I'm about a month into freelancing full-time. Learning a lot. I suppose the main thing is time management, as I've been warned is the worst. The first few weeks were frustrating, because I was "working hard" but not necessarily on client projects. I've found how easy it is to be busy, but not productive. Nobody is paying me to check emails and organize my business; they are paying me to work on brochures, logos and illustrations.
I'm a natural psychoanalyzer, so it's no surprise that I dissect every day to see how I can improve for the next. I'm quite satisfied with today's system. Some rules I set for myself:
1. Schedule 30 minutes of 'etc. work' after every hour of client work. It break up the day so I have something to look forward to when my hour is up. This is when I can blog, return emails, check twitter, take out the trash and organize future business.
2. Before I take my 30 minutes, I write down exactly what to do first when I return to the project. ("place file into illustrator & add logo") None of this "getting started is the hardest part so I guess I'll just take my time because it's hard, ya know?" any longer.
4. I turned off my phone during work hours.
5. Not allowed to check Twitter.
6. During work-work hours, I take notes of all the little things to do, instead of doing them on the spot. I can hassle my friend about project details, look up high-waisted swimsuits, email editor, DM internet crush, etc. LATER.
NOTE: a. I would have made above image an animated gif, BUT I only have a few minutes and I have to follow the rules. b. This makes me sound so intense and so easily distracted. Sometimes I'm neither and sometimes I'm both. I get lost in some projects, and some I don't, as I'm sure you can relate. Enthusiasm can vary, but I can't let my pride or integrity fall prey to my fickle human nature.
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." —St. Francis of Assisi