Time management is an obstacle many writers face as they create their work schedules on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It is important for freelance writers to develop these schedules based upon the deadlines imposed by their editors, as well as other work they may need to accomplish. For example, if a writer works outside their home alongside their freelance career, they must pay close attention to how each work schedule coincides with each other. When managing so much, the need to write quickly and efficiently becomes a priority.
1: The Work – Life Balance
When thinking about business management, small business owners must pay close attention to taking care of themselves also. This includes regular daily exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. When a new writer is starting out, it is not uncommon for them to work around the clock while paying little attention to their diet or how often they leave the chair.
When a good work and life balance is created, small business owners are able to work more efficiently and effectively. This translates to faster writing because, in addition to being rested, the writer has a clear mind and can focus on the work at hand.
2: Do Not Procrastinate
When working from home, it is easy to say, “I’ll get to that later.” Well, sometimes later does not mesh well with your editor’s expectations or the deadlines posted on the calendar. The trick is to get to work as soon as the day begins. For those who like to work out in the morning, schedule your writing work so it begins as soon as that routine is complete. By avoiding procrastination, you are staying on top of your deadlines and working toward obtaining additional assignments.
3: Do Not Avoid What is Difficult
No matter how complex or difficult a project is, get started immediately. If writers avoid what is difficult, or put it off to the last minute, then they are not producing quality content. In addition, avoiding what is difficult prevents writers from writing faster. Projects that are difficult should be handled first and given priority over those that are easier and take less time. Start by brainstorming ideas, creating a starting point for research, and taking notes for either an outline or first draft. Then, once this preliminary work is completed, the project should move along at a quicker pace.
4: Develop a Writing System
While many writers like to mimic the strategies used by their mentor or another writer they admire, it is important for them to develop their own system. This is achieved by experimenting with many different ways of approaching projects, researching, writing drafts, and so on. Once a writer develops a system for their projects from beginning to end, they can write faster. For example, if you like creating outlines from notes taken during research, this outline can easily translate into the first draft of the article or blog post.
5: Be Accountable to Yourself
If you cannot be accountable to yourself, how can your editor believe you are accountable? By staying focused on the task at hand you are not only meeting your deadlines, you are also proving accountability. One trick many writers do in order to maintain accountability is creating self-imposed deadlines. For example, if their deadline is June 30th, they may set a June 25th deadline so content is turned in early and schedules are not quite as stressful. When writers create deadlines for themselves or develop a word count they would like to achieve daily, they begin working faster in order to meet these goals.
6: Generate Multiple To-Do Lists
Part of business management is staying on task on a daily basis. This means the generation of to-do lists for writing work, clerical work, invoicing, and tracking. When multiple to-do lists are created, a sense of accomplishment is achieved as items are checked off throughout the day. Rather than looking at it as a way of making the day filled with overwhelming obstacles, view it as a way of setting goals and staying organized. If lesser important to-do list items are not completed, this is not a failure. Instead, place them a bit higher on the next day’s lists.
7: Keep Distractions to a Minimum
It is no mystery that writers can easily become distracted while on the Internet. Their research could lead them astray, their social media marketing strategies could take longer than expected, or a series of funny cat videos may lead them away from their tasks. In addition, there may be things in the home causing distractions such as people watching television near the workspace, a sink full of dishes driving the writer crazy, or pets that want constant attention. As difficult as it may be, writers can work faster if distractions are kept to a minimum. For example, stay off social media accounts until after the day’s work count or article count goal is met. Other examples include working on household tasks at the conclusion of the workday and caring for pets before the workday begins or during breaks.
Jenn Greenleaf began her career one month before her first child was born in 1999, so developing life hacks in order to achieve optimal business management is something she’s worked with consistently. You can learn more about her career and interests by visiting her Google+ profile.