Perfecting Productivity While Self-Employed.

Carl Pullein
5 min readNov 22, 2023

Deciding to cut the cord with employers and work for yourself is a big deal. You’ll enjoy benefits like no cap on your income potential and flexibility in your work schedule if you’re successful.

This week’s article is written by the wonderful Katie Brenneman. Thank you, Katie, for writing this for me.

That said, you will face unique challenges working for yourself that can disrupt your productivity and decrease efficiency.

For example, you have to wear many hats when you’re self-employed, especially when you’re just starting. You can easily become burnt out if you aren’t proactive about managing your workload. As a result, the quality of your projects and profitability go down.

You can maintain high productivity despite these challenges, whether you’re brand new to self-employment or have been in business for years, with the help of these tips.

Identify What’s Hindering Your Productivity.

If you’re at the beginning of your self-employment journey, you may implement general productivity-enhancing practices (like the ones we’ll talk about later) because you don’t have insight into what’s precisely halting your productivity. And this is a good step to put yourself in a position to produce.

But eventually, you’ll gain visibility into specific processes, tools, practices, or attitudes that hinder productivity.

Every self-employed person has productivity issues unique to them and their operations. If you can identify yours, you can direct your efforts to overcoming exactly what’s stopping your productivity. This helps you get back on track faster.

When you notice a drop in your productivity, do an audit of your processes and tools to see if that’s what’s stopping you from getting as much done as you want to. You’ll also want to take a look at yourself. Is your attitude toward your work hurting your productivity? Are you burnt out?

Whether it’s a tangible thing in your business or a you issue, write it down. Then, brainstorm ways to resolve the issue and rev up your productivity.

Learn How to Stay Motivated.

There are many days when you’ll feel super motivated to get everything on your to-do list done to the highest quality well before the deadline.

There will also be many days when you have absolutely no motivation to get up and face another day as a self-employed person. Yet, not only will you need to get up and get into your business on these days, but you’ll also need to be highly productive.

Because of this, it’s essential to learn how to motivate yourself and do good work when you aren’t feeling it.

For example, get some exercise in before you start work to put you in a good mood and give you the energy to tackle the day. You could switch things up and work from a cafe or park on the days you’re feeling down.

What might be even more powerful than motivation is being disciplined. You need to decide that no matter how you feel, you’re getting up and putting your all into the projects and tasks you have for that day. Seeing the results from a high level of discipline is motivating in itself.

Improve Your Time Management.

How productive you are has so much to do with how well you manage your time. You can get so much done when you’re cognisant of how you spend your hours and when you’re most productive.

When it comes to the latter, you have the flexibility to work when you want to. So, why not do so when you’re most productive?

Whether it’s a typical 9–5 schedule, a mid-day shift, or an overnight work routine, have clear work hours and communicate them to your clients. Keep in mind that if you do your best work overnight, you’ll still need to be available to your clients at some point during the day should they need you.

Aside from setting work hours, you can be proactive and strategic with your time by:

  • Setting daily personal and professional goals to guide your work for the day
  • Scheduling marketing tasks in advance, like content creation, so they don’t take up time daily
  • Automating tasks such as inventory management and publishing content on your marketing channels to free you up to work with clients and on their projects
  • Working from home to cut out commute times and work in a comfortable environment with few distractions
  • Hiring staff and delegating tasks to them or outsourcing work to trusted individuals with the right skillsets

If you can improve your time management, you can get more done in your business without running yourself ragged.

Create a Dedicated Workspace.

If you’re self-employed from home, you may have fallen into the trap of working in your pyjamas from bed. Or, you may have to work wherever there’s space because the kids have their things everywhere in your home.

You could avoid both scenarios, and the negative impact disorganisation and a lack of structure can have on your productivity by creating a dedicated working space. You can remove distractions, get into your zone, and create a physical separation between home and work that helps you establish a healthy work-life balance.

Having a separate room, like a garage, to turn into your home office is ideal. Converting your garage into a home office doesn’t have to be a big, expensive project. Clean and declutter your garage first to see the layout you’re working with.

After that, figure out what you’ll need to be comfortable and functional in the space. Power, the right lighting, and suitable furniture are some of those necessities. Then, you’ll make your office “you” with colours, visuals, and accessories that inspire you to do your best work.


There’s a lot that can take away from your productivity when you’re self-employed. But distractions and other challenges that stop your production don’t have to win. In addition to the tips above, take care of yourself physically and mentally to maintain productivity no matter what.

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specialising in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of.