Students, freelancers, writers, editors, and all sorts of self-employed workers have the same problem — they need to manage their time properly in order to stay productive.
Self-employment often implies performing all kinds of tasks that otherwise would be divided among several people. For example, if you’re building your business on social networks, it means that you need to be responsible for sales, communicating with potential customers. At the same time, you must perform creative tasks (writing and editing posts), send invoices, and promote your products. If you’re a freelance writer, the list of responsibilities is shorter, but you still need to plan your work and complete multiple tasks within a limited time frame. The situation can worsen if you are studying and you need to do your homework. In that case you can use tips for students on specialized portals.
Not only do you need to understand how to spend your time, you also need to avoid countless distractions that can easily screw things up. Some of the biggest distractions are your smartphone and social media. Of course, sometimes you can just turn off the phone, but what if you need it for work?
The truth is, proper time management can help you avoid frustrations and achieve your goals, increasing productivity without sacrificing the quality of work.
Writers’ Biggest Challenges
There is a number of problems that prevent writers from using their time effectively.
- Sometimes you have so much work that you need to work on several tasks simultaneously. As a result, you get tired faster and your productivity falls.
- Life is full of unforeseen events. There’s only one thing that doesn’t change — your deadlines. You need to prepare for the fact that your day won’t go exactly how you planned it.
- You need to work more to make more money. You need to search for new clients and meet current deadlines. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you’re just a human being and you cannot do everything at once.
- Your success to a large extent depends on your expectations, so we suggest keeping them realistic. Your goal is not to be overloaded. On the other hand, you shouldn’t take too little work.
- Even though you may work on several projects simultaneously, you have to stay focused on a current task without getting distracted.
Tips on Increasing Your Productivity
- Set a timer
Set a timer for, say, an hour or 30 minutes, and devote this time to writing. Don’t do anything else, just write. When the time is up, take a little break and then set your timer again. Repeat this cycle until you complete all your tasks.
- Set goals
It’s really important. Jot down a list of your main priorities for a day, a week, and a month. Don’t forget that you need to be realistic about your abilities. It’s better to set just a few goals and get them done than write a long list that you cannot complete.
- Get rid of distractions
Log off your social networks, turn off any notifications, forget about your emails. You may also try one of many browser extensions that let you control the time that you waste on websites like Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook.
- Get rewards
Many successful writers follow the simple principle: they set weekly goals and when all the tasks are finished, they reward themselves. There’s nothing that can improve your productivity more than motivation. Treat yourself when you achieve your goals, and you’ll enjoy the working process.
- Write a to-do list
Every time you cross something off your to-do list, you feel satisfied. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to do a good job. At the end of the day, cross off all the things that you planned for today, and you’ll feel free and accomplished.
- Divide your day into blocks
For example, you can give yourself 2 hours for each project and work on it only. After that, switch to another project for 2 hours. Make tables, use a whiteboard or a calendar and make your own schedule.
- Start with the most difficult tasks
There is always a task that seems to be most difficult. Perhaps, you don’t even want to think about it. The best way to be productive is to complete it first. When you overcome it, you’ll feel boosted with energy so that you can move on to other tasks without getting stressed out.
- Work when everybody doesn’t
Some writers get up earlier than everyone so that they can work without being distracted by phone calls, emails, and everything else. Another approach is working on Fridays. Nobody will bother you on Friday’s evening. The same applies to days before three-day weekends. Use these opportunities to get focused on your work.
- Find a goal buddy
Some writers team up to check each other’s progress. Find another freelance writer who will check in with you every month, once a week, or even every hour.
- Work when you do it best
Every one of us has hours when his or her productivity is at its peak. Some writers are most productive early in the morning, others like to work at night. No matter what sort of person you are, use your peculiarities to make the most effective schedule.
- Stick to a traditional productivity regime
There are some people who invent their own schedules, for example, four-hour working days. Other suggest checking emails only twice a day. We don’t mean to say that these methods don’t work, in fact, they are worth trying. Just keep in mind that some emails must be answered as soon as possible, and you can write more if working six hours.
- Hire a virtual assistant
If you have too much work, you may feel overwhelmed by a bunch of important details: meetings, phone calls, and other administrative tasks. You really need to devote your time to these little things, but sometimes it gets harder to focus on long-term goals when you have so much to do. A virtual assistant is a nice opportunity to delegate some of your tasks so that you can focus on what’s really important.