Freelance Tasks To Do Without the Internet
Thanks to the internet, it is more advantageous to work as a freelancer these days. You can conveniently find clients online, market your work effectively at a low cost (or for free), network with colleagues, run your website, research, handle your accounting and a lot more.
But having such easy access to the internet is not without its drawbacks. For many freelancers, it is hard to resist reading e-mails, logging on to social media accounts, checking stats for their blogs and websites or following one link after the other. Even though we want to get ahead by multitasking, we get distracted and wind up not accomplishing much.
That’s why lots of productivity articles advise you to turn off your internet connection (or ignore it) when you need to focus.
However, we do have a lot to do on the Internet and we really get frustrated if our connection goes awry. So what do you do when the internet cuts you off? Whether you are at your (home) office or at your favorite coffee shop, it’s inevitable to run into problems from time to time.
Yes, the internet is essential for many of our tasks, but we often forget that quite a few of these can, and maybe even should, be done without it.
The next time you can’t connect, don’t get mad – get efficient. Regardless of what area of freelancing you are in, following are some ideas to get you started:
- Make some calls. You probably have some clients that prefer a phone call over e-mail. If you were waiting for a good time, here it is. If you are not in a quiet enough environment, you can save this for later.
- Consider your goals. Where do you see your business in a month? What about in 6 months or a year? I’m sure many of you have already written your goals somewhere. Why don’t you take a look to see where you are? You might feel the need to make changes, delete the ones that seem redundant or add new ones. If you haven’t written them down yet, start the first time you are offline.
- Write. If you run a blog or a website, it is a good time to start writing. If you’re a freelance writer, you definitely should start writing. It is hard to find uninterrupted time slots to fit in all the writing you need to do.
Make or review your marketing strategy. This task is closely related to your goals. How will you reach them? How will you promote your business to achieve those goals? Do you guest-post? Use social media? Network face-to-face?
It is always beneficial to have a marketing strategy, as well to measure the effectiveness of the items on it. If you already have a marketing strategy, you should evaluate how well each of your methods did. Do you need to make some changes? Or do you need to stick to the current plan?
- Go through your work schedule. How well is this schedule working for you? Does anything need optimizing?
- Examine your budget. Do you keep track of expenses? Has there been an increase in expenditure? Do you need to increase your income or cut down your expenses?
- Evaluate your rates. Are you charging what you’re worth? Do you need to raise your rates? Evaluating your rates right after you examined your budget will give you a clear idea of what you need. You might also go over your goals to see if your rates are taking you there.
- Review your client list. Do you need more clients? Do you have more than you can handle? Are you satisfied with your relationship with them?
- Brainstorm. You can always use some fresh ideas for any aspect of your business – from new blog post ideas to marketing slogans. Start writing down the ideas as they come into your head. You can always enhance the good ones and cross out the bad ones. Try brainstorming for at least 10 minutes. You can return to your brainstorming whenever you need some inspiration.
- Prepare drafts. Do you ever find yourself writing the same proposals or e-mails over and over? Why not prepare a couple of templates so that the next time you need to send a similar text, all you will have to do is make the necessary changes. This will save you considerable time.
- Research offline. Do you remember all the stuff (e-books, notes, whitepapers…etc.) you filed away to study but never found time to? What are you waiting for? Scan, study, take notes, highlight…Delete the ones you don’t need. And if you are around your bookshelf, why not see what the paperback world has to offer?
- Go over your resume. You might run into the occasional client who wants to see your resume and not just the links to your website. Is it as current, catchy and professional as it should be?
- Take a little break. How about listening to a couple of good songs, going outside, taking some fresh air? If you are at home, how about a little stretching, meditation or dancing a little? A little exercise is better than none. While this is not exactly a freelancer task, it is a must to remain productive, healthy and efficient.
- Organize the shelves and clean up the clutter. Maybe your “obligatory” offline break has lasted a little longer than you desired. It is OK. Why don’t you do some organizing? You can start with your table and move along to your bookshelves. Throw away what you don’t need. The extra space and knowing what resources you have will give you some peace. This includes your computer desktop too.
- Revise your to-do list(s). Do you have a work-related to do-list? Most of us do. When was the last time you checked it to see your progress? Crossing things off the list will make you feel accomplished and confident. Just remember to add to them in a way that won’t make you feel overwhelmed.
- Keep a business-related shopping list. If you are at home or in your office, you can quickly make an inventory check to see you have everything you need. For instance, do you need stationery? Do you have enough business cards left? Do you need brochures or stickers? Even if you are not in your office, make a potential shopping list to check when you go there.
- Back up all your files, starting with the most crucial ones. While there are online sites that allow you to save everything with or without a fee, it doesn’t hurt to make some copies for your external hard-drives and flash discs. And while you are at it, why don’t you make sure your documents are printer-friendly? As much as we all love the environment, we love our sanity more.
- Evaluate your productivity. Time yourself doing one or some of these tasks. Then time it again –honestly- when you do the same task with your internet connection intact. Has there been a rise in productivity when you went off the grid for a bit? What about an increase in your motivation?
The key is to prioritize while tackling these. You can’t do all of them at once, and connection problems are temporary. Getting one or few things done is better than trying to manage everything and getting nothing done. And who knows? Maybe you will even find yourself deliberately going offline more often.
Is there anything you’d like to this list?