I am busy! I currently have a full time job, a part-time job (my passion of writing), and am setting up a business to allow me to write and train others in writing full time (when I leave my job at the end of the month). Meanwhile, I am desperately trying to find time to write for my current customers who will be the mainstay of my business when I go full-time as a freelancer in March. I am also trying to spend some time with my husband who is usually going to bed alone, muttering “I’m a computer widow”, while I continue to tap away on the keyboard.
Yep, life is extremely busy for me at the moment and that got me thinking about how I manage my time as a freelancer. I can’t just assume all the work is just going to happen (no, I don’t own a magic wand that I can wave and just have the work done in an instant, nor does my godmother have fairy powers, and no matter how often I rub that lamp, no genie has yet appeared), so I have to figure out ways to manage my time and make time for the important things.
I’ve figured out a few tricks that might help you if you have time management issues too.
Make and keep a list of your current tasks. Prioritise each task according to its importance. How you figure out what is important is whole other blog, but it’s up to you. Figure out your priorities. Include things on the list like spending time with the important people in your life (socialising activities), time out for yourself (and exercise), and the work and other (housecleaning) tasks you have to do on a regular basis. Then prioritise your list – for me, housecleaning ALWAYS comes last!
Don’t plan every minute of the day, but allocate tasks to each day in a kind of daily to do list. Don’t think you can work every single minute – it just won’t happen, so allocate a reasonable amount of work you can achieve in the time you have available that day. If you know you are going out for a lunch (that will take up most of the afternoon as you chat), don’t plan 10 hours of writing on that day. You may find it helpful to allocate tasks at the start of the week for the whole week and then update daily.
Figure out your own body clock and when you are most productive. Plan to get most of your work done at those times. Plan tasks that are less important or less urgent in the times you are less active. For me, I work best in the afternoons (or at least after 10am when my brain has really had time to wake up), so I try to write then. That’s when my creative juices are really flowing. I usually check my emails early in the morning and plan my day, so I can get my brain thinking about the writing I have to do, as a running commentary in the back of my head, while I do the more mundane tasks of administration. Then I work actively from 10am until about 10pm* with a few breaks for lunch, dinner and relaxation. (*at the moment, but hopefully it will be more like 7pm in the near future).
Working when my brain is most active means that I can achieve a lot more writing in the time. When I try to write when I am too tired, I find the words don’t make much sense and I can spend an hour trying to find the right phrase for a sentence. When I am full of energy, the words just flow from my brain to my fingers and onto the page. And yes, I wrote this blog after 10am!
Hope this helps you find time to enter submissions for all those lovely jobs Dawn keeps posting!