The key to being as productive as possible as a freelancer or solopreneur is developing good habits.

The challenge? Keeping those habits going, and ensuring they actually remain habits.

The solution? Pick habits that are likely to stick, like these five tried and tested strategies for anyone who wants to go it alone in the world of work.

1. Eat that frog – procrastination can be very detrimental

The term ‘eat that frog’ refers to something Mark Twain once said. According to Twain, if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do so first thing in the morning in order to get the job done.

He goes onto suggest that if you need to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

The same premise applies in both instances; just get the job done, and avoid procrastination at all times.

2. Plan ahead – without goals you’ll struggle to accomplish anything

Why do you get up each day? What’s the end goal?

Goals don’t have to be big and lofty, either. In fact, it’s best to have a goal for each day, whether it’s to finally complete that big project or simply clear out your email inbox (see tip 5).

Without a goal, you’ll never accomplish anything – it’s that simple.

person reading a book

3. Read books

Here’s some homework. Earlier, we mentioned the ‘eat that front’ principle. Mark Twain’s words have spawned numerous books that focus on productivity and the art of getting things done.

Google the phrase and see what books are suggested. Buy one, read it and make reading a habit that you keep up each week.

The best news? You’ll discover a huge vault of books that can help you in your quest to be more productive.

The more you dig into productivity books, the more advice and opinion you’ll find which will transform the way you work.

You can never learn too much.

4. Be mindful – it’s good to slow down in a fast paced world

As wonderful as this world is, there’s no escaping the fact it is incredibly busy, noisy and full of distractions.

This is why it pays to slow down whenever you can and simply be ‘in the moment’. That might sound a bit hippyish, but being present, rather than having your head lodged in your laptop will make you appreciative of the world around you and of the things that matter most.

The result will be a far more relaxed, productive and focused mindset, which is essential if you want to be a successful freelancer or solopreneur.

5. Inbox zero

Email remains a great way to communicate with colleagues and customers, but it shouldn’t be relied upon.

What’s more, it shouldn’t be something you spend large portions of the day working on, and if your inbox is forever full of multiple ‘unread’ flags, it’ll be one of the worst distractions on your desk.

Spend some time researching inbox zero and turn it into a habit; it’ll get easier and more natural the more you do it.

Wrapping up

The five tips above only skim the surface of what’s possible, but they should act as brilliant grounding for a productive independent working lifestyle.