A simple filing system (digital or physical) can go a long way to increase your productivity. Set some time every week to reorganize your desk. By doing this you always know where things are and you can re-familiarize yourself with older papers that didn’t make it into your filing system. By keeping everything in one place you are able to immediately know where your paperwork is at all times. Keep in mind backups are important as well. You don’t want to lose everything to a hard drive malfunction.
Social media can be great for business development but can often lead to a black hole sucking up your valuable time. By stepping away from these timewasters (even if for just a small amount of time every day) you can focus on the real brunt of your project. You can always take a break from the project and turn back to social media for a stress buster and to relax and clear your mind before clearing that road block you’ve run into.
StayFocused is a great extension for Chrome. With it you can determine the sites where you get sidetracked the most and help limit your time wasting habits. By default, StayFocused will allow you ten minutes to browse flagged websites and then once time is up a page will flash on screen telling you it’s time to go back to work. There are plenty of helpful settings like this to keep you from falling into the Internet void. (See Leechblock for Firefox).
It’s always smart to look at the end game. This could be the end game of your current project or even your career. Knowing what you’d like to get done by the end of the week can help with productivity. Schedule some time once a week to roughly plan out a timeline. You have the independence of an independent contractor; seize that and take advantage of it. Strategize on building new business relationships or how you will get that next project and expand your business. Take some time to sit down and look at where you’d like to be in 5 years and plan for it. Obviously these plans will change which encourages you to stay vigilant. This will keep you focused and driven. A clearer sense of direction can help keep productivity high.