We all get distracted. It happens. It’s what makes us human, and also part-magpie. Freelancers work from home, satellite offices, coffee shops, and boardrooms. This ad hoc lifestyle can make staying focused a challenge. Don’t worry, AND CO is here to help! We’ve compiled a list of six distractions all freelancers should avoid! (Reading this blog is educational and not technically a distraction, so you’re allowed to put down your work for a few minutes… we won’t tell!)
We get it. Our cities are overrun with small Japanese cartoon characters from our childhoods and it’s our responsibility as citizens to catch them all. It’s understandable that you might want to take a break from designing your client’s new website graphics to head out into the fray armed with nothing but a Pokeball and rumors of a nearby Zapdos. However, looking for a rare fictional creature behind the dumpster in a back alley might not send the right message to your client. Head back upstairs to finish the graphic that’s due at 5pm and holster those Pokeballs until the bell rings. You can catch as many critters as you want when you’re off the clock. Just remember to look up once in a while!
Someone casually recommended that you watch Mr Robot on Netflix, so you take a break from learning HTML coding and wander to the living room to cue-up the first episode. Six hours later, you realize you haven’t moved from the couch and it’s the best thing you’ve seen since TV began. This scenario haunts most people with a Netflix account and a show recommendation. Remember the days when all TV was rationed to once a week, and you had to move on with your lives during the days in-between? There is something to be said about waiting. For all of the stay-at-home freelancers, the ‘Netflix binge’ is harder to control. You have to be stronger, more focused, and more disciplined. Some might say that freelancers are the elite warriors in the battle that is ‘online streaming’. We ask you all to fight! Fight the urge to watch six episodes of Stranger Things back-to-back. Stride confidently into your home office, work on those overdue reports and treat yourself with one episode per day. Gain back some self-control and show the world how a freelancer goes to battle!
The Snack Room
Ah, the snack room. For those freelancers who get to work in fancy high-rise offices, coworking spaces, or companies that adorn their break rooms with ping-pong tables and beanbag chairs will no doubt face The Snack Room. This room is filled with snacks and treats fit for a king, and it’s all free. We know, this is hard to resist. How can you get anything done when you’re a stone’s throw from a jar of peanut m&ms the size of your head, or a platter of strudels you can smell from the parking garage? Just remember, the food will always be there, so put your head down, finish the report and then you can fill your pockets with gummy worms and walk out having achieved something!
It’s Thursday morning and your Instagram feed is drenched in old sepia pictures of your friends and family from 1982. You’ve got to balance a client’s accounts by noon but all you can think about is whether to post the picture of you dressed as a dinosaur when you were five, or the one of you rollerskating down the driveway in cutoffs during high-school. We all love a good throwback picture, they remind us of a time without throwback pictures. But trying to find the best shot AND categorize your client’s expenses is not a great combination. You’ll end up attaching a picture to your client’s profit report of that time you ate six cronuts, and posting a picture of their bank details to your Instagram. No one wins in this situation.
The best faceswap ever created is of a child’s face and the oven dials behind them. It’s pretty fantastic. When you’ve been working in your local Starbucks for over four hours, you start to wonder if your face would swap well with the coffee machine behind you. Better yet, can you get the receptionist at the start-up you freelance for to record a short video of your swapped faces and make it go viral for the day? This is all very productive stuff if you’re an 18-year-old YouTube star generating revenue off this model, but you’re most likely not. So get back to work and when you get home you can swap your dog’s face with the fruit bowl until you pass out.
The World Wide Wormhole
Listen, we’ve all been there. You were looking up the exchange rate between the Euro and the Dollar for a client’s accounts, only to wake up an hour later, twelve layers deep into a Wikipedia search on the history of the Fig Newton. Another hour goes by and you’re now in the final stages of buying heat-reflecting adhesive for your bedroom windows. It’s very easy to get lost on the internet, but it doesn’t look great when you’re charging a client by the hour. Try to force yourself back to the task at hand and reward yourself with a 15-minute wormhole trip every few hours. After all, you can learn a great deal from diving into Google. Just make sure you avoid your ex’s Facebook page, that never ends well.
And if you still find yourself tempted by these fun distractions, consider super helpful apps like Freedom as an affordable, efficient aide! We understand, we’re all human!