Written by: Warqaa Lowi
Where to start? Productivity is your area of achieving new heights and making great strides.
"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort." – Paul J. Meyer.
The Iraqi freelancing scene is rapidly growing, with Iraq leaning towards the private sector and freelance work. After the aftermath of COVID-19, Iraqi youth turned to freelancing due to the scarcity of traditional employment opportunities. Despite all challenges, freelancing continues to provide a space for opportunity and growth.
BE an Iraqi “Productive” Like a “Pro”
Productivity can mean a lot of things to many people. It can mean getting out of bed and doing one’s job correctly, or it can mean completing one big task every day.
Meet Mohammed Hallaj, A freelance copywriter/translator with five years of experience.
For Hallaj, productivity varies from completing multiple projects and tasks to excelling in one with great efforts and extraordinary results. He thrives on uniqueness and innovation that leaves a special work and his clients happy.
“For me, it is when I see a task or a project, and I compare it to my previous projects, I see something new in it, which is also innovative in a way, something that makes it peculiar in a way and makes the client like it as well.”
Next, meet Soma Abubakr, a social media specialist and content creator. As a freelance content creator, copywriter, and Arabic-Kurdish translator with four years of experience, Soma views productivity as a balance between accomplishing numerous tasks while ensuring quality results:
"How many tasks I can do, the quality matters too. Productivity is about quality results and making so many tasks at the same time.”
Have connections: be aware that the Iraqi freelancing world relies heavily on social connections, work colleagues, and social media promotion such as LinkedIn. In order to be productive, stay up-to-date on market trends. Job Studio is a great platform to learn about other freelancers in Iraq.
Building relationships with other freelancers is a great way to boost your network and meet potential customers.
Self-cultivation and Trends
Hallaj also encourages freelancers to do constant research on the market and continuously improve their skills.
“Professionally speaking, being in my field as a copywriter, when a client comes to you to write for the brand. It is important to do your own research for the brand, the product, and so on. So, you can understand their language first. And by that, you can craft a proper copy for them.”
How's that done without wasting time on mere media? Yes, you're right! Time management! Dissect your day's priorities into segments. Do the most important task of the day. You'll gradually feel productive as you carry on with the rest of the tasks. Have breaks so you can stay motivated and keep up with the rest of your tasks.
How to keep up with tasks? To-do lists. They're your magic tools to be a successful freelancer in Iraq. With the crowded life of the city of Baghdad or the streets of Sulaymaniyah, much management is needed. This will also aid you in staying organized, which will lead to good-quality work.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” Dale Carnegie, an American writer.
It is essential to complete the most important task in your to-do list! This will motivate you in your freelancing journey in Iraq.
How to not be distracted? Awareness. You will be a great Iraqi freelancer if you write your priorities and visions on paper. As you write them, they will be a huge part of your subconscious. In her book, The Artist Way, Julia Cameron emphasized the importance of morning pages as they boost creativity and awareness. Since there is “Be” in Believe. Determination and discipline will make you the most productive Iraqi freelancer. This is also highly connected to having a life-work balance which can be found here (we can add a link to the first blog).
Soma stressed the idea that the working environment really helps to maximize your productivity. As a freelancer, it is essential to communicate with the client. Clarity is key when a task is given. The budget of the task makes the work very rewarding as well.
After you have set the tasks for yourself. What is next? Taking breaks. It is important to reward yourself with a nice meal and stay hydrated. Fuel your body to stay focused and productive. The Iraqi lifestyle is culturally rich; Iraqi youth are more open to making their ideal routine more efficient.
Beware! Technology is thriving; it is a wide fast-paced world. In Iraq, a freelancer has to have the proper technology in use! Time management and tracking apps are necessary to keep you productive. One example is the Todo List app which can help you arrange your tasks, know your daily priorities, and stay motivated.
Hallaj, on the other hand, clarifies that maximizing your productivity depends on your profession as a freelancer. If you are working in the digital sector within social marketing or social media,. you can use a lot of tools that can help you. For example, as a content writer, you can use generative AI tools that can help you minimize the time you spend researching topics and trends. This will help you reduce the time you usually spend on a task. This is also helpful if the client wants to change the deadlines. But you have to do your own work with them. If you generate something within AI, you must change it and make it brand- and reader-friendly.
Co-working Spaces in Iraq Having a dedicated workplace will assist you through your freelancing journey. Iraq became more open to Co-working spaces as they helped so many Iraqis to thrive in their careers. Baghdad, Erbil, Basra, and Sulaymaniyah have unique and breathtaking spaces to foster your creativity and productivity. The Station in Baghdad is one of the most popular spaces for freelancers like you and others to focus on their careers and connect with others. Besides the calming and encouraging environment, you will also be more updated about the Iraqi freelancing landscape.
Other spaces are found in Baghdad, such as Cowork, Erbil Innovation House in Erbil, and Masaha in Basra. More spaces are being established here in Iraq. Join them for a healthier freelancing environment and better productivity.
Hallaj invites you to try co-working spaces because it gives you more motivation, especially when you see other people:
“I consider co-working spaces as going to the gym. It is like seeing other people who work at the gym, and you try to do the same. You go there, see people work, and come up with great ideas. It just gives you more motivation to do the same and work on your skills as well”.
Share your stories!
We asked Hallaj and Soma to highlight the main issues they faced at the beginning of their freelancing journey. This will help you and other freelancers learn about the major issues and the innovative solutions they discovered!
Hallaj mentions that one of the biggest challenges as a freelancer is time management:
“When I say time management was one of the most crucial challenges for freelancers. Because most freelancers, including myself, you go to school and use freelance in your free time. It was not easy to have time management. But I met some people who have gone on the same process and passed their experience and insights”. That is why it is essential to build connections.
“Today, I have learned to manage my time more effectively, compared to the past year,” which is why self-cultivation is very important.
Soma explains that as a freelancer, one of the issues was payments. Job Studio made it so easy! They were using fast pay, which is what most freelancing businesses lacked. Hallaj agrees with her regarding the issues of payments.
"At the beginning of my freelancing career, tasks and deadlines were major issues for me. In Job Studio, I was given tasks with flexible deadlines. They are very understanding” says Soma.
Job Studio is one of a kind platform in Iraq and she recommends people consider it more. She encourages working with more companies and agencies through Job Studio because it will help find great opportunities for building trust with the freelancer and the client.
Being a freelancer means employment at your assigned hours; thus, having excellent time management, priorities, and boundaries is crucial.