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Improving productivity when you’re self-employed is really important. It can help to keep you motivated and your business healthy and growing. However, staying productive can be difficult, so we’ve put together some strategies to give you a head start.

Write a business plan to stay focused

A business plan is a document which sets out a business’s ambitions and goals, along with the timeline, methods and finances needed to achieve them. It might also include a mission statement as well as details about what products or services the business offers.

In terms of timeframes, a business plan will usually include benchmarks like:

Once you’ve written your business plan, make sure you keep referring back to it and updating it regularly as well.

Regularly review financial reports

Keeping a close eye on what you’ve got coming into and out of your business can help identify areas that aren’t as efficient as they could be. Take a close look at your bank statements, tax records, invoices, and any other financial reports (sometimes known as management accounts) that relate to your business, and carry out checks regularly. You can soon spot issues before they become problems.

Managing your finances, budget, and cash flow will help you to minimise stress and distractions. And of course, set aside money for your tax returns!

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Set clear and realistic goals

Make sure you set clear, specific, and achievable goals for your work. Having a roadmap will help you stay focused and motivated.

You might find it helps to create a schedule to stick to as well. This might be a daily or weekly schedule to structure your workday. Allocate specific time blocks for different tasks and stick to the schedule as closely as possible. Once you’ve done this, try to prioritise each task so you don’t become overloaded and overwhelmed.

Top tip: Group similar tasks together so you’re not jumping between different types of projects. This can save time and mental energy.

Get rid of distractions

Minimise interruptions by turning off non-essential notifications, creating a dedicated workspace, and letting family and friends know your work hours.

Split your time into short ‘blocks’

Try techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (working in 25-minute focused intervals before taking a 5-minute break) or time blocking to maintain high levels of concentration. It means you basically work in a series of short bursts which can really boost productivity.

Delegate and outsource

Focus on your core strengths and delegate or outsource tasks that can be done more efficiently by others, such as administrative work, accounting, or web design.

Use technology

Productivity apps and tools can help streamline your work. Project management software, using a virtual assistant, AI chatbots, or cloud bookkeeping software (like our very own Pandle!) can help you stay organised.

Don’t forget to automate repetitive tasks whenever possible too. This can free up time and reduces the chance of errors.

Look after yourself

Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for productivity. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat healthy foods and practice stress management techniques like meditation.

Regularly take short breaks during your workday and slot in time to catch up with friends or catch up on hobbies. It’s also worth planning some fun for the future that you can look forward to, especially if it’s something relaxing like a holiday.

Set boundaries

Clearly define your work hours and personal time. Overworking can lead to burnout, stress, and anxiety, so it’s particularly important for self-employed people to have a good work-life balance. Again, it’s a good idea to let your friends, family and customers know when you’re working – and when you’re not.

Don’t feel guilty for taking a much-needed rest! After all, if you’re exhausted your productivity will go through the floor and your business will suffer.

Learn something new

Stay up to date with the latest industry trends and technologies, boosting your skills and knowledge to keep you efficient and competitive.

Be sure to connect with other self-employed people or entrepreneurs too. They can provide:

  • Support and advice
  • Potential collaborations that can help your business grow
  • Contacts

You might also want to share your goals and progress with a mentor, coach, or an accountability partner who can provide feedback and help keep you on track.

Celebrate small wins

Acknowledge your achievements, however minor they might seem. Celebrating small wins can keep you motivated and positive.

Get feedback

Gather feedback from clients or customers to improve your products or services continually. Yes, it’s not fun to hear some feedback if it’s a little negative, but turn it into a positive: it’s your chance to see where you can put things right. It’s your business that will ultimately benefit.

Being self-employed isn’t always easy!

It can be a dream come true in many ways: no annoying colleagues, no being bossed around. You can choose your hours, and your projects, go on holiday when you like and give yourself a pay rise (well, hopefully).

But the fact remains that working for yourself is hard. The flip side of all the fun is often long working hours, unpredictable cash flow, a lot of responsibility and the real risk of burnout.

Remember that improving productivity is an ongoing process, and what works best for you may change over time. Experiment with different strategies and find the combination that suits your work style and business needs.

Whether you’re already self-employed or just thinking about it, our online accountancy services can help. Get an instant online quote or call us on 020 3355 4047.

About The Author

Rachael Anderson

A creative content writer specialising across business, finance and software topics. I have a love for all things writing, and creating engaging, easy to understand content that helps everyday people! Learn more about Rachael.

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