Productivity tips and tricks that work? Yes, it is possible!
As a freelance online marketing consultant my goal is to achieve high productivity and to deliver great results to my clients. It took me a while to realize that strict planning is indispensable when you have to manage many different project. After months of trial and error I came up with the best productivity tip that is working great for me. I never work on more than 3 projects.
My Three Focus Rule was born over а year ago, after my summer vacation when I had to get back to my normal schedule plus finding time to fit some additional projects. Let me make this straight – when I say projects, that includes personal ones too. So I had my two long-term clients and my Master degree that I had to finish in November. But I started another course that was about to last 10 months. It’s safe to say that I was overwhelmed.
The big revelation came when I met my limits – I can’t work on all 4 projects during the same day. Sometimes – even during the same week. This led me to the understanding that I can’t focus my attention to more than 3 things at the same time.
How did that change my work?
First, I needed to decide what is more important and leave the additional projects on Pause. Then I separated my working hours according to my productivity – I tend to write more at the afternoon and do some half-automated tasks in the morning. Most importantly – I don’t multitask. I never switch between 2 projects during my work hours – I finish my tasks and move to the next one. This resulted in more work done, happy clients and more energy for me to work on my third project.
The Three Focus Rule I decided to use is really simple – you can switch between 2 big projects but you can’t do that with 3. The third focus needs to be a smaller one, a short-term project that will not take all of your time. The third focus is the one that you would change more often than the other two. This lets you work better and faster for your clients. And they are happier than ever.
How do I work now, a year later?
I still use the Three Focus Rule for my work projects – I have 2 main long-term relationships and accept short-term smaller projects in the meantime. But as I am now more efficient and productive, I feel like my personal projects don’t interfere with work. Leaving enough time to invest in another project. Which I find great and highly inspiring for a freelancer.
I’m also more selective on the projects that I work with – if I don’t feel like the topic will be interesting to me, I tell that directly to the client. I can help with suggesting other colleagues that might help but I don’t work on projects that I don’t have a passion for.
I realized that when I organize my work projects better, I have more energy and time for my personal ones. I’m definitely more creative, enthusiastic and efficient now. This simple productivity trick has helped me plan my time better, thought me focus on the big things and reject uninteresting opportunities.