What's your morning routine? Do you wake up to a jog and a smoothie, or do you roll out of bed and grab a cup of coffee? Is it more convenient for you to eat at your desk, or do you take a quick break and go for a nature walk? Do you prefer to stay up until midnight making the most of local nightlife or go to bed by 9 pm with a good book and some fluffy socks?
It's true that everyone's workday is different, and that's especially true of freelancers. The best thing about freelancing, after all, is that it allows for as much flexibility as an Olympic gymnastics final.
The downside to freelancing is that it's very easy to get off track, especially when you don't have a boss pressing you for the latest copy. It is easy to spend hours just procrastinating if you are not careful about how you spend your time. As a result, you may feel exhausted, stressed, and not productive.
The objective of this blog is to help freelance writers make the most of their time and to work on a schedule that suits their lifestyles - while still keeping their clients happy.
Who are you, a night owl or an early bird?
It is common to think of morning people as uber-productive and go-getters compared to their late-night counterparts, however, there is no benefit in keeping any particular pattern of hours. When it comes to working hours, the best ones are those that fit your schedule. If you are a night owl, it makes no sense to drag yourself out of bed at 5 am in the morning to try and work on your latest project - it will leave you weary and burnt-out, with very little to show for it.
You are the one who knows yourself best, so determine your most productive hours and set those aside for work. Particularly if you have to deal with complex projects such as technical documents and whitepapers which require deep thought and concentration. Plan to do something else during your less productive periods, and work on jobs that require less mental effort, like proofreading or composing emails.
Stay in touch with your clients
Freelancer writers usually have flexible working hours, but still need to meet deadlines set by their clients and stay in touch throughout the process. When you work unusual hours, you may want to inform your client in advance so that they know when to contact you. If you want to manage your client's expectations about the hours you'll be available and when you'll be available, you could use your email signature or out-of-office autoresponder. Emailing outside of normal business hours is also polite so they know you don't expect a response at 2 am!
Take on your least favorite writing project or job first
It's almost certain that everyone has at least one assignment that they dread doing. You put off the job and postpone it, again and again, giving excuse after excuse for not doing it.
There is a possibility that you are not feeling inspired to write a certain piece of content. Others may be worried about how to handle that awkward client. There is only one piece of advice you should follow in this situation, and it may not be popular: suck it up and do it. Don't delay. Get it done before anything else. Get it done before you go for your morning (or afternoon) coffee. You can't ignore that job forever, and the longer you ignore it, the more stress and anxiety it will cause you in the long run.
When you deal with the unpleasant jobs first, you won't have them hanging over your head, interfering with your productivity, and holding you back. If you do it, more often than not you will think "It wasn't so bad. There was nothing to worry about.”
Begin the week on a positive note
Since you are a freelance writer, you probably set your own schedule. If your week is just starting, we recommend kicking it off with a bang. No, that doesn't mean you have to run a marathon or eat homemade granola for breakfast (though if that's your thing, go for it!). This meeting is called the Monday morning meeting, but it can take place at any time of the week. You must work smarter and more strategically, establishing your weekly goals, and prioritizing your tasks so that you meet your deadlines without stress.
Taking on the challenge of succeeding as a freelance writer is no different from starting your own business. Freelance writing can be lucrative when done correctly. As you take your freelance writing career to the next level, remember the above tips.
Check back here to learn more about getting started as a freelancer and how to protect yourself from fraud.