How to Stay Productive When You Make Your Own Schedule

Studying for exams, freelance contracts or working on bigger projects can mean freedom with your schedule. But it can also mean procrastination, stress from deadlines and an organizing nightmare. Working on your own schedule can be easier. However, there are more ways to waste your time if you aren’t being paid by the hour.
Setting Up Your Work Schedule
Whenever you start a new project, start taking classes again, or simply run into a block of flexible work time, you will need to set up a schedule. A good schedule is one that accomplishes the work you need to do and you actually stick to it. Unfortunately many people forget the second step and make impossible schedules that would require a machine to follow.
If you need to set up a new work routine, I prefer the top-down approach. The top-down approach focuses you on deciding what work needs to be done, and by what deadlines. Once you know the time limit for the work you need to do, this automatically creates the pressure to come up with a productive schedule.
Many people, however, try to go the bottom-up approach when they need to structure their time. They start by setting aside blocks of time, and micro-managing how time will be allocated to different tasks. This method only ensures you spend a lot of time working. It doesn’t ensure you get a lot of work finished. Bottom-up approaches make it easy to waste time, and they can cause stress if your work doesn’t fit neatly into your pre-arranged schedule. Read more...
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