when you think you work best during a typical week—do you wake up early to tackle your to-do list or do you prefer working late in the evening?
Understanding your natural tendencies will give you a better chance of planning a schedule that works best for you.
Also keep in mind that certain tasks lend themselves better to certain types of schedules; brainstorming, writing and editing work better in quiet settings while managing client calls and meetings are often more conducive to flexible schedules.
10) Don’t Multitask (Unless You Are Good At It!)
Multitasking is a term often used incorrectly and frequently abused. Our brains simply aren’t built to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, even though it feels like we can.
If you want to get more done in less time, focus on one task at a time while shutting off distractions (otherwise known as turning off your brain).
While that might sound counterproductive, it actually allows you to get into flow—the state of concentration in which we feel we are capable of doing our best work. Don’t believe us?
11) Reward Yourself For Getting Things Done
Take a moment to celebrate yourself after you check off an item on your to-do list.
A pat on the back will help motivate you to get more things done throughout your day, and research shows that people who reward themselves are more productive than those who don’t.
Reward yourself in a way that’s meaningful to you, whether it’s getting together with friends or treating yourself to a movie and dinner out when you complete your tasks.
Remember: rewards don’t have to be work-related. If watching TV helps boost your energy level during busy weeks, then go ahead and treat yourself!
Understand that your time is valuable and don’t waste it on activities that do not help you reach your goals.
Taking advantage of today’s technology can make your work/life much easier, so take a step back and look at how you can use tools like Slack, Asana, Google Calendar, Toggl, and Wunderlist to make sure you get done what you need to get done.
While it’s important to work hard, it’s also important to be realistic.
Making too many commitments can spread you too thin and increase your stress levels, making it difficult to stay on top of everything.
It may seem counterintuitive but try not to take on any more projects than you can realistically handle. Give yourself time and space for self-care and even taking breaks from work.
In order to be productive in your line of work, you need mental clarity, energy and efficiency – don’t let bad habits or a busy schedule get in your way!