It can be hard to be motivated and stay productive as a freelancer, especially during those times when the work dwindles and we’re in a lull. It can also be difficult when the work you’re doing doesn’t interest you, or you’re working with a difficult client (and you will have those), or you’re overloaded and behind on your deadlines. This is when you need to have some motivation boosters and ideas to keep you going.
Of course the biggest and most inherent motivator towards productivity is independent income – it’s the reason we became freelancers. Knowing that you need to pay your bills and buy that new gadget or pay for those prescriptions is sometimes enough to get you going. But when even that isn’t enough, we need to call the troops in.
My biggest external sources of motivation come from reading about other people’s experiences, successes, lessons, and ideas. I know this may sound like a strange source of productivity boost, but it works really well because:
- You don’t feel so alone. When others share their experiences you can almost always identify elements of yourself your experiences in their stories. This can help you to feel and know that you are not plugging along in no man’s land, that you are part of a community.
- You learn great lessons. None of us is the ultimate self-contained fount of wisdom. Even the gurus have lessons to learn. In the stories and ideas of others you will always learn something new, or relearn something you had forgotten.
- You can pick up great tools. You’d be amazed at how many resources are out there to help you be more productive, whether they be personal planners, or software applications, or some workflow or template that someone has created and shared.
- You network. When I read blogs and forums I always leave comments and share my thoughts, and become part of the dialogue. In the process, I build relationships and networks through which I can find work, refer work, and just build great support systems.
I could go on and on listing all the benefits to be gained from reading to boost your productivity, but I think you get the idea. I will share here with you my most favorite blogs/websites that help me to boost my productivity. I subscribe to their feeds and check them every day, and many times several times a day.
- Lifehack – Absolutely my favorite source of motivational ideas and productivity boosters. With a variety of very skilled writers, Lifehack brings a wealth of information and resources and very practical tips to its readers everyday.
- Scott H. Young – Scott’s blog is inspirational, to say the least. For someone who is interested in productivity, excellence, and personal development, this is a great place to camp and learn.
- LifeGoalAction – I have to mention this blog because even though the author seems to have gone MIA as of this posting, his few posts absolutely blew my mind and have helped me shift my thinking in radical ways. I hope he returns to share more with us.
These two are my absolute staples. Others sites that I find teach me a lot in general about being productive, although not necessarily directly:
- Creating Passionate Users – Even though this blog is no longer updated, it’s still a gold mine of information and ideas that are useful, and more importantly, that will help you think outside the box. I have dug out some excellent business concepts and ideas on how to deal with clients and create better business relationships.
- Lifehacker – Not to be confused with Lifehack listed above, Lifehacker brings you every day tips and ideas on different things to do with general living, tech stuff, how to shave without razor bumps, and such. It’s definitely an interesting read.
What do you do as a freelancer that increases your motivation and boosts your productivity?
Are there any websites or resources that you have found particularly useful and effective?