Distractions You Need to Avoid to Get Work Done

April 3rd, 2011 Posted in project management, Various

Being a freelance designer means a lot of challenges to fight on a daily basis. How we do business today is extremely different to what we were used to just a decade ago. Now it’s all about being present on many stages and being accessible in a more stressful way than before. Obviously the revolution of social media and Internet in general gives us many great sources of inspiration and access to millions of potential clients outside of our own home areas.

Image by Wilton Rodriguez

In this article we’ll have a look at some potential time-consuming factors that can ruin your efficiency during the workday.

Social Media

As much as we love Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc., we need to keep track of the time we spend to make sure we get our work done properly. It may sound easy, but if you’re really into a conversation or chatting up with other designers it can be easy to get carried away and lose valuable hours.It’s a well-known fact that many people spend a lot more time on social media than what is good for business. Keep private things outside of work hours, set an amount of time for social media each day and keep it closed when you’re supposed to work. A minute here and there can easily mean many minutes and maybe even hours during a day.


Private tasks

Image by Tey Teyoo

For many freelancers, private tasks and errands can steal a lot of time that should have been spent working. If you have a home-office, it’s important to close the door and focus. Private emails, phone-calls and different errands should be kept outside of your work-hours. Once you start allowing these things to steal of your time, you could be in trouble.



Are you reading different websites when at work? Keeping up to date on what goes on in the market is really important, but do you spend more time on the Internet that what you really need to? It’s normal to get carried away reading about design news, tutorials, interviews, showcases and so on, – but it’s equally important to know when to stop. With the huge amounts of available information out there you need to be able to stop in time. Decide how much time you’ll allow each day and keep the schedule.


Underpaid projects

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Are you getting what you’re worth? A common mistake, especially for new designers, is to keep saying yes to underpaid projects. You will need to accept a few of those to fill up your portfolio and get experience, but do you just keep doing them? If you fill up your time with underpaid projects, you wont have time to chase the better paid ones. It’s all about finding the balance. As hard as it can be to say no sometimes, you need to consider when it’s time to try move on to the better projects.


Time-stealing clients

Some clients just take up too much of your time compared to what you’re getting back. If you have clients that call you 24/7 to ask about smaller things or that want to make changes to the project all of the time, you need to look into how you can fix this. Of course you should take proper care of all clients you have, but you’ll occasionally you’ll meet the types that just keep calling and changing their wishes because of bad habit. A good way of dealing with this is to schedule regular meetings with these clients to make sure everything’s taken care of in a proper way.


E-mails and phone-calls

Image by Ivan Prole

Whether it’s clients, family or others that call or mail you, it can quickly be very time-consuming to keep getting back to everyone. Several successful designers I’ve been in touch with have an hour at the start (or the end) of every day to take care of emails and phone-calls that need to be made. This is a good way of cleaning up your inbox and making those calls without having everything interrupt what you’re doing throughout the entire day.



There are many challenges on the path to success as a freelance designer / small business owner. If you learn how to avoid many of the time-stealing factors that lurk around, it’ll be much easier to get the success you’re looking for. Do your best at planning your work hours, leave room for the distractions at set times and focus.

Finally we’d also love to hear your own tips.

Good luck!



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