Overwhelmed, you decided to check your Facebook account and RSS feeds for new updates. You told yourself it will only take a couple of minutes before you get back on track.
But minutes became hours and for the nth time, your writing productivity nosedived and met it’s painful death.
Does this story sounds familiar?
With all forms of distractions flying in every corner, it’s easy to be outsmarted by that evil voice in your head–the one who loves to delay tasks and procrastinate all day. It could be your body’s way of reminding you to unwind and de-stress every couple of hours. But if you’re a freelance writer, succumbing to senseless time-wasters can harm your business–and even your sanity.
So how do you deal with temptations and get things done?
Do you constantly find yourself struggling to put words on the blank screen?
Are you having a hard time establishing good writing habits and muster self-discipline whenever you need it?
Time is money and for writers who make a living out of words, effective time management is one of the keys to success. To help you out, I’ve searched for the best productivity tips from some of the most famous online writers alive today. Here are the results for your own enjoyment:
Carol Tice: “One day, one client.”
Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing is one of the most proficient freelance writers I look up to. So it comes with no explanation that I follow every single advice she gives on her blog. She’s been in the business for years now so if you want proven productivity tips, you better stick to what she says.
For Carol, dedicating a day for only one specific task is more efficient than sprinkling random assignments all throughout the week. I tried to follow her advice and it works like a charm–I feel more organized and experience a sense of completion at the end of each day. The thrilling emotion will then motivate you to accomplish more for the following day and boost your writing productivity in the process.
Bamidele Onibalusi: “Don’t Multitask”
I admit this is a no-brainer as you won’t get anything done if you focus on too many responsibilities at the same time. But multitasking is also about overcoming temptation. And this temptation may come in the form of social media, family duties and a host of other productivity-killers who can strike you any time of the day.
The solution? Learn how to let go and focus on the current task at hand.
Expert blogger Oni has this to say:
“The more focused you are on a task, the easier it is to get it done and work on other tasks, but the moment you start working on 2 or 3 things at the same time, you find it difficult to get things done, and you also find it easier to procrastinate.”
Enlightening words from the master blogger himself!
John Soares: “Write Faster”
With a tagline “Work Less, Earn More, Live More”, you can easily assume that Productive Writers is all about using your writing time well. True enough, it’s founder, John Soares, is a freelance writer who lives and breathes “writing productivity” since ’94.
And his first step for getting more things done? Write FASTER.
On one of his articles, John gave out 12 tips on how to improve your writing speed. I cringed when he included the “touch-type” method in his list although that works for most writers. It’s just that I’m not used to it and when I attempted to change my typing style, I only got tired fingers as a consolation.
On a lighter note, the best takeaways I got from John is the importance of writing outlines, doing enough research, getting enough sleep and avoiding perfectionism in revving up one’s writing speed.
Jeff Goins: “Stay on top of your inbox”
Checking your emails too many times a day can probably give you a clear inbox but in terms of productivity, e-mails are notorious time-killers. So if you always get that urgent need to check your inbox, learn self-control and read Jeff Goin’s productivity tips.
Jeff is one of my new favorites but that doesn’t mean I don’t take his advice seriously. In fact, I’m already using the “Do it, Delegate, Defer, Delete, File” approach to get my inbox zero everyday. Read his advice and you’ll find some terrific insights and few reminders on good email etiquette to boot.
Lexi Rodrigo: “Use Interruptions to Your Advantage”
This is especially true when you have small kids competing for your attention 24/7. So if you decided to work from home to have more time with your kids, you’ll surely love Lexi Rodrigo‘s advice on how to juggle freelancing with your parental obligations.
The idea of wearing different hats all at once can be daunting for any parent but if you set your expectations beforehand, you’ll always stay on target.
Biggest takeaway? Instead of letting small interruptions stress you out, why not focus on how to complete more tasks within a shorter time frame–taking every interruption as a time to de-stress yourself.
Working as a freelance writer holds with it few challenges in time management. But with the right strategies and a healthy mindset, you can get more things done without falling into the traps of homebound laziness.
There’s no one-size-fits-all technique that can guarantee writers of a more productive and successful writing career.
In your case, what strategies have helped you overcome procrastination all these years? What tips help you accomplish more in less time?