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7 Habits of Highly Unproductive Freelancers

As a freelancer, you’re probably continuously trying to maximize your time and be as productive as possible.

Well this is your unlucky day because I’m going to distract you with this article about how you can do the exact opposite.

Behold: 7 habits of highly unproductive freelancers:

1. Spend an hour in bed after you wake up looking at things on your phone

Check your email the second your eyes open.

Then check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe even Pinterest.

Unproductive freelancers stay in bed all morning

Then go back and check your email again. Then check your other email. Then check Facebook again…just in case you missed something since the last time you checked it…

Before you know it, you will have wasted the morning 

2. Work on projects without any deadlines or milestones

Do a little jig in your head when the client says there is no deadline because you think hey less pressure, I’ll actually be able to think deep and hard on this one.

Unproductive freelancers drink wine instead of work

But the reality of no deadline means you prioritize all the stuff with deadlines and your no deadline projects remain at the bottom of your to-do list – indefinitely.

3. Don’t go outside. Develop a weird complex about going outside versus not going outside.

Tell yourself you’ll go outside the house at some point today but only after you get some work done. Proceed to procrastinate said work because you actually want to just go outside for a minute and get some air.

But tell yourself you can’t go outside until you get something done. Procrastinate more because you want to go outside. Then freak out when it starts getting dark outside because you just lost your chance to enjoy the day, outside.

Unproductive freelancers have a complex about going outside

Promise yourself the next day that you’ll go outside and actually end up doing it, then spend a lot of brain energy congratulating yourself for time managed well.

4. Panic about having to eat lunch

Don’t make lunch ahead of time and be annoyed by the fact that you have to stop everything you’re doing just to make and eat lunch. Have no plan for lunch and spend too much time trying to decide what to make. Put off lunch until 3pm. Become hangry and unproductive in the meantime.

5. Wear your pajamas to work

DEADLY SIN OF UNPRODUCTIVE SINS.

Unproductive freelancers wear their pajamas to work

Don’t change out of your pajamas until 2 pm. Try to wear your glasses instead of your contact lenses because they’re better for your eyes and you actually quite like the way they look. But be held back productivity-wise by the literal glass between your face and your computer screen. And because you only wear your glasses at night and in the morning when you’re tired so it feels kinda like that, but in the middle of the day.

6. Insist on finishing something you can’t finish before doing anything else

Spend the whole day trying to brainstorm or strategize for a project on which you’re feeling completely blocked. Refuse to move on and work on something else until you get this out of the way. Spend all day free writing and trying to get it done but not actually getting anything done.

Unproductive freelancers don't take a break when they need to

7. Watch a YouTube video…

Or two or three or FOUR HUNDRED because just one more can’t hurt, right?


Photo credit: Goldie Winston, 2013

The time management struggle is real in the freelancing world. Here are some of the top habits of unproductive freelancers.
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21 comments

  1. Maggie says:

    Yes, girl, preach! This is exactly right! I’m so guilty of not always changing out of my PJs early in the day. It really is a productivity killer – you’re 100!

  2. Willow says:

    This is me! I don’t get outside enough and I am usually working in my pjs! If I am really involved in a blogging project, I go for the easiest thing to make for lunch, unless of course I need to make a recipe for my blog!

  3. Joline says:

    LOL you just described a day in my life! Though I’m only part-time freelancing, so I get to wear non-pyjama clothes some days haha. These are all so true though. Man, I’m guilty!

    • mishvo says:

      Haha I know #1 is that thing you don’t want to admit to yourself that you do…but you do it. I need to get it out of my life though.

  4. evelyne says:

    So true! Especially number two and three are totally me…
    I actually just started telling no-deadline clients stuff like “I’ll send you a first draft tomorrow afternoon” – that way, I feel accountable if only to not look like a liar. 😉
    But seriously, the ‘going outside’ thing is terrible! I love moving around, working outdoors or just going somewhere, but don’t allow it when I feel like I should work instead, which is always. Sigh.

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