Freelance writing can be an exciting way to make a living or at least earn a little money on the side. It’s a great way to reach out to a large audience and fine-tune many skills. You can even make your own hours and be your own boss.
As great as this all sounds, the best and most consistent tip we all get as freelance writers is to have good time management. Being your own boss is awesome, but you have to know how to handle the workload or else your work will suffer.
Get Rid of the Distractions
I know most of us are used to having multiple things occur simultaneously — we watch TV while browsing the Internet, texting our best friends and munching on some chips. However, the best way to stay focused is to cut out the unnecessary distractions.
Turn off all pop-ups, alarms, anything that can distract you. When you are writing, it needs to be a seamless thread of thoughts and you can’t get that flow when you are distracted every few minutes.
Keep Track of the Client’s Voice
Even if you can’t read minds, when you freelance you should at least understand the client’s mind. Your words need to sound like they came straight from your client’s mouth. Since this isn’t something you can master right away, it might take a few drafts before the client is comfortable with you writing for them. What this hurts the most time-wise is turnaround. You might have to wait several weeks before getting your first draft back and then you have to go through the pain of sending reviews back and forth.
Keep a running list of the type of changes they made on your copy and particular patterns or wording you’ve noticed they like to use. This will help you shorten that turnaround time in the future.
Work When You’re in the Zone
When you’re a freelancer, your income depends on the content you create. Set your schedule so you can complete your work during the times you’re most productive.
Yuwanda Black, who has been freelancing since 1993, says it’s best to work when you’re feeling most productive. She says, “I’ve learned to work with my body clock instead of against it.” If you’re at your productivity peak in the morning, make sure you set aside a few hours each morning so you can work when you’re at your best. If you’re a night owl, get some work done before you get some sleep.
Make To-Do Lists
To-do lists can help you organize your workload and prioritize your projects. There are plenty of applications that can help you create lists. Some popular free programs include Remember the Milk and Toodledo, which were created to help make your life a bit more organized and easier to manage. It can be easier to take on your daily tasks when everything is laid out in front of you.
Review Your Schedule in Advance
Even if you’ve completed all of your assignments for the day, you can still help make your job easier by planning for the next day. Jason Womack has created a successful company and advises freelancers and big corporations alike to follow this advice. Womack believes if you “review your calendar and reprioritize your meetings, appointments and planned work for the next day,” you can eliminate the amount of time you waste each day.
What are some of the tricks you’ve learned to get the most productive time out of each day?