Everyone wants to be successful. As a freelancer, who has to balance my time carefully, I do certain things to make sure I’m as productive as possible. I’ve realized that building small but powerful habits can significantly improve your life. They have brought me closer to my goals and are what helped me build a successful career.
Freelancing jobs can be difficult, I’ve had to rely on my productivity and habits for a lot of my success. But this is just as true in any career field. For me, learning this has taught me how to pursue my dream as a writer. I now find extreme joy impacting society with my blogs and articles. The way you spend your days are what promote your success and happiness. This all starts with your choices and your habits.
If you want to excel at something but aren’t, change the way you are approaching it. Whether it’s by adjusting your morning routine, or just by adding a few positive habits into your daily routine, I’ve found that these habits will help you live your best life.
1. Write daily to-do lists
This is a small but powerful way to keep yourself organized and productive. Start each morning off by looking at the to-do list from the day before. Hold yourself accountable for those actions and continue to create goals for the present day. This will teach you a lot about how fast you work, and how much you can get done in one day.
A problem too many of us have is biting off more than we can chew. While it’s important to be ambitious, if you overload your to-do list it can actually slow you down. At the same time, if the list is too short, you will end up procrastinating. Use this habit as a way to understand how you work.
This habit will help you become more efficient because it reminds you of what you set out to do. As a freelancer, or a go-getter it’s an amazing habit to invest in. I am lost without my to-do lists. I write them for personal projects as much as I do for work projects. Use this organizational tool to help you get stuff done. It will surely help keep you on the right track towards productivity and happiness.
2. Practice communicating as much as you practice listening
By the time we become adults, most of us assume we have the basics (ie listening and communicating). You don’t! It’s something you have to practice every day. If you want to build happy, healthy relationships, be a good leader, or get what you want out of life you need to get into the habit of practicing these skills.
Communicating can be hard, especially in tense situations. The better you get at calmly expressing your viewpoints, the easier it will be to ask for what you want out of life. And that is the first step to living your best life.
You should also practice your listening skills. This sounds basic, but it can be really hard to hear things you don’t want to. For example, has anyone ever given you constructive criticism or feedback that made you feel defensive? Listening is hard. It’s also important to stay open and listen to other people’s ideas. This is especially true in a work environment. If you are a leader, don’t assume you know everything. Be patient and listen to other suggestions and ideas, it can help your team be innovative and excited about the work you’re doing.
3. Put your happiness (and yourself) first
This doesn’t mean you need to be selfish or neglect your relationships but does mean you should prioritize the time to take care of yourself of physically, and emotionally. I know too many entrepreneurs who sacrifice sleep (and sanity) to get work done. The determination should be applauded, but your career is a marathon—not a sprint.
Start putting yourself first.
Eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep every night. It sounds small but these things fuel you and keep your mind sharp. Learning how to do this was crucial in helping me get started as a successful freelancer. This should be a part of your daily life. Taking care of yourself should be a lifelong habit that your practice every day.
4. Surround yourself with positive people.
Pay attention to the people you surround yourself with. They influence and shape your habits more than you probably realize. This means that you don’t have to be friends with everybody. If you want to be happy and successful, you should only keep people in your circle who are good to you (and good for you).
You don’t have to cut people out of your life for not having the same ambition or goals that you do. Still, it’s important to notice what qualities certain people bring out in you. Maybe some of your friends are supportive. Maybe there are one or two “bad apples” in the group who only bring you down. Trust your intuition when it comes to your circle of friends, and make it a habit to prioritize surrounding yourself with positive people.
It will serve you better in the long run.
5. Care about your self-confidence
We are our own biggest critics.
Sometimes that’s good, but sometimes that can be really negative. I see so many of my friends and peers accidentally sabotaging themselves because they don’t believe they can do something outside of their comfort zone. You need to believe in yourself. Once you do that, others will start to believe in you too.
Each day, you need to take time to cater to your self-confidence and self-worth. Give yourself positive affirmations instead of negative reinforcements. If I wasn’t able to do this I would have never had the confidence to make writing as a freelancer a fulltime job. Think about it: if you want to accomplish something, but you never really believe that you could ever accomplish it, then you’ve failed before you’ve even started. This is what leads to people “getting in their own way,” and getting distracted from the thing they ultimately want to accomplish in the first place.
It’s so much easier to procrastinate than to sit down and get stuff done. This is especially true when your subconscious is telling you that you are going to fail anyway. Caring about yourself means caring about your self-confidence. Telling yourself that you are worth it and that you can do it is half the battle of accomplishing something.
6. Practice saying “No” to things
Spreading yourself too thin will not help you become happy or successful.
Whether it’s learning to say “No” to work projects or fun outings, you have to learn that saying “No” really means allowing yourself the opportunity to say “Yes” to bigger, better things. It can be really hard, especially if you’re a people pleaser. But learning how to say “No” is what will make you feel the most empowered about the work you choose to do.
For example, when I first started saying “No” to things, I inherently became conservative–and somewhat selfish–with my time. I may have offended a few people in the process, but my real friends understood where I was coming from. The habit of saying “No” is what allowed me the structure and time to co-found my first company. It was a completely transformative and life-changing habit.
7. Wake up early
I know this probably isn’t the advice you want to hear, but making a habit out of waking up early can shape your life for the better. The early bird really does get the worm! So, if you want to start walking the path to success, you should practice waking up early.
Get ahead of the day. Take time to prioritize your morning. If you want to be successful, you have to take advantage of the hours when everyone else is sleeping. These are the hours when you’re least likely to get distracted, and most likely to be productive.
If waking up early is extremely difficult for you, like it was for me, there are small things you can do to make it easier. One obvious but impactful way of ensuring you wake up early is by going to bed early. Another great trick is to set your alarm 15-30 minutes before you need to actually wake up. This way you can ease into getting out of bed instead of rushing.
Once your body gets used to waking up early, it will become a habit. And once it becomes a habit, it will become part of who you are—and what makes you successful.
The pursuit of success and happiness are seemingly endless. Choosing to use every day as an opportunity to create an environment where you can flourish is a massive step towards your goals. This starts with habits that will boost you up and make you more organized, productive and grounded. Try and practice all the above eight habits each day. Doing this will increase your motivation and boost your journey of success and happiness.