When you are working for yourself as a self employed, increasing your productivity is key to increasing your effective hourly rates without becoming uncompetitive in terms of pricing. Whether you are selling jewelry for cash or writing for money, the more you can accomplish in less time the better off you’ll be. The following are some tips to increase your productivity without sacrificing quality.

Time management
Learning about time management best practices and applying them to your daily work can go a long way towards increasing your productivity. By organizing your time into tasks and setting clear deadlines and goals you will find yourself wasting much less time on things that aren’t producing any money for your business, and being able to focus better on what is important. Time management skills are also helpful towards increasing your self discipline and minimizing distractions due to Internet use or phone conversations.

Another benefit of learning time management techniques If you are a freelancer is an increase in accountability, even if it’s only for yourself. Having detailed statistics of your performance in terms of the time it takes you to perform tasks can lead to better time estimates for costing and more accurate mid and long term business forecasts.

Schedule wisely
A lot of time and effort is wasted due to poor use of existing resources and lack of organization. Things such as having a diary, grouping tasks that can be done together and scheduling your time depending on your personal high and low times of the day can greatly improve your productivity. You should try to reserve tasks that require the most from you in terms of mental focus for the hours at which you are at your mental peak. For example, if you are building money making sites you may find it more productive to write content when you're at your peak, and publish it and do other housekeeping tasks when you are feeling more tired.

Some people are morning larks, some others are night owls and many are in between the two, but trying to focus when you are feeling sleepy won’t get you far. Establish a routine where you do the most challenging tasks of your day when you are most awake and alert, and leave the routine tasks such as talking with clients or checking your website analytics for when you can afford not to be at your peak.

Sleeping and Exercise
Keeping a healthy lifestyle with lots of sleep, some exercise and time away from business will help you perform at your best when working, and greatly increase your productivity. If you work from home try to incorporate some physical exercise into your routine, even if it’s just a walk around the park, as it will help you feel refreshed and focus better afterwards. Working 18 hours a day is damaging both to your health and your business if it becomes a habit and not an exception.

The costs of illness for a freelancer or a small home based business is much greater than for those on a regular employment situation, because every day you don’t work is a day you won’t get paid. Stress and lack of sleep can make you more vulnerable to colds and flus, not to mention back-ache due to long hours at a computer without any sort of exercise or stomach problems due to forgetting to eat or snacking on unhealthy stuff due to lack of time. Do not let enthusiasm about a new project or a perceived lack of time make you forget about your family and your health. Work smarter, not harder, and when you come back from your break you’ll be more productive.