When it comes to how to be more productive as a freelance writer, we all struggle sometimes.
I mean, we’ve all had assignments to complete with a limited amount of time to complete them. Then, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to concentrate. In fact, we’ll do almost anything and everything else apart from what we’re supposed to be doing (i.e. watch cat videos). Am I right?
Do we all have ADD? Not likely. We all just struggle with our productivity and motivational levels sometimes.
After all, the brain can only handle so much activity at once. And there’s only so long that we can concentrate on one task before our minds are crying out for a little rest.
Whether you’re new to this job or you’ve been in the game for longer than you can remember, here are my top tips in terms of how to be more productive as a freelance writer – and ultimately smash your daily, weekly and/or monthly goals.
Take that, short attention span!
Find a Quiet Area to Work
How to be more productive as a freelance writer rule 101: find a quiet space.
I mean, it’s practically impossible to be productive when you have your neighbour’s gardeners mowing the lawn next door or your newborn baby crying in a nearby room.
Personally, I need to remove myself from noise of any kind to be able to bash out some half-decent copy.
The majority of the time I tend to work in the office space in my house. Even so, sometimes it’s rather nice to find a quiet corner of a coffee shop where I can be out amongst society while simultaneously immersing myself in my work.
Sure, a little background noise can sometimes be good for productivity levels, like the hum of the radio or some relaxing sounds. However, generally speaking, having a place that’s completely void from noise tends to work best for most people.
And if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it – right?
Have Drinks on Hand
I can’t stress how important it is to make sure you have immediate access to fluids. Whether this is your essential morning fruit juice or good old-fashioned water, basically, you need to keep your body hydrated when you’re in a writing profession.
Why? Well, a healthy and hydrated body equals a healthy and hydrated mind – and that’s where all the words come from, remember?
If you’re like me, you’ll have to squeeze in at least one cup of coffee or tea throughout the day (okay, four). After all, caffeine can often stimulate productivity like nothing else.
Having said that, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water too. As well as helping to clear your mind, it will also improve your energy levels and keep you feeling refreshed throughout the day. Thus boosting productivity. Duh.
Produce an Outline First
This doesn’t have to be extensive, but I find if I have a rough outline drafted before I actually sit down and start writing then I can just launch straight into the piece without any faffing around. And we’re all guilting of faffing from time to time, right?
I also do my research prior to creating copy for the very same reason!
If you want to follow my lead, crack open Word or Pages on your laptop, or whatever form of document you work with, generate your outline and add bits of research that you want to include before you start writing (I do mine the day before). Then you can just get straight down to it when it’s time to be a productive badass.
I find this really helps as you can focus on one type of task at a time as opposed to mixing and matching them and overwhelming yourself. And we all know that this can happen quite easily as a freelance writer working on several different projects at once.
Eliminate All Distractions
A key point in terms of how to be more productive as a freelance writer: reduce those pesky distractions.
I’m talking about the social media pages you have open on your laptop, the TV that’s just casually on in the background while you’re writing or even your phone that’s right next to you and could go off any minute with a text from your good friend Susan about her botched boob job.
Shut down the social media pages, turn off your TV and put your phone on silent or remove it from eyesight if you want to help yourself. In addition, make sure you only have windows open on your laptop that are relevant to the piece you’re writing.In the world that we currently live in, where everything and everyone is available at the click of a button, it's so easy to become distracted and forget to focus on the moment.Click To Tweet
It’s so important to just pay attention to the job at hand when you’re freelance writing, otherwise, you’ll never get anything done! This is always a particularly difficult one for me, especially when all I want to do is hear about Susan’s botched boob job. Oh, Susan.
Make Sure Your Laptop is Fully Charged
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been in the middle of a really interesting post, fully immersed in what I’m writing and then my laptop dies.
(Cue a lot of cursing that almost results in throwing my laptop out of the window.)
Instead of being interrupted and having to get up, find your laptop charger, plug it in and wait for your laptop to reboot (because, urgh, effort), why not make sure your laptop is fully charged before you start writing?
I know – smart, right? And totally worth doing.
Listen to Calming Sounds
Perhaps you want to take this literally and find some sounds of the ocean shore going backwards and forwards to work to. Alternatively, maybe you’re like me and you like having music on in the background to help you focus.
Either way, it’s a well-known fact that music and melodic sounds increase productivity, which can really help your cause as a freelance writer.
Some people find that they get more done if they work in complete silence, which is totally fine. Each to their own. But, for me, I need a little somethin’ somethin’ on in the background – usually in the form of the radio or a playlist of my favourite songs.
Essentially, find out what works for you and do it for optimum results.
Write in Short Bursts
This one’s pretty subjective but, in my opinion, I’m more productive when I write in short bursts and then take regular breaks. (I’m talking about doing 25 minutes on and then five minutes off.)
This is called the Pomodoro Technique and is renowned as an effective time management method that works by breaking down work into smaller intervals.
Everyone human being is different but I find I can’t write for too long without needing a rest, even if it’s only for a few minutes.Writing uses a lot of brain power when you're doing it for a job and, let's face it, it's mentally exhausting at times.Click To Tweet
The trick is to give yourself regular breaks if you want to be more productive over a longer stretch of time. Just give it a go and find out for yourself.
Reward Yourself When You’ve Completed the Work
My favourite step of the process when it comes to how to be more productive as a freelance writer is: reward yourself after you’ve finished a particular task.
I find that the best way to do this is by simply doing something that you love to do afterwards.
Whether this is playing video games, watching an episode of something on Netflix or going for a walk outside in the fresh air, make sure you reward yourself somehow for completing the work – even if it’s only something small. It helps if you have the reward in mind when you’re writing, too, as it gives you a goal to work towards.
Either way, as time soon passes, the reward tends to come around faster than you originally thought – and man, does it feel great!
Just remember to enjoy it. After all, you’ve earned it.
How to Be More Productive as a Freelance Writer
Being productive when you’re on tight deadlines can be really challenging, especially if you’re a busy freelance writer with multiple pieces to produce on any given day!
Even though it’s easier said than done, my best bit of advice is to focus on what you can do within the time that’s given to you and try not to freak out.
After all, freaking out will only make you less productive as you will spend all your time and energy freaking out instead of using it for writing purposes. Try your best to work hard while simultaneously keeping a level head and I guarantee you’ll be a productivity badass in no time!
You have so got this.
What are your top tips when it comes to how to be more productive as a freelance writer? Let me know in the comments!
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