Managing your time effectively as a freelance writer could mean the difference between earning $100 or $1,000.
When you manage your time to prioritize work and get rid of distractions, you’ll be able to perform much better as a writer. And eventually, earn more as a freelancer.
The trick to writing more is prioritizing your focus.
If you can avoid distractions like doom-scrolling on your phone and focus entirely on writing, you’ll be able to finish an article in less time. This will lead you to write more articles and get more work done.
So, how do you write more in less time without letting it affect the quality of your work? Let’s find out.
Understanding Your Current Habits
Before you go any further to implement new strategies and habits, take a step back and reflect on how you manage your time right now.
Are you the kind of person who gets distracted way too easily?
Do you often pick up your phone and scroll through social media feeds in the middle of work?
Do you take too long to find the motivation and inspiration to start writing an article?
These are the culprits of bad time management.
To find a solution to an illness, you first need to understand the symptoms. Figure out why you have a hard time managing your time effectively.
And, at the same time, find the areas that you’re good at. Like when you feel hyperfocused or the times when you were able to write fast. It will go a long way to help optimize your time management system.
Set Clear And Achievable Goals
Let’s face it, you won’t be able to write 10 long-form articles in a single day. You are not ChatGPT!
It’s important to set realistic goals that you can actually achieve. Just set the bar slightly higher than what you’re doing right now.
If you’re able to write two articles per day, maybe start by aiming for 3 articles per day.
Remember to be clear about what you want to achieve in the long run.
If you want to set bigger goals, that’s okay too. As Norman Vincent Peale says, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Create A Personalized Time Management System
I have no idea what your life is like so I can’t give you specific instructions on how to create your time management system.
But I can tell you this— Getting into a daily routine has been very effective for me in managing my time.
Every day after waking up and washing up, I grab a cup of tea and sit in front of my computer to start work. I usually watch an informative YouTube video while sipping on my tea but I stop the video before it ends. Then start working.
I do work in time blocks. For example, if I start working at 10 I will work for two hours and stop work at 12 to go eat or take a shower. Then I start another block.
If I schedule three time blocks per day, I make sure to get those done within the day.
This system may not work for everyone. But there are many other time management systems you can try according to your workflow and schedule.
Planning and Scheduling Your Writing
I used to spend way too much time staring at the blank screen, trying to come up with an introduction for an article. Then, a long time ago, I picked up a trick from Neil Patel.
Neil does a cool strategy where he plans the articles he writes ahead of time. For example, if you have an article you need to write tomorrow, you can take prepare the outline of that article the day before.
I took this strategy to the next level by also writing the introduction of the article ahead of time. This allows me to jump straight into writing the content. And it’s a great way to find inspiration for writing too.
If you have larger projects, you can also follow this same strategy to break them down into smaller sections and prepare the outlines ahead of time.
Avoid Distractions And Enhance Focus
I recently started using a stopwatch timer and it has boosted my productivity by a huge amount.
I tried several time management hacks like the Pomodoro Technique but they weren’t effective for me. But this stopwatch was different.
I actually bought a physical stopwatch that sits right under my monitor. I set the timer to around 40 minutes and when the time is counting down, I can see how much time is left in a session.
This creates a sense of urgency to finish work on time. It’s sort of like a self-implied deadline. This allowed me to keep my focus entirely on work.
There are many different strategies you can use to avoid distractions. Turn off notifications on your phone, use browser extensions that prevent you from logging into social media, or even go outside and work from a park or cafe.
It’s up to you to find which methods work best for you.
Prioritize Writing Tasks With Time Blocking
As I mentioned earlier, time blocking has been very effective for me. You can also use time blocks to create a schedule for your daily routine.
Use the first time block of your day to tackle the most important tasks. To write articles that require more creative thinking. Or the ones with short deadlines. And then use the other time blocks to slot in low-priority work.
In my experience, you do your best work in the morning. So I usually do my most creative writing work in the morning and save other tasks for later in the day.
Balancing Work And Personal Life
Of course, work is not your entire life. You will also have to balance your personal life in between all of this.
Whether you’re happily married with kids or living a single life, you will have to consider creating a time management system that can balance both work and personal life.
You need to find time to spend with your kids, and your spouse, to cook, to go out, to spend time with friends, and even for your hobbies.
The time blocks system can be quite helpful in creating a system that works to tackle all these tasks in your day. But, you can also use other time management strategies to balance your life.
Just don’t forget, there’s more to life than work!
To wrap things up, let’s summarize what we’ve learned today.
First, we figure out what your current habits are and then we set clear goals to achieve daily. And then you can create a personalized time management system by planning your writing ahead of time while using time blocks and other strategies to improve focus.
In conclusion, I will leave you with this— Remember to take time off to do nothing! You could work too hard and burn out while trying to maximize your time. That’s more damaging to your health and life than anything.
Images via Freepik.com