One of the amazing benefits of being a freelance writer is the joy of working from home. When the dog’s giving you the ‘I want a walk’ eyes you can down tools and take to the forest. I can fit in gym sesssions wherever I want, and being a gardener I can nip to clients here and there without having to worry about sticking to office hours. I don’t have the annoyance of taking an annual leave day just to wait for a parcel delivery, and I can visit the bank whenever I want. However, a certain degree of self discipline is needed for any freelance writer, and whatever your effective writing method, you do need one.
It’s all too easy to become distracted at home, whether it’s cleaning, making yet another cup of tea, or spending hours looking through tweets and emails. I find myself pottering down the garden to visit the hens A LOT. And weeding. I put out one little weed and then an hour later I’m up to my armpits in soil having decided to dig out the compost bin. Being distracted is very easy if you don’t have a time management plan for working at home. Meanwhile, without a full load I find myself putting jobs off, when in fact, if I got them finished I could use the spare time to search for more clients, and greater earnings.
Creating your perfect schedule is a personal thing. I tend to write best in the early afternoon, or late evenings…hence I’m often up to 1 or 2am tapping away at the keyboard. Knowing these peak times is vital to ensure maxiumum efficiency and allow for other activities to take place during times when perhaps writing isn’t as efficient. I recently started using the “50 minute focus” technique as explained on the Elance blog for client work, and it suits me down to the ground. Rather than putting work off for a few hours, or even a few days, I can get pieces finished and yet still have time to write more should I wish. Meanwhile, whilst some like to work a five day week and enjoy writing free weekends, I prefer to spread the work over seven days, having more me time throughout the week. It also allows me the option to a write a little more one day if I have a big social event the following one.
So, whether working for a few big clients, or a huge portfolio of smaller ones, time management is vital for freelance writers who want to maxmise their creative potential and future income. I’ve found my perfect way, what’s yours?