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Productivity

50+ Ways to Improve Your Productivity

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Maximizing productivity is a never-ending task for most freelancers. There’s always some way that we can improve or some area that’s lacking the attention it deserves. This post serves as a guide and a reminder for ways that we can get more done and make better use of our time. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

Goals:

1. Set Goals

Goals are critical to success in any career, but as a freelancer you won’t have a boss pushing you to meet your goals every month. If you don’t set goals for yourself and your business, no one else will. Having some established and measurable goals will help you to stay productive by keeping you focused on the actions that are critical to success.

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Effective Prioritizing

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often a juggling act. Not only are you working on several different projects at any given time, but you’ve probably also got projects that are all at various stages of development.

Starting new projects, finishing others, and diving deeper into even more can make organization and planning a difficult task. You’ll constantly be facing the challenge of managing your time effectively to balance all of your clients and to keep completing jobs.

If you’re like me, there’s nothing more satisfying than completing a job and crossing it off of your to-do list (well, getting paid is pretty rewarding too, but that’s getting off track). Personally, I function far more effectively when I have a challenging but realistic list of tasks for each day and each week. Without planning for the use of my time I tend to lose focus and spend my time less productively.

As I’m creating my task list for each day, and throughout the day as I determine how to allocate my time for each task, I have to prioritize. Effective prioritizing is a necessity for freelancers to maximize their efficiency and productivity. Because we’re all different, what works for me may not work for you. There’s no right or wrong approach, but we all need to find our own ideal method of prioritizing.

Before getting into the details of prioritizing it’s helpful to define the difference between “important” and “urgent.” The basic difference is time sensitivity. An urgent task needs to be done in short order, where as an important task is critical for some reason, even though it may or may not need to be done immediately. Tasks on your agenda can be both urgent and important, one or the other, or they could be neither.

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9 Tools to Keep You in Sync With Clients and Colleagues

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These days the idea of a design team is usually wide open to location. Your creative director could be in LA while the designers work in New York, and the client lives in Texas. To keep in sync and get all the work done on time, I’ve found that I can’t work without certain tools. Here’s a small list of applications and websites that aid collaboration over long distances that and are either free or very affordable.

1. Google Site Apps

Many of you with your own domain may not realize the amazing potential of Google Apps for domain owners. If you run a team or just freelance yourself, you could gain tremendously from setting up a free account. First off, instead of that horrible web mail your host either provides for or charges you for, you could get Gmail and its storage for free. Yes, thats right, and it’s personally branded. There are different options, but if you’re under 100 employees, its straight-up free.

You also get a useful start page (such as start.mydomain.com) that you can use as a login point for clients or employees. Like iGoogle, you have widgets that can be added to the page. Your far left-side is locked for things you want all those logging in to see. For example, a calendar to keep track of deadlines and meetings, or the RSS feed of a production blog. You can even have your inbox on the startup page.

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