3 simple tips for freelancers and online business owners.
Have you promised yourself at the beginning of each week that you will be consistent and productive?
And then you lose the motivation, energy, and focus by the middle of the week and don’t really reach your weekly goals?
Perhaps you already realize that the problem is subconscious. But you try to solve it consciously by pushing yourself harder and even denying yourself rest to follow through with your goals.
Perhaps you even experienced burnout this way which is a common issue for new entrepreneurs, content creators, etc.
Burnout is a large enemy of productivity.
It is hard to become more consistent and productive just by consciously trying. Pushing yourself harder only helps a little bit and is not really the solution.
Most of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behavior depends on the 95% of brain activity in the subconscious mind.
That’s why people may fail if they try to make changes consciously.
To make significant changes in our behavior, we need to work with our subconscious minds.
Here are three things that will increase your consistency and productivity by appealing to your subconscious mind:
Set Intentions For The Day And The Week
This may sound too simple to be true, yet it works.
If you are a high achiever and in charge of your own schedule like most freelancers and online business owners, then you will relate to this:
When I first started to work for myself (and at home), building my coaching business, writing while also working part-time, I tried to do everything in the day I can for a long time.
If I had a to-do list with 10 things, I would try to accomplish all 10 of them; if I had a to-do list with 20 things, I would want to do all of them.
But instead of getting more things done, I was getting overwhelmed and exhausted. For most days, I did not complete any of the things, or if I did, then just one or two.
My attention and focus were scattered, and my mind was overwhelmed with “I also need to do that and that today!”
That’s not being productive. That’s just busy being busy, as Rory Vaden writes in his book Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions To Multiply Your Time.
And when I felt overwhelmed, I turned to social media and other distractions to calm myself. Which was just a way for my brain to escape the overwhelm.
The solution that has helped me is to set main intentions for the week and the day. This is a very effective strategy I learned from the author of Mindset Mentor podcast, coach Rob Dial.
At the beginning of the day, write down the to-do list, for example, with 10 things.
Circle the three most important ones you intend to accomplish during this day. Now write the number one most important on an index card. Then write the second most important on a different index car and the third one too. Carry the index cards with you in your pocket.
Only once you have accomplished those three things, you may look at the rest of the to-do list and see which one is the next most important.
And do the same for your week too.
Setting main intentions for the day is an effective tool for prioritizing.
Setting intentions helps tremendously by clearing your mind. When you cut out all the extra things from your attention and stop focusing on all the things, you will experience a higher energy and motivation level.
You will also feel less anxious and more empowered because you can actually complete the most important tasks.
And since your conscious mind will not be as overwhelmed, you will be able to connect with your subconscious mind more for ideas, solutions, creativity, etc.
A subconscious mind does the deep work and brings creative solutions to heavy problems.
Make Your Vision More Clear And Meaningful
At first glance, it might be hard to relate how getting really clear on your life and business vision may help you increase productivity, but it really does.
When you are clear on your vision and what you would like to achieve, and the steps you need to take, you will have a true inner motivation. External motivation always lasts only for a limited time.
Having a meaningful and clear vision will also help you prioritize things. But most of all, it will be a powerful force keeping you focused and motivated to take action daily — to be consistent.
The clearer and more meaningful our vision, the easier it is to find a way instead of an excuse.
A lack of consistency is a lack of intention and motivation. When you have a meaningful vision and goals, you don’t need to search for external motivators.
Most likely, you already have a vision for your business. But work with it to make it even more clear and specific — the more specific, the better.
Ask yourself: “How accomplishing it will impact all other areas of my life?” And then work on creating a more clear vision for all those other areas of your life. Attach your business vision with your life vision and vice versa.
And spend more time reviewing it for it to really become ingrained into your subconscious.
When you get your vision into your subconscious by vividly imagining how it will feel through visualization exercises, writing about it in your journal, etc., it will be a powerful driving force.
Take Scheduled Breaks
As you have most likely experienced already, it is easy to overwork when working for yourself. And if you work from your home office, the border between work and personal life tends to dissolve. You might as well “take a rest” by sitting in front of your laptop and researching more things.
However, studies show that by taking regular breaks, you can actually boost your performance. Breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day, and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.
Breaks also prevent so-called “decision fatigue,” which leads to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.
Don’t spend these breaks scrolling down social media or googling up stuff for what you are working on.
Let your mind rest by getting up and getting away from your laptop and doing something else.
Stretch, do some breathing exercises or visualization exercises (they will benefit by building stronger vision), or some EFT tapping to release suppressed emotions. Suppressed emotions negatively affect your health and decrease your productivity and consistency as mental blocks.
I love doing breathing exercises. Breathing helps you to be aware of the present moment and how you feel. As well as release tension and stress, which will definitely benefit your consistency and productivity. The flow of oxygen will help you to think more clearly.
Breaks also help to activate your subconscious mind’s creative problem-solving.
As you may have noticed and studies confirm, that creative ideas often result from a period of incubation — a period of time when the initial conscious thought is left. You do something different meanwhile and then return to it.
According to another research, “aha” moments came more often to those who took regular breaks.
Plan your scheduled breaks by setting the alarm clock to remind you about them. I personally love the Pomodoro Technique the most.
With the Pomodoro Technique, you work and focus on one thing only for 25 min. Don’t let yourself or anyone else get you distracted.
Take 5 min break after the first 25 min and 10 min break after the next 25 min work period. And then repeat the same cycle.
Plus, giving your full, deep attention to one task when you are working is the right way for our brain health, as written by neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf in her book Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health. Multitasking is the complete opposite of how the brain is designed to function and creates flightiness and lack of concentration.
The answer to becoming more consistent and productive for high-achievers who work on their own schedule is not to hustle harder and multitask.
Our conscious and subconscious minds produce better results when focusing on fewer things but with more quality attention and taking regular breaks.
Taking scheduled breaks and doing some breathing or physical exercises during the 5–10 min breaks will help with stress management, concentration, increasing creativity, improving learning, reducing procrastination, and improving overall health. In short, regular breaks will improve your productivity and consistency.
Also, to be consistent in life and business, you need a clear and meaningful vision. When you wake up excited that you get to work on your dream, it is easy to be consistent and disciplined on something that you really want. The vision pulls you forward by itself.