As a freelance writer, you’ve probably had to hustle at one time or another. For most of us, this hustle often involves working 60-hour weeks as we feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Did you know that the trick to getting sh*t done as a freelance writer isn’t about how many hours you work; it’s about making the most of the hours that you work?
Whether you’re a productivity pro or someone who struggles to complete even the smallest tasks because they’re too busy procrastinating with cat videos on YouTube (we’ve all been there), I’ve got you covered.
Here’s how to hustle as a freelance writer without having to work 60-hour weeks.
Planning and preparation are key.
My Dad always taught me that the six P’s are instrumental in business (“Planning and Preparation Prevent P*ss Poor Performance.”)
As a new, advanced or even super experienced freelance writer, it’s important that you plan out your weeks as intricately as you can.
Invest in a business diary, set realistic deadlines and work out exactly what you’re going to be doing in the days ahead.
I find if I don’t plan and prep, all hell can sometimes break loose. I can double book myself, overfill my schedule or completely forget that Darren from brand X wants his four blog posts by Tuesday.
If like me, you have a poor memory and you benefit from supreme organisation, get your planning and prep done and dusted ahead of each working week — and you sure won’t regret it.
Forget multitasking, mono-tasking is your new best friend.
Establishing core priorities and working on things one step at a time will narrow your focus and help you to concentrate better during freelance writing tasks.
And when you’re bossing it in terms of concentration? You get sh*t done. Fact.Your brain finds it super difficult to handle multiple thoughts at once, especially when you’re yo-yoing from task to task and not letting it settle on one thing.Click To Tweet
Put a stop to multi-tasking NOW by using one screen and working in set chunks of time. Oh, and — if you’re struggling to focus — get up and walk around for a little while.
If all else fails, try the popular Pomodoro Technique. This is where you break the day into smaller, highly focused intervals (like 25 minutes) and then follow each interval up with a little break of around five minutes.
Once you’ve completed four intervals or “pomodoros,” you can take a long break where you don’t look at a computer screen (or check Facebook) for about 15 minutes.
If this is sounding kind of straightforward to you, that’s because it is. And it honestly works, because I do it all the time.
Categorise tasks and assign them to different days or times.
Another way that you can hustle to get sh*t done faster is to, firstly, group tasks according to their category.
Then, book out a whole day or time just to focus on that category.
Confused? Hear me out.
If you need to get ahead with creating blog posts for clients, book out Monday purely to write. Need to market yourself on social media? Assign these tasks from 10-11am daily.
The reason why this trick works so well is that you’re wiring your brain to deal with a specific task and then utilising the time that your brain is in this “mode” — if that makes sense.
As well as helping to keep your brain focused, it also lets your productivity levels soar.
Outsource tasks where you can.
The secret to growth as a successful business owner, whether you’re a freelance writer or Bob the builder, is reaching out for help when you need it.
OR if there’s a certain task that you don’t class yourself as an expert in, outsource it to someone who does. There’s no shame in it; in fact, it’s just smart and effective business planning!
For instance, if you admit that you’re absolutely useless when it comes to blog design, why not pass over these types of tasks to fully trained and skilled web designers?
Not only will your blog look kickass, but you’ll free up a bunch of time that you can spend doing something that you’re amazing at.
Change up where you work as a freelance writer.
Look, everybody eventually gets bored of looking at the same four walls. It’s inevitable.
But did you know that working in the same place all the time can actually increase distractions and reduce your productivity rate?To stimulate your brain and help you get more sh*t done, leave the house or move rooms and change up your work environment every once in a while.Click To Tweet
Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t burn yourself out.
For a freelance writer, the burnout struggle is real.
I get it. I’ve been there.
You can get so preoccupied trying to do ALL OF THE THINGS that you don’t realise just how much of a negative impact it’s having on your mental health.
It goes without saying that writing takes up a hell of a lot of brain power.
I mean, think about it. We’re trying to force our brains to work at its optimum level for, often, more than eight hours a day.
It just cannot cope with that. It doesn’t have the capacity.
That’s why it’s so important to give yourself regular breaks throughout your working day as well as your working week.
If you’re having a tough week and you’re trying to make your brain work really hard to finish up your book a few days before your deadline so that you can do other things but it just ain’t happening (BIG BREATH), don’t fear, brother.
Sack it off for the rest of the day and take the time you need to get into a good headspace again. Then you’ll feel refreshed when you do eventually hop back to it and it’ll help you get more done faster.
I find that if I put too much pressure on myself, it backfires massively and I end up having to take more time out to revitalise my mental health because I’ve basically broken my brain.
I know — not cool.
Hustle to get sh*t done and fulfill your vision, for sure, but don’t sacrifice yourself. It’s not worth it.
Just remember that it is possible to hustle as a freelance writer without working 60-hour weeks. It’s about working smarter, not harder. Find a work-life balance that works for you, avoid logging more hours and, instead, make the most of the hours you work. And it won’t be long before you’re killing it in your freelance writing career, pal.