In an age where companies started to embrace the remote work, and people started to seriously consider freelance as a career path to follow, productivity is the KPI that everyone is measuring.
Work smart, not hard attitude, hustling culture and following the dreams is the new mainstream.
I myself am pursuing the career of a freelance software engineer and starting my own business of tech research, for startups.
Things can become messy when you start to grow as a professional on your own.
So how to do it all (well maybe not all, but the most important stuff)? How to increase your customer retention and build a business, making time for people you love and not becoming a zombie? Well, I've been in the zombie stage and here are some things that helped me to crawl out from the apocalypse.
Finding the personal task management tool that works for you
This can be pretty hard, task management tools are all around, and you can't literally all tools. I had a general issue with them all: as a person who hates routines, I had to create a routine of opening the app every single day and adding my tasks in there, reviewing the old ones and so on and so forth. Clearly this was a problem.
Don't get me wrong, if one of my customers asked me to join there scrum board I always said "yes" because it made sense for me, but for my personal tasks I did not like the idea of online task managers.
That's why I came back to the old-fashioned pen and paper to-do lists. The moment of scratching that item in to-do list with the pen is really satisfying to me. So never going back online, at least until the tech entrepreneurs create a task manager that reads my mind :)
So, I had my to-do list, isn't it nice. Now everything will be organized and on track. Ding, ding, ding, nope if your to-do list has 100 items for 4 different projects broken down to the last detail. As a former project manager, I liked breaking down the tasks, and I did it really well (100 tasks for 4 projects, duh), but looking on that list every single day, was bringing me a lot of anxiety. This mostly contributed to my zombie stage, as I couldn't make myself work for about 2 weeks.
One night when I couldn't sleep because of my thoughts about my work and my business etc, etc I decided to write all, literally all the things I needed to do (what a brilliant idea! let's create a to-do list for to-do lists).
After writing all down I saw how many 10 minute tasks I was neglecting for weeks! That was my aha moment. I separated the not 10-minute tasks and grouped them by projects, to get the understanding of my load, and I started to prioritizing, not for 1 day or week, but for a month. In the end, I had a project plan for 1 month, 3 months and 6 months. For example.
- min 6 blogs a month,
- learn the basics of Golang
This was the first move to get rid of zombies.