Managing your time as a freelancer can be challenging. Freelancers have to be very organized – and extremely disciplined – to stay productive throughout the workday.

To achieve more and get the most out of each hour, here are three productivity improvement strategies to begin implementing right away:

Constantly Refine Core Talents

To work smarter and more efficiently, take risks, and “think big.” You can further develop our skills and advance your career by having an interest in multiple freelance roles, and by showcasing your ability to learn and grow continually.

Here are three ways to refine and expand on your core talents:

1. Consider the Future

Think, “where do I want my freelance career to be in five years? In ten years?” Visualizing where you want to be in the future – and what you want to be doing – can help you identify the next steps to take and refine your skills. Planning for your future in freelance will also expose areas in our skillset that need more work.

2. Fill Gaps in Skillsets

Once you’ve determined which areas we need to improve, you can take steps to fill in the gaps in our skillsets. Learning new skills shows potential clients that you’re flexible, you take initiative, and you’re eager to grow.

3. Focus on Strengths

There’s always something new to learn, and you should continue to grow and expand our knowledge. At the same time, remember to focus on your strengths. To find your real “work sweet spot,” look for a freelance role with a healthy balance of comfort and challenge. Strive to find a position that enables you to flex your core muscles, while at the same time strengthening your new ones.

Network and Create a Portfolio or Website

Networking is invaluable for freelancers and is crucial to career success.

Freelancers typically work alone, which can be isolating. Without a community of support, it can be a challenge to increase or build productivity improvements and skills.

Here are three ways you can expand your knowledge base by networking:

1. Conferences or Meet-ups

Networking at conferences or meet-ups can be nerve-wracking. Before attending, it’s a good idea to practice an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch will serve as an introduction when meeting new people at a networking event. Showing up early, dressing professionally, and asking questions are great ways to make a good impression. Remember that the purpose of networking events is to make connections, and maybe even meet future clients, so it’s crucial to join conversations and mingle.

2. LinkedIn Portfolio and Social Media Groups

Every freelancer should have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a fantastic place to meet potential clients or work partners and is a networking platform all on its own. There are many advantages to having an account, and zero disadvantages, so it doesn’t make sense for a freelancer not to be on LinkedIn. There are also some social media groups for freelancers, most of which are on Facebook. Freelancer Facebook groups share job openings regularly – in some cases, daily.

3. Co-Workspaces

Co-workspaces can be very beneficial to you with regular hours to implement productivity improvement tactics. Most co-workspaces are modern and have a generally “hip” vibe, so you can work in an office space without the stuffy corporate office atmosphere. Co-workspaces may even help you increase your productivity. Above all, co-workspaces are fantastic places for networking and for meeting potential clients or making new friends.

Seek Work from Agencies

For more consistent projects, freelancers may join an agency to receive assignments.

Working on a project-by-project basis through an agency allows you to improve our skills and advance your careers, even when you’re in between clients.

Here are some tips for freelancing with an agency:

1. Try to Fit In

When beginning work with a freelancing agency, it’s crucial to fit in with the team. On the one hand, you want to make a good impression on the boss or hiring manager. On the other hand, you also want the rest of the team to see that you work well with others, and are committed to producing quality work. Making an effort to understand the company’s policies is extremely important. You may be surprised to learn that office politics extend to some freelancing agencies, and you should be prepared to “learn the ropes.”

2. Be Flexible

Freelancing agencies need flexible freelancers. Many agencies are hiring freelancers from all over the world, and work with different timelines and time zones. Always respond promptly (typically within 24 hours). Thinking outside the box – being flexible with schedules, productivity strategies, and project management – is a crucial skill for a freelancer working for an agency.

3. Communicate Openly

Communication is key. When working for an agency, communicate openly, honestly, and frequently about availability, workload, and the status of assignments. Providing regular updates and check-ins will assure the agency that progress is being made and that they’ve chosen the right freelancer for the job.

Many strategies will help increase productivity in the workplace, whether that be at home, an office, a co-workspace, or the cafe around the corner. To get the most out of each hour, take these work efficiency tips to heart and apply these productivity improvement strategies today.