|Taming Time for New Freelance Writers|
Energized from your morning work out and sumptuous breakfast, you sit at your computer to begin your tasks for the day. Before beginning your tasks, you decide to check your mails first, while on the mails, you decide to visit a link found in one, within a minute, you already have twenty tabs open.
After what you think is an hour, you decide to begin your tasks proper, you then take a casual look at the clock, imagine your shock! Lo and behold it's noon already! Where did the time go? As a freelance writer most especially a new freelance writer, I'm sure, like me, you've asked yourself this question a zillion times.
About ten days ago I launched my freelance writing business blog. Less than 24 hours later, I got my first client. And before I knew it, I had lost control over my time. A million and one things were competing for my undivided attention. I knew I had to tame this beast of time before it destroys my freelance writing business.
Managing the never enough time has always been a major concern for freelance writers, and this is even more challenging for new freelance writers. You are your own employer and employee. You are the only head and member of all departments in your business. You alone market, network, write, source for new clients, etc. With all these duties, its no surprise how you seem not to have time all the time.
Here are ways I've found that will help in Taming Time to give New Freelance Writers more efficient productivity.
1. Stay True To Your Niche
The Holy Book says, a man who will not work, let him not eat, this means for the freelance writer, no gigs, no pay. As a new writer, the temptation to accept gigs from every tom, dick and harry, is very strong, I know because I've faced it too. But the consequences are very destructive. So reject those gigs that you know are outside your niche and will only consume your time.
Now you are taking only gigs in your niche, yet you are still overwhelmed? That's because you are not being focused. You should accept only gigs that you are certain of meeting the deadline and you are comfortable with the pay. Do not worry if the only gigs that meet these criteria are 'few', you can always take on more when you expand. Always keep your focus on your to-do list. Once an item has been ticked off, take a short break and move on to the next. Resist distractions.
3. Start With the Most Difficult Tasks
I've always heard this Taming Time Tip since my teenage days, and it has always worked for me. I guess the rationale behind this is that when you finish a difficult task, your confidence becomes boosted making the next task much more easier, and of course done faster.
4. Start working on a Project ASAP!
Procrastination only feeds the unruly beast of time. Taming Time will require you to begin a new task as soon as possible. NEVER wait till the day before deadline or on the day it is due for submission.
5. Schedule Your Activities
During my days in law school, one day, I decided to do a daily time audit for a week, to review how I spent my time. You know what I found out? I realized I couldn't account for almost 10 hours out of 24 hours, which must've been spent unproductively.
The best way to stop those time black holes is to schedule your activities down to sleeping, eating, working out, reading/ replying mails, and most especially social media!
Be realistic when scheduling your activities. You don't want to fix a 1000 word article to be done in 30 minutes. You will only end up frustrated and discouraged if you are unable to stay within schedule.
You should only do these activities during the time you have scheduled for them. I understand how crucial social media is, after all, that's how I got my first client, but only get on it when you actually have something to do.
Open your emails only when you are ready to reply or process it. It's bad time management to first skim your emails before you're ready to work on them.
Be flexible when fixing your schedule, rotate things occasionally so you don't feel bored with monotony.
6. Use Taming Time Apps/ Tools
The world has gone digital. In short if by now you are still operating on analog, then you are not ready for the future! Now we have apps for everything from checking your moods to computing your tax, so also we have several for Taming Time.
Timers: This could be an offline or online timer. When you begin a scheduled task, set the timer to the time you've fixed for the task. If the task will take a long while, you can break the time into sections and take a short break between sessions, while setting the timer for the length of a session.
RescueTime: This app helps to monitor your activities online. It'll tell you that although you planned to spend 5 hours on some serious work online, you actually spent only 1.5 hours, while the rest was wasted on social media.
Momentum: this amazing extension is a two-in-1, to-do-list and Tab Police program with a simple interface. You'll need it for those periods when you're chasing the squirrels online. By reminding you each time you open a new tab that you still have unfinished tasks, it keeps the main Momentum going.
E.ggtimer.com: This tool adopts the Pomodoro time block of 25 minutes work and 5 minutes break, although you can reset it to your choice. It sort of turns writing into a game, as you sharpen your skills to meet the time.
7. Give yourself a break!
If you've read to this point, I must've given the wrong impression I want you only working and never playing. But that's not my true position. Remember to fix breaks in your schedule and periods for some socializing. Note: this should be occasional.
When things seem choking and it all feels like it wanna come tumbling down, please give yourself a break! Trust me, when you come back you'll feel more focused, more ready to take on the Taming Time challenge.
When you realize you are not managing your time as you wish, don't beat yourself over it, give yourself a break! No one is perfect. Persistence and discipline will take you to that desired state.
This should've been placed next to scheduling your activities. Everything has a place. Some gigs are more important than others (don't ever tell your clients this). Although when I mean more important, I mean some have earlier deadline than others. So keep this in mind when writing your schedule, which by the way could be daily or weekly.
You don't have to do EVERYTHING! Outsource some duties that do not require your personal attention, like grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning, etc. Also, outsource those tasks you aren't good at that simply suck up so much time, like fixing techie issues on your blog, graphic designs, etc.
10. DO NOT Multitask
I can hear you say, really? Then this person is likely not a freelancer. Multitasking is second nature to most freelance writers. It is however not as productive as we think. It is more likely important information may get lost in the thick web of multitasking.
Instead of multitasking, you can adopt batching. Group similar tasks which you would like to do immediately after one another like billing, video calls, etc. Focusing on one particular batch at a time improves productivity.
Taming Time requires strong willed discipline else you may wear out yourself. Fortunately, the more you keep at it, the easier it becomes, and in no time it will be a habit! I've successfully used most of these tips, so I'm sure you too will benefit if you try them. Give yourself a treat when you do well.
Be sure to let me know how this post has helped you and which of the tips was your favourite. Don't forget to share with your special ones.
I love learning while doing. So this blog is to showcase my learning steps while letting you know I am a savvy freelance writer available for hire.
Contact me today!