Are you forever trying to find the best way to boost work productivity as a freelance writer?
As a creative entrepreneur, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed with the many ways you can tackle your workday.
You’ve read all the books. You’ve downloaded free how-to guides. You’ve listened to productivity podcasts.
We’ve all been at our wit’s end at some point trying to figure out just what the ideal balance looks like.
Try as you might, there isn’t one formula, tip, or trick that will help you go from having a somewhat productive day to star productivity status. It’s rather a collection of ideas and techniques that you apply over time. You keep what works and ditch what doesn’t.
In the event you still haven’t found the ideal combination of work productivity tips, I’ve got you covered.
Check out these experts’ tips on work productivity to help you create your ideal work schedule daily.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
Time Block Like a Pro
“I know that it can be easy to get distracted working from home. I’ve found blocking off chunks of time helps. For instance, commit to spending half an hour on research, writing an outline, sourcing accompanying photos, writing captions, etc. Also, sometimes something as simple as setting up a reward system can work. I will tell myself that I have to write for 45 minutes and then I can take a break and scroll social media or go get the mail, etc. Sometimes, I set up “appointments” on Outlook which contain smaller tasks I need to complete related to an article I’m writing. In this way, I get a reminder that something needs to be done. A lot of this is just mental tricks that force you into sticking to a schedule.”
– Kyra Mancine, founder of Copy by Kyra
Write Down Ideas ASAP
“Jot down ideas whenever and wherever I have them. Unfortunately, I get my best ideas in the shower.”
– Laaleen Sukhera, copywriter and brand strategist
Walk it Out
“I find one of the best ways to maintain work productivity is to get out for a walk. Rather than just sitting at a desk all day (particularly while we’re all stuck at home), I find that a walk helps me to recharge and makes me more productive in the long run.”
– Karen Bright, founder of Bright Words
Discover Your Work Cycles
“I find my energy cycles throughout the day. Early mornings and early evenings are high productivity, so I work away. Mid-afternoons and late evenings are low productivity, so bring on the distractions. If you surf your own energy waves, you’ll find it less stressful to manage your productivity and your distractions. Chances are, you’ll probably sleep better at night than if you fight your own nature during the day.”
– David Leonhardt, owner of The Happy Guy Writing Services
Work When Pets Sleep
“I dedicate one day to personal errands, laundry, shopping, etc. That allows me time to get that done without feeling guilty. If I have things done and the day is open for work I: 1) set a timer for 90 minutes, then take a 10-15 minute break. 2) Have a list of TO-DOs so I know what takes top priority and work from there. 3) Put my phone on DO NOT DISTURB so along with the timer I can concentrate on the project at hand without worry of missing something. 4) Keep Post-it notes nearby to jot down ideas that come to mind to investigate later. That allows the ongoing juices to flow without interruption. 5) Pick a time when my cats are sleeping and won’t interrupt me. Whether I get up at 5 am and work or work mid-afternoon, I choose a good time when the cats are settled so I can work without issue. I also keep treats nearby so I can reward them when they are good so they get conditioned to doing things my way — which is tricky with cats!”
– Linda A. Hamilton, founder of Hamilton Writing Services
Become a Fan of Lists
“Lists. Lists. Lists. If I don’t have a priority list, my brain feels jumbled and I can’t focus on one thing. When it’s possible, I assign myself one client or topic a day so that I can put all of my focus into one area or subject. However… if I’m struggling, I will give myself permission to jump to another topic. I can usually tell how things are going to go right away. If I get off to an inspired start, I’ll keep going. If I am hitting roadblock after mental roadblock, I’ll pull back. Take a break. Clear my head. Try again. If it’s still tough, today is not the day for this topic and I move on down the list. So, of course, the other key is to avoid procrastination. Try to avoid last-minute pressure when possible… though, I know… not always possible.”
– Holly Berecz, freelance writer
“Three lists of upcoming assignments visible on the whiteboard: for the month, week and day. 2. Stop work 30 minutes before the day is done to make the next day’s list. 3. Switch off social during the day — I use the Freedom app — so you can do deep work. 4. Maintain a regular schedule with time off for rest.”
– Poornima Apte, freelance B2B technology writer
Protect Your Schedule
“I work backward from my deadlines and schedule my projects accordingly, building in extra time if possible. I also dedicate specific hours to work each day and stick to that while still allowing for some flexibility. I avoid scheduling outside appointments in the middle of the day, for example.”
– Amy J. Born, B2B and B2C freelance writer
Get it Over With
“I start my day by doing the task I like the least. I also make a list of what I need to get done and allocate how much time I am going to spend on it.”
– Kristine Thomas, writer and editor
Embrace Weird Productivity Ideas
“I’ve found that having a list (even in a small piece of paper) in front of you, helps keep the mind from going all over the place, worrying about the other headlines. It allows me to stay focused on one task and avoid worrying about the others lined up. Sometimes (this is weird) I have Facebook open on another screen while writing. This keeps me from having to constantly think about checking my phone to see if someone left a chat or a new notification arrived. At least, with it already open, my mind has one less thing to worry about and allows me more space to focus on the task at hand.”
– Irwin Lagman, Head of Content at Disruption Media Pro
Keep Goals Front of Mind
” I keep a list of ten goals that I write EVERY SINGLE DAY to remind me of where I want to end up in my writing career as well as other areas of my life. I give myself mini goals/rewards, such as “If you get two chapters written today, you get Starbucks!” (Self-bribery, I know!). I also have a Spotify music playlist that I listen specifically for when I’m writing that inspires me.”
– Regina Felty, author
Stay Out of the Inbox
“I always keep my email inbox closed to avoid distractions popping up while I’m writing. I plan in advance which days I’ll work on which writing projects. And I always ensure I have access to all relevant Google docs ahead of time so I don’t go to start a project then get stopped in my tracks.”
– Afton Brazzoni, founder of Scribe National
“Consistency is key. Even if you churn out 50 mediocre pieces of content, the next one will be better. And while taking your time with pieces can make them better, being a perfectionist keeps you from writing. So recalibrate those expectations and keep putting out content.”
– Antony Terence, SEO content copywriter
Pressure Yourself With Timers
“I set a timer for 20 minutes then take a five-minute break. I know I keep my focus for that long and I actually work faster because I’ll want to wrap things up before the timer goes off.”
– Christina Friend-Johnston, strategic communications specialist at ChristinaFriendJohnston.com
Work Productivity Comes Down to Hacking Your Brain
What this all boils down to is one thing: Do what works best for you.
All of the above freelancers have founds ways to bolster their work productivity. Sure, it came through trial and error. But that’s how most great things are discovered. Try one or try all of the work productivity tips to see how it helps your freelance writing schedule. Trying it once doesn’t cut it, either. Give it a solid trial run before nixing it as an opportunity to improve your workflows. Bad habits can really bog down your writing cycles, so what does it hurt to give any of these a try? Even if they’re completely out of your comfort zone or liking.
Because if you want tomorrow to look different and more productive, you have to DO the work to make that happen.
Here’s to a more productive and happy writing ritual!
Where do you struggle with productivity in your business? Let’s discuss in the comments below!