Balancing private clients, revenue share sites and your own blogs is difficult. It’s not impossible, but you can start to wonder where you have the hours in the day.
On top of this, as a writer you likely want to network with others, get the housework done, raise a family and have a life for yourself. There are all these “gurus” telling you that it is possible, but they just don’t give away the real tricks.
One of the real tricks is managing your time. With good time management, you can get everything you want done in the day. There are enough hours. You become a more productive writer and soon find that you can take on more work and have a better life.
Over the years, I’ve picked up more time management tips. It’s time to share them with you.
Find Your Most Productive Horus and Use Them
When are you at your most productive? Some people find they work better into the night while others prefer to get up earlier in the day. It can change over time, too.
I used to be most productive through the night. I’d pull all-nighters at university not because I had to but because I worked better then. There were fewer distractions. Since having a family, while through the night is still highly productive for me, I find getting up earlier is just as good. Now I can get up at 5am and have most of my private client work finished before anyone else is even awake.
Find your most productive hours. Reserve them for your writing. That way, you can spend your unproductive hours (mine is after picking my daughter up from nursery) doing things that you want instead of worrying about trying to write.
Use Those 5 Minute Slots
There will be times that you get five minutes here and there to get something done. Too many writers waste them on checking Facebook or reading reports.
Use them more productively to make the most of your time. I can get a rough draft of a blog post written within five minutes (I have a fast typing speed) or I’ll get some of the washing up done. Other times I’ll use the five minutes to find images for work or to reply to a couple of emails that have been left unanswered.
Don’t procrastinate because you don’t think you can get something done. There are high chances that you can!
Switch Off the Distractions
Facebook dings annoy me so much, I can’t even describe it. I always turn off Facebook and put my phone on silent before I start writing. I have learned that if I’m not on Facebook, people don’t try to distract me throughout the day so I can actually get on with work.
Switch off the distractions. There are apps available to turn your computer into just a blank page. That way, you can write with nothing else going on in the background.
Need to avoid the noisy alerts from your phone or tablet? Put them on silent or turn them off completely.
When it comes to home distractions, work during the hours no-one else is in or shut yourself in a different room and tell people you’re not available. With a small daughter, I plan my writing week around when she is at nursery. The days she’s in the house are the days I don’t get much work done, but I don’t plan on it. I spend the time with my little distraction.
Take a Break Now and Then
Image from Amazon
It can seem unproductive but taking a break is one of the best time management tips to follow. Taking a break will help you avoid procrastination. You put everything you want to do or start straying to do to during those minutes that you take off.
Try to get out of your office chair as much as possible during these breaks. I take a 5-10 minute break every hour. These are my minutes to get the housework done. I’ll also take a 20 minute break for lunch and avoid the computer during this time. It gets me away from work and thinking about something else.
It’s worth timing your breaks. Make sure you get straight back to work as soon as your break is over. Some writers set timers for both their working blocks and their breaks to make sure they stick to strict schedules.
Track Your Writing Time
How much time do you actually spend writing? Pull up an Excel spreadsheet and start tracking your writing time. Take a note of when you start, how long you write for and whenever you take a break mid-session. Make a note of how long the piece is and whether it’s a difficult topic.
Tracking your writing time will give you a better idea of whether you can speed up your writing process. It will show you exactly where you’re spending your hours.
It’s also worth tracking what you do with the other hours in your writing day. How much of it is spent purely researching or talking to clients? How much of it is unbilled vs. billed?
Once you have an idea, you can start making changes to make the most of your time.
Hopefully my time management tips will help you get into your groove. You do have enough hours in the day. It’s all about using them productively, so you get everything completed.
Did you find this post helpful? Feel free to share it with your writer friends to help them manage their time better.
I'm a full time freelance writer, Weight Watchers leader and mummy. I love writing about all things entertainment and lifestyle. Making residual income has become a passion; one that I'm working really hard at making a great reality.