It is so easy to get distracted as a freelance writer. Free days just seem so temptingly easy to take.
There are days when it is very hard to get motivated to work, especially when you are writing for somebody else.
Overcome wasting time by being proactive and learning to schedule properly. Time management is a continual battle, but there are ways to achieve balance.
The easiest way to stay focused is by removing potential distractions. When you are writing, close all of your social media apps, such as instant messaging, email, Instagram, phone calls, texting, etc.
It is easy to stray off focus when you’re plugged into any of these social spots. Use your time wisely.
When it is time to work, it is time to work. The work has to get done. Music can be another distraction.
If you have to have music to write, try music with more instrumentals. It is much less distracting.
Finding space away from other people aids in staying focused. It is all too easy to stop working if you are in the room with your buds. Turn the TV off, duh.
Work in time blocks.
Find an increment that works for you and commit to time blocks. For instance, write for 25 minutes then break for 5 minutes. Use a timer if you like.
During this block, keep busy and work the whole time. It is also important to be flexible. If your juices are really flowing, you probably shouldn’t adhere to the time constraint.
Adversely, if you are suffering from writer’s block, there is no point in wasting time. Move onto another project.
Make “office hours”.
Set up a plan for the day and allow time to conduct each of the jobs that the freelancer is responsible for handling: finding work, communications, administrative duties, marketing, researching, and of course, completing projects. Be realistic in your to-do list. There is only so much time in a day.
Learn to say no.
You want to focus more on getting good jobs, not a lot of jobs. Do not take on more work than you can handle. It is so hard to say no to the prospect of more jobs, which correlates to more money.
However, you don’t want your computer to be a permanent fixture, like an appendage. Didn’t you become a freelancer to have more free time? Don’t let your family know you as the guy that is always working on the computer.
Give yourself a grace period.
When taking jobs and setting deadlines, make sure you give yourself some wiggle room. It is inevitable that you are going to hit some walls from time to time.
If you give yourself plenty of wiggle room, you can handle these issues. Otherwise, you are going to be faced with a state of complete panic as the deadline nears. Learn how to properly estimate your time to complete projects, and always give yourself a buffer.
Prioritize your workload.
It is very normal for freelance writers to have several projects going on simultaneously. This is fine and dandy, as long as you know how to prioritize your responsibilities.
Projects should be organized by deadline and workload. Projects that take more time to complete should be started early and maintain an ongoing work schedule. Other projects should be arranged by due date.
It is also wise to complete any research early so you are fully aware of what the project will entail.
Time management is a skill that will get better with experience. You will find your groove and the more you write, the faster you will begin to produce work.
With time you will also find what projects you can do quickly, what you are good at, what you absolutely do not want to do, and you will learn to estimate your time fairly accurately.