Effective time management is crucial for freelance writers – you have to plan and execute your writing in a quality way, all while adhering to strict deadlines and client’s requirements.
But, this can be a challenge – sometimes it seems as if there aren’t enough hours in the day for every item in your to-do list, and you struggle to keep up.
To help you avoid that, here are 5 time management tips any freelance writer can try out:
Set up an effective writing space
First-Rate writing space is the first precondition for better time management – especially if you equip it right, and take precautions to fend off distractions.
Pick a separate room in your home, or an isolated corner, if you live in a small apartment. Equip it with a sturdy desk and a comfortable office chair – standing desks may be popular, but one 2017 study shows that they hurt your productivity by prolonging your reaction time on tasks. So, it’s best that you choose a more traditional desk, and take frequent breaks to move around and stretch.
If you cannot isolate yourself physically from background noises, listen to a noise generator via headphones – it’ll help you focus.
Make sure to always have a notebook and pen nearby – what if a brilliant idea crosses your mind and you don’t have anything to jot it down with?
If you cannot create the ideal writing space in your home, look elsewhere – join a coworking space, or go to the nearest coffee shop – distant ambient noise improves focus and concentration, so it’s no wonder many freelance writers love this option.
Work on your writing skills every day
If you want to write faster, you first have to learn to write better – and the best way to write better is to practice your writing skills every day.
Simply, make it your goal to work on your writing every day – perform research, make outlines and plans, write, edit, or tackle any other writing-related task.
To make sure you do write daily, try a time card calculator:
- at the end of every day, add the writing assignment you’ve worked on that day, in the timesheet.
- then, add the number of hours and minutes you’ve spent on it.
By doing so regularly, you’ll get a clear log of what writing assignments you’ve worked on each day, and how long they took you. As time goes by, you’ll likely notice that the amount of time you need for your writing assignments reduces – because working on your writing skills every day gives you the necessary practice, and practice makes perfect.
A firm “No” to low paying gigs
Sometimes, you’ll encounter clients who don’t seem to appreciate your work – they’ll bargain to get a much lower price than you usually ask for, and demand that the content is delivered as soon as possible. Preferably, now.
It’s important that you know your own worth, and value your time by saying “No” to such clients – If you do, you’ll leave more time for assignments that are actually profitable and worth your time.
Some clients will ask for multiple revisions to the content you’ve submitted – it’s important that you state right away how many revisions your initial price covers, before it’s necessary for the client to pay extra.
Otherwise, you might spend countless extra hours working on countless extra revisions, for the same base price – and this doesn’t translate well to your earnings, or your time management efforts.
Content mills can also be a big time waster – with some of them, you may spend the same amount of effort and time as with regular, higher-end content, but get paid much, much less.
So, if you want to make the most of your time, make sure you value your efforts and understand your worth – then, charge and make arrangements accordingly. Your aim should be to be recognized as the best content marketing writer out there. And that means no to jobs that will not help you get there.
Organize, prioritize and schedule
When you’re trying to improve your time management, it’s important to stay organized – so, make sure to create to-do lists, prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, and schedule your day accordingly.
Create to-do lists listing your writing assignments and client calls the evening before – make sure you order them based on how urgent and important they are, and work on them in that order tomorrow.
Always schedule your worst, first – this is usually an important or urgent task. Once you finish working on your “worst” assignment, you’ll have the rest of the day to work on less demanding (and, likely, more pleasant) tasks.
Remember to block specific times for your to-dos in your calendar – decide when you’ll tackle them, and note in their start and end times. If you stay true to these time blocks tomorrow, you’ll likely finish everything you’ve set out to do, and on time.