Editors note: This is a guest blog post by Julian Wills, Web Developer at Hallway Studios (and side-setter)
Working as a creative solopreneur or side-setter is immensely rewarding – but maintaining productivity on creative projects where you don’t have the structure of a traditional working environment can be difficult.
I’ve put together 4 simple but effective tips that will allow you to fast-track achievement of your goals, and prevent procrastination from holding back your productivity.
Incorporating these simple tips into your daily routine will help you get the most out of every day. It is incredible the amount you can achieve in one day if you take the right approach. Getting started is the hardest part. It takes a lot of discipline and dedication to make wholesale changes to your daily routine – but the benefits can be astonishing.
1. You snooze you loose
We all know the feeling; your alarm goes off and the bedroom outside of your duvet is colder than the arctic tundra. In a state of sleep induced stupor you reach for the snooze button – what harm can ten more minutes of sleep really do?
Well, quite a lot actually! Research has shown that hitting the snooze button can cause “sleep inertia” – a state of lowered alertness that can interfere with your ability to perform mental and physical tasks. When you repeatedly use the snooze button you are fragmenting any extra sleep you get, meaning it is of poor quality and isn’t going to make you feel any more refreshed.
Breaking your snooze addiction can be a tricky task. The first step is to make sure that you are getting enough sleep in the first place. The experts recommend that adults should get between 7-9 hours sleep a night.
However, don’t make the mistake of setting your alarm clock earlier so you can get in some snooze time. When your alarm goes off, the urge to snooze is always going to be there – trust that when you set your alarm the night before you were in a higher state of consciousness than you are now, and drag yourself out of bed!
2. Work up a sweat
Recent research has shown that people who exercise regularly scored higher on tests of creativity than those who didn’t. Not only this, but exercise helps you feel more alert, improving productivity. But there is a catch – only regular exercise counts. Intense, one-off bouts of exercise can actually have a negative impact on productivity due to fatigue. Regular exercise will help you build up a level of fitness that prevents this fatigue, enabling you to reap the creative rewards of staying fit.
Going to the gym and signing up for some classes is a great opportunity to get out of the house and meet some new people. This is particularly important if you work alone, as you can easily find yourself going days on end without human contact. Consider doing exercise as part of your morning routine if you find your energy levels lacking in the early hours.
3. Grow your own
Houseplants are a great way to add some colour and flair to your working environment. On top of this, they perform a number of health enhancing tasks such purifying the air and increasing oxygen levels. Research conducted at the Chelsea Flower Show has proven that having houseplants in your working environment can improve creativity by 45% and productivity by 38%.
Sound good? So how can the budding (pun intended) indoor gardener get started with houseplants? Check out this excellent guide on easy to grow houseplants to start benefitting from foliage in your workspace.
4. Plan to win
One of the best things you can do to increase your daily productivity is to plan ahead. Before you go to bed, set out a plan of what you want to achieve the following day. Waking up with a clear plan of the goals you want to achieve for the day is great motivation to get out of bed and beat the snooze button. Sticking to a daily plan will help you allocate your time efficiently and stave off procrastination.
“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
Plan to tackle the tasks you find the hardest first. This process, dubbed “Eating the frog”, sets a positive tone for the rest of your day, freeing you from the shackles of that daunting task. You might find that as you become better at daily planning you will be able to free up more time to do some of those things you have been meaning to for years, like learning a new instrument – another great way to express your creativity!
Ultimately, maximising your productivity and creativity comes down to your mind-set. If you adopt a positive approach, tackling each day with enthusiasm and a clear plan, you can achieve so much!
Over to you
Which of the four tips have worked best for you? What would you ass to the list?
Julian Wills is a Web Developer at Hallway Studios (and side-setter), an agency in Watford (Hertfordshire) that turns great client ideas into beautifully designed web products, services and applications, underpinned by a range of digital marketing support to get them in front of the right people.