As a new freelance writer, you’re probably in the heart of the hustle.
I’m talking about those 60-hour weeks where you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get stuff done, let alone exercise, spend time with your family or chill with Netflix.
It’s difficult to manage your time to maximise your productivity, that’s for sure, especially at the beginning of your freelance writing career.
After all, you have to account for content planning, creation, editing and promotion all at the same time. As well as being busy enough to make you feel like your head is going to spin off at any second, it can also be super stressful.
However, did you know that the trick to getting tasks ticked off your list as a freelance writer often 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 things because they’re too busy procrastinating with cat videos on YouTube (hey, we’ve all been there), I’ve got you covered.
Read on for 5 time management tips for freelance writers that are simple yet effective. Halle-freaking-lujah.
1. Planning and Preparation Are Key
Time management tips for freelance writers 101: as a new, advanced or even super experienced freelance writer, it’s important that you plan out your weeks as intricately as you can.
Why? Well, my Dad always taught me that the six P’s are instrumental in business (“Planning and Preparation Prevent P*ss Poor Performance.”) And Daddy knows best.
Invest in a business diary, set realistic deadlines and work out exactly what you’re going to be doing in the days ahead.
I mean, I find that 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. (Oops – sorry, Dazza!)
If like me, you have a poor memory and you thrive from supreme organisation skills, get your planning and prep done and dusted ahead of each working week – and I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
2. Forget Multitasking, Mono-tasking is Your New Best Friend
Forget everything you once knew about multitasking being one of the top time management tips for freelance writers. Because – newsflash – it’s not.
The trick is to establish priority tasks and then work on them one step at a time.
How come, you ask? Well, narrowing your focus can help you to concentrate better during freelance writing tasks.
And when you’re bossing it in terms of concentration? You get stuff done. Fact.It's no secret that your brain finds it difficult to handle multiple tasks at once, especially when you’re yo-yoing from one thing to another 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.
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 small break of around five minutes. Then, 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.
It sounds super straightforward; but, somehow, it works. I’ll never go back.
3. Categorise Tasks and Assign Them to Different Days or Times
One of my favourite time management tips for freelance writers is batch tasking. This is where you, firstly, group tasks according to their category. Then book out a whole day or a specific time period 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? Schedule upcoming posts from 10-11am daily. Looking for new blogger jobs? Do this on Friday afternoons.
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” to help speed up the task.
As well as helping to keep your brain focused, it also lets your productivity levels soar. Win-win, right?
4. Outsource Tasks When You Need To
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.
Alternatively, 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 a fully trained and skilled web designer? Not only will your blog look kickass and function like a dream, but you’ll free up a bunch of time that you can spend doing something that you’re amazing at and can get paid the big bucks for – like copywriting.
5. Change Up Where You Work
Perhaps overlooked when it comes to effective time management tips for freelance writers, you need to ensure that you’re working in a fun and stimulating work environment if you want to excel.
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?
I know, not cool.To re-energise your brain and help you get more stuff done, leave the house or move rooms and change up your work environment every once in a while.Click To Tweet
It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many freelance writers become hermits and then wonder why they can’t squeeze any words out of their brains. (Yes, this used to be me.)
Even though this is easily done, sometimes you have to force yourself to get out or move around.
Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Time Management Tips for Freelance Writers: Don’t Burn Yourself Out
For a new 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 for a living takes up a heck of a lot of brainpower. I mean, think about it – we’re trying to force our brains to work at its optimum level for more than eight hours a day.
It just can’t 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.
Sure, hustle to get stuff done and fulfill your vision. That said, work smarter, not harder. And don’t sacrifice your mental health along the way.
It’s just not worth it.
What are your top time management tips for freelance writers? Let me know in the comments!
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