Mind the (productivity) gap!

Freelancing is great. I get to be my own boss, meet different people, work for different organisations and learn about new products and ideas. It’s all learning that I can apply to my own business and often, the inspiration for my blog naturally comes from my ‘paid’ writing.

Recently, I’ve been inspired to think about productivity, something I haven’t given a great deal of thought to. I assumed that, because I’m a Freelance Copywriter, a blogger, a mum and chief carer of pets, then I must be naturally productive.

But one of my latest projects has nudged me to take stock and think carefully about my own productivity and I’ve uncovered a few uncomfortable home truths.

Apparently, productivity is an issue for businesses across the whole country. So if I am experiencing a productivity gap, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one. But, as a one-man-band, I need to own my issues and address them. The buck lies with me.

So I’ve taken stock of my freelance life and identified some issues that are clearly affecting my productivity.

It’s been quite an eye-opener but I’m hoping that getting on top of these issues will combat the underlying (and unnecessary) feelings of panic that are with me pretty much most of the time!

Here are my top 3:

  1. Social media  I see the great benefits of social media, especially as a business person. But I also know that there’s a lot of time-wasting dross out there. And guess what? I’m hooked on it. How did this happen? I’m a sensible person. I know that social media presents an unrealistic image of people’s lives, so it’s not driven by envy (though maybe a little nosiness). For me, the underlying issue is procrastination. I’m unconsciously using social media as a way to avoid the other things that need to be done. And it has to stop. So moving forward, I am going to monitor my time on social media closely to ensure I am using it to be productive and not to avoid being productive.
  2. Costume changes (yes really) I’m a business owner, parent, spouse, carer and novice dog owner. What the heck do you wear that covers all of that? I’ve got a bit of a thing about looking smart when I’m working, even when I’m not going to see anyone (which, as a freelance copywriter, is most days). But I also don’t want to look overdressed when I take my son to his special school. And walking the dog in local woods and muddy fields results in me looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge (and sometimes I have). I haven’t totally got my head round this issue, but I need to work out how to look presentable (and feel comfortable) without getting changed 4 times a day!
  3. Overactive mind (bear with me on this one) I have too many ideas racing around my head. On the one hand, it’s great. Despite a few challenges, life seems full of possibilities and there’s a million things I want to achieve. But I need to tame my thoughts! Writing a business plan has helped up to a point. But I need to get more focused on one goal at a time, and find time to relax.

    There’s a lot of hype around mindfulness and self-care at the moment – it’s all good stuff. For me, it means recognising when I’m burning out and making time to do something completely different to my work. Walking my dog is fab, even if he is a greedy Labrador who wants to sniff out every piece of litter in my local area.

    Adult colouring books are very popular right now. I’ve tried them, and they’re quite good for those moments when OCD tendencies kick in. But even better, it’s led me back to drawing and sketching which is something I love to do and find very relaxing.

    Exercise and a decent night’s sleep need to make a comeback into my life too. Most of life’s problems can be resolved with these, especially the latter.

In the grand scheme of things, these are not huge issues; I can get on top of them. But I want to really focus on my business and work/life balance this year. I know I overdo it when it’s not necessary, and that’s not good for my health or my work.

Over to you

What issues are affecting your productivity? And what strategies do you use to get back on top of things. I’d love to hear from you if you’re a small business owner or one-man-band, wanting to do more and live more. And if you’re juggling dog ownership, parenting or caring for a child with special needs too, please share your tips and ideas!


Alison is a Freelance Copywriter in Milton Keynes offering a range of services for small and large organisations in MK and across the UK.  For further information visit www.mkwordstudio.co.uk







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