How to find structure and focus as a freelancer

To eat the frog, or not to eat the frog? That is the question. How to find focus and set a structure for your freelance life was the theme when 50+ Stockholm-based freelancers met early this morning for an hour of networking, inspiration and coffee. For the 5th version of Freelance Mornings, Rasmus Solholm and myself were happy to share the stage with focus expert Oskar Eklind and content creator Ulrike Schulz.

Some of the highlights of the conversation, on and off stage:

  • ‍ Did you know that the average worker is interrupted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds? It can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to where you left off. (University of California)
  • Remove distractions such as email notifications, social media, and random calls. Set your phone to ‘focus’ mode. Limit the time you check social media feeds to certain times in the day. Try not to distract yourself more than necessary.
  • ☀️ Do you have a structure for a normal workday? Uli spoke about her 2 hour warm-up routine every morning, and Oskar said he is a ‘morning person’ and plans for more focus work in the morning when his energy is higher.
  • The Pomodoro method – set your timer for 25 minutes and commit to focus that time on one task. Take a 5 minute break. And then start over.
  • Set small goals for the day and reward yourself when you reach them! I tend to grab a cookie, but other examples were giving yourself a nice lunch, time to watch inspirational YouTube videos, or a glass of wine later in the evening.
  • Do your prefer doing focused work with background music / noise, or just in silence? The audience was divided 50-50 on this one. Some people tend to focus better when it’s quite, and others put on noise or music that helps them. One example was Lofi girl (pictured below) to keep you company, play lofi beats, and be someone to hold accountable for sticking to work yourself.
  • ⊹ The Eisenhower Matrix – do a braindump of all the to-do’s you have. Now organize them according to important / not important and urgent / non-urgent. The tasks that are both urgent and important are the ones you should focus on first.
  • As a freelancer, your three most important resources are your time, energy and attention. Use them wisely. (Said by the quote-machine Oskar Eklind)
  • Digital tools to support you are great, but the tools themselves are not the main thing. It’s more about finding a structure and a routine that works for you.
  • Some people love having a full-fledged structure for their worklife, and others prefer to have a looser setup. Find what works for you, think about what setting makes you feel productive, and see how you can help yourself focus more often.

Thank you to everyone joining today! One of the things I love the most with Freelance Mornings is the relaxed feel, and that people are so open and share a lot. Thank you The Park for hosting!

Emelie Fågelstedt

Independent communications strategist supporting organizations with their digital business and communications strategy since 2010. Founder of digital agency Fågelstedt Kommunikation and co-founder of Svenska Nomader, Sweden's largest platform for digital nomads. Public speaker on tech, social media, e-commerce and the future of work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>