Working as a freelancer can be a challenge to conventional productivity. The lack of structure in your days and the lack of accountability means more freedom, both to succeed and to fail. When you work in an office, you have work hours, an office or desk, a set lunch hour, a boss or supervisor, etc. Freelancers have much more freedom to work wherever and whenever they like. This can be a detriment to productivity. But if you think of it the right way, this freedom can help increase productivity instead.

Tip #1 - Work When It’s Best for You

When you don’t have hours when you are obligated to be at work, you may find it tempting to sleep in, stop working early, take long breaks, or even take a whole day off to goof off. But you can use this free-form schedule to your advantage instead.

Not having a 9-5 means that you can work when you feel most productive. Some people like getting up early and starting work in the morning. Then they use the evening to relax. However, some people are night owls and find themselves more productive in the evenings. When you have a 9-5, it’s hard to take advantage of this.

Figure out when you work best and work during those times. Use your less productive hours to relax or sleep.

Tip #2 - Wear What Makes You Comfortable

In an office setting, we are often expected to dress and look a certain way. Men may be expected to wear a suit, tie, or slacks. Women may be expected to dress in expensive clothing and wear makeup.

Freelancing means you can work in your pajamas if you want to, and many do. However, it’s best to still get dressed properly for working every day. This doesn’t mean you have to get dressed up, but a good tip is to at least change out of the clothes you might sleep in.

When you freelance from home or a coworking space, you can dress however you like and however makes you feel confident and productive. This not only means you’re more comfortable and can stay more focused, but you can waste less time picking out outfits and spend more time being productive.

Tip #3 - Create Your Own Workflows and Systems

In offices, you often have to work the way other people tell you to. You may find your days filled with meetings, tracking your time, sending emails, or updating spreadsheets. When you freelance, you can use whatever systems you want to keep yourself productive. Don’t feel like you have to stick to these conventions.

Some freelancers communicate via Skype as often as they can, some stick to just emailing or just phone calls. You can use a whiteboard to organize your day or a planner. You can choose to track your time or not. With freelancing, it’s important to observe your workflow systems and figure out which ones will actually benefit you in the long run.

As you can see, the freedoms granted to you as a freelancer can be temptation, or they can be hidden opportunities to unlock more productivity.