10 Ways To Be More Productive When Working For Yourself

Updated: January 17, 2019
by Ray Alexander

Work-from-home-for-yourself environment gives you all the freedom of your choice. And of course it also means it’s entirely up to you to control the amount of work, maintain the quality of work and continually find motivation to work. Especially as an online marketer, virtually all your working hours are spent by sitting and staring at the screen. It can be difficult to keep focusing on what you do when you're all your own in your home office. Here’s how to be productive and how to avoid physical and mental exhaustion.

Ways To Be More Productive When Working For Yourself

#1 Set A Few Big Goals To Achieve

Setting long-term goals, visualizing yourself in 3 years - 5 years time, may actually be things in the past. In this fast-paced world, conventional long-term planning can give a false sense of security. By sticking to one plan for a long time, there's a possibility to end up seeing an unsuccessful result. What you need is a flexibility and to be prepared to explore new channels. Ability to seek another opportunity very quickly in case your original plan doesn’t work. Plans B, C and D.

In order to stay agile and competitive, set a few main goals, and also set some sub-goals including alternative plans. The sub-goals should be realistic to your current self. They should be reasonably feasible to you. Work towards them and monitor your progress periodically.

#2 Make a To-Do List and Set Priorities

To Do List

Working on a first-come, first-served basis is not the efficient way to get the best results. Create a to-do list weekly. But making a list is not a task itself. The list will only help you organize the way you work. So don’t be too pedantic and spend too much time on this.

  1. List up things to do one after another in no particular order.
  2. Mark top 3 tasks (leave asterisk * for example).
  3. You can add new tasks any time during the week.
  4. Review the list at the end of every day and cross out as you accomplish.

As you create a new weekly to-do list and bring forward unfinished tasks from the previous week, you’ll know what needs attention the most, what can wait, and also what’s unlikely to achieve. You’ll see a bigger picture as you rewrite your list weekly. But don’t overcommit yourself to the list. List making is not something you should be obsessed with and it certainly shouldn’t cause stress and anxiety.

#3 Reflect On Your Progress Daily & Weekly

Reflection at the end of each day and also each week will keep you motivated. List up the things you achieved, and what you didn't do well. The main thing is not to get depressed about what you didn't achieve or things that you feel reluctant to do. It's only whether to keep going and complete, or give up. If you really want it, you can do it. But you are the decision maker. Follow your instinct, and get rid of the jobs you really don't want from your list!

#4 Declutter (Your Workspace, At Least)

Clear Clutter

Firstly and most definitely, we can all agree that clean office environment increases productivity. Clutter can distract you and cause you to feel more stress and guilt. If your working space is as bad as a landfill site, you need to spend a good few hours to clear out things that you never use. Minimalism will not only improve your work stance but also improve your life as a whole. Too many things = spend too much time cleaning.

If you spend the majority of your time on internet, you don't need anything on your worktop surface except a few items such as;

  • Laptop/Desktop
  • Notebook and pen
  • Cellphone/tablet - only if you need it!

Everything else should be put away in the drawer. You might need a book/magazine/newspaper for referencing purpose, or calculator, or coffee at times, but as soon as you finish with them, move them away from your desk. Keep your desk free of dust too. The hygiene will help you focus on your work!

#5 Don't Get People To Distract You

Your cellphone can be put under the desk too. You don't want phone calls and text messages to interrupt your work. Once or twice a day, fine. But no more frequently than that. I keep my phone away, which is sync'd to my Mac. So I know who's calling, and only answer if urgent. I can text back from my laptop.

#6 Don’t Try To Fill Your Day For The Sake Of It

Many people in employment are obsessed with the number of hours they work, rather than focusing on the quality of work to accomplish. Since you're working for yourself, you should be aware when to stop. You just need to work according to your to-do list. If you have 6 hours of work scheduled in the afternoon, then that's your time. If you've completed your task earlier than anticipated, the decision is up to you to move on to the next task, for finish your work for the day. Don’t try to fill your time to the point of overflowing, just to stay busy or feel productive.

#7 Get Some Exercise In The Morning


Morning is the best time to get some exercise. Cardio exercises such as running, swimming and biking are great as well as Yoga. But if you're not a fan of morning workouts, you can take 10-20 minutes of brisk walk at the start of each day. The exercise will certainly wake you up, boost your motivational level (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins) dramatically, and help you to get a productive day started.

#8 Have At Least One Healthy Snack

If you already maintain your healthy-eating habit then that’s great. But if you’re not that sort of type and not even good at nutritions and “balanced-diet” and stuff, this can help you...instead of eating junk food or deep fried snacks. You can have it as a lunch, or just pick a modest amount as an in-between afternoon snack.

Choose either of the following - (a) vegetables or (b) something fat-free. Eat either (a) or (b) with a glass of water.


If you choose to go for (a), for example eat some carrot sticks or broccoli - boiled or raw. And you can dip it in mayonnaise, salsa, sour cream, anything you want.

If you choose to go for (b), for example toast with jam but without butter or margarine, baked potato and sweetcorn but only with salt or fat-free dressing, pasta with fat-free salsa.

In all honesty, neither of the options is exactly the best course of diet, but they both have a healthy element; (a) being a source of some vitamins, and (b) being “eat less fatty food”. Keep trying every day for a while and at you’ll stay away from junk food or unnecessary snacking habits. 

#9 Work Is Not Everything

Work is only one aspect of life. It’s great if you’re passionate enough to spend so much time of day to concentrate on what you love and make money. But if you start neglecting other ordinary things in life, it’s an amber alert! You shouldn’t isolate yourself from outside world; friends, family and social events, fitness routines, shopping, media communications (e.g. watching news).

Shutting out yourself from anything other than work means your opportunity for inspiration and motivation will be dramatically restricted. You may risk damaging your mental health in the long run. It’s important to break out of the monotony, maintain work/life balance and discover new things.

#10 Ask For Help!

Are you completely working on your own? Do you have a mentor, or anyone in the same industry you can talk to? If you feel you're at a standstill, it's time to communicate your problem.

Before asking for help, write down 4 things about the problem. No. 1 - No. 3 in order for you to explain clearly, and No. 4 for yourself to clarify what others may be able to help you.

  1. The problem you have.
  2. The cause(s) of the problem - if you have many, only list up a few major factors, so that others can understand easily when you explain.
  3. What you have tried so far - if you have many, minimize the number!
  4. What you want them to do - you want them to give you an advice, but deep in your heart what you really want them to say.

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About the author 

Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  1. Great advice Ray! It’s so easy to become lazy and neglect exercising and eat healthy food when working online. I will follow exactly you suggest. Thanks!

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