The Freelance Writer’s Guide To Better Time Management

Time. There just isn’t enough of it. Ask any freelance content writer what their biggest concern happens to be at any given moment, and unless they are right in the middle of some other malady, they will tell you that there are not enough hours in the day to do what they need to do.

The following content, written under the stress of submitting it on time, is dedicated to all freelance content writers who know what it feels like to be ‘Out Of Time’ yet still turn in quality content on a regular basis. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the path of my career. I may have learned them the hard way, but it makes it that much sweeter knowing that someone else won’t have to.

The One/Two Punch Time Eater

The biggest one/two punch that slows us down and helps us to lose track of time is social media and email. I’ve set my ticker to beep at me every 3 hours and I dedicate 15 minutes to take care of both.

Before I did that, I was checking my email 3-4 times every hour. If there was a social email in it, I would go straight to the website to deal with that. Once I started adhering to the new 3-hour schedule, my productivity increased dramatically. I might go every 4 hours just to see what happens.

Tools To Help You Further

Sometimes setting limits may not be enough when it comes to the topic of social media and email. Don’t worry though as there are tools that are designed to help you take care of it.

Google Mail Pop-up: Gmail gives you a pop-up that you can designate to appear anywhere on your screen. It shows regardless of what tab or screen you are in at the moment. This way you get to pick to stop and deal with it or to let it fade back into the background to deal with later. If you do not use Google for your email client, you may still be able to utilize something just like it.

HootSuite: HootSuite is, without a doubt, my favorite time saving tool. The last thing that I do every night before bedtime is to post to my social media websites such as FaceBook, Twitter, and especially LinkedIn. Once I have written what I want to post, I schedule it to hit all 3 accounts the first thing the next morning, even though I’m still snug in bed.

The Office Time Planner

I have worked many jobs in my life, but until I seriously dedicated my life to freelance writing, I never had to actually plan my day down to the details. Trust me, if you don’t plan your day, you may find yourself running around in circles by the end of it. Notifications can only go so far to make you move, and scratch that item off your to-do list, but you will have to decide when to do what before which deadline.

Work Like The Rest Of The Planet

Speaking of handling deadlines, I have not tried this yet because I am afraid that if I do, my business will come crumbling down. However, my wife thinks it is a wonderful idea to set and work office hours. Trying to work 9 to 5 might be too much for me to handle. However, I may be able to work 5 to 9. Yeah, 5 am to about 9 pm just might give me enough time to do everything.

The point is, set office hours and adhere to the schedule like your life depends upon it. You (and your spouse) will be happier if you do.

Work Smarter

We, as time-challenged freelance content writers, have to be extremely careful about what jobs we accept and what jobs we need to let pass. I used to grab everything that came across my desk. Now, I gauge how much time it will take, what it pays and compare that number to what I already have in the works minus how much time I don’t have to work on it.

This simple, yet effective formula was easy to set up in both Excel and Formula in Open Office. I type in the projected numbers and see what will pay the most in the long haul. Of course, sometimes I just go on instinct – which I usually regret.

Leave It At The Beep

I never realized how much my phone rings until I stopped answering it in order to save time. I am not overly anxious to give my money to a survey taker, but if you think about it, every time we answer the phone, we may as well light a two-dollar bill on fire.

Now, if you need to speak to me, your VM message had better be amazingly convincing. I am listening (sort of), and if it’s important enough, I will pick it up before you hang it up. If you do call though, please have the common courtesy to leave a message instead of asking me to please pick up. It’s not going to happen.

Technology Saves Time And Makes Money

That said, if you are pressed for time and are fighting to gain back every minute lost, invest in technology. For every device that you have tied to your freelance account, you can add twenty minutes back into the schedule.

If I’m enjoying my morning constitutional, I’m also answering my emails. If I walk down to the corner for an errand, or just to get away from the computer for a minute, you can bet I’m checking on my social media contacts. Every little minute counts particularly in a the peak season, so let technology help you out.

Final Thought

There is really only one way to handle the problem of time. Don’t. When you have done everything that you can think of and a few things that you can’t think of in order to control time and swing it back into your favor, it is time to stop worrying about time. If it is out of your control, stop stressing over it and just do what you can do. Do no more and no less.