Although most people envision freelance writers as a bunch that gets up whenever they please, sits in front of their computer with a hot cup of coffee, works for a few hours, and then goes out and enjoys life, it couldn’t be further from the facts. Freelance writers tend to be tied to the desk just as often as their full-time counterparts – if not more!
Writing at home is an invitation to procrastination, distractions, and writer's block – which is why successful freelance writers have a go-to set of productivity hacks to keep the motivation high and the words flowing.
The following list contains 10 essential productivity tips every freelance writer can use. Check it out!
Remove all the distractions
Turn off your phone, block your email notifications, and focus on the job at hand. Or, change your environment: Make sure that your work space is neat and tidy, and free of any distractions that might hinder your productivity.
Many writers even go so far as to get a simple computer with nothing but a text editor on it. This keeps the internet, and all its distractions, at bay.
Research first, write later
This bit of advice goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Instead of going back and forth between your word-processing app and your internet browser – while losing valuable time in the process – gather all the research data first, paste it into a single document, along with all the links, and then proceed to create your article or blog post.
Focus on a single task
Although it may seem you’re getting a lot more done by answering your email, posting the link on Facebook for your new article, and finishing the conclusion for your next, all at the same time, it’s just an illusion. In reality, you would get all of that done more quickly if you were to focus on one job and stick with it until you can check it off your list.
Jumping back forth and forth between tasks, takes you more time to get into the right state of mind for each one – not to mention the amount of ideas that get lost in the shuffle!
Find the most productive way to work and stick with it
The tricky thing about this one is that there is no standard formula you can apply to your work flow, because everybody functions a little bit differently.
Some freelance writers prefer to get up early in the morning and get everything done by afternoon. Others prefer to work during the night, when there are less distractions.
Then there is the choice between writing in short bursts and taking short breaks, or immersing yourself in it, and working for hours on end until you have completed every single article. It’s up to you to find the method which suits your work habits best.
Take a break
Regardless of how much work you may have on a particular day, remember to take a break every once in a while. And make sure that in addition to those short ones, there is a long one in there somewhere, during which you will take a walk, go out for your favorite meal, or watch a movie. These long breaks will recharge your batteries so you can take on another batch of articles.
Also, avoid squeezing in too much work into a single day, because you will likely end up burned out for the rest of the week!
Check out productivity blogs and books
You can learn from your own mistakes, or you can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the usual pitfalls of freelance writing, by checking out blogs and literature which are dedicated to increasing productivity. Sure, the tips we have provided for you in this article are great, but there is plenty more you can learn by finding advice in different places. That way, you are more likely to figure out the most effective method.
Save editing and proofreading for last
Instead of proofreading and editing each article before moving onto the next the one, try a different approach. Do all of your writing first, and leave proofreading for later, or better yet, tomorrow. Not only will you be able to view your work with a fresh pair of eyes, but you will make the most out of that flow of ideas and words which occurs when you are deeply submerged in writing. That’s when you are at your most productive, so make the most of it.
Use productivity tools
While modern technology is one of the largest sources of distraction for freelance writers, you can use it to your advantage by relying on apps and tools designed to boost your productivity. Applications like Evernote can be used to capture your ideas no matter where you are. OmmWriter can provide you with a pleasant, distraction-free environment and word processing, while Grammarly can be used to proofread your texts and cut down on the amount of time you’ll spend editing and proofreading your documents.
Another way of maintaining your productivity is to set goals for yourself. This can be the number of words you will write each day, or articles over a certain period of time. This creates a routine for you, which makes you more disciplined, and more likely to complete your goal, even during those days when you are not feeling particularly creative or productive.
Leave your work behind
Make it a point not to end your day with work. Always make sure to have routine that allows you to wrap up at some point and disconnect from it all until the next day. Just like you would leave the office, you need to abandon anything that has to do with work, which may seem funny seeing as you are working from home. Clear your mind and take a well-deserved rest before you tackle on new challenges tomorrow. Also, having a social life never hurt anybody, so set aside some time for your friends and family.
Use these tips and tricks to make the most out of your skills and the time you invest into work each day. Before you know it, your productivity, along with your income, will shoot though the roof.
This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.