Or: How to Work (and Play) Stress-Free Every Day…
Certain realities kick in after the initial stages of making regular money from freelance writing start to wane.
Suddenly, you’ve got everything you worked so hard for: You’re making your living as a freelance writer online. Perhaps you’ve even quit your day job and are supporting yourself full-time with your writing.
That’s great. But what now?
Part of being a successful freelance writer online means you need to think about exactly when you’re going to complete the work you’ve now got coming in. It means creating your own schedule.
When will you plan and draft those blog posts? When will you respond to emails from clients? When will you market your freelance writing business and pitch for more work so that the ink well never runs dry?
These are all great questions to find answers to in your own way, but be warned…
If you’re not careful, that pesky mind of yours will play all sorts of tricks that can be detrimental to whether you continue to see success as a freelancer or not. If you’ve experienced one (or both) of the following, you may need to keep a check on things…
Does your mind ever tell you:
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- You should be working whenever you’re having lunch/going for a walk/reading a book?
- You should have lunch/go for a walk/read a book whenever you’re working?
My mind does this to me all the time, kind of oscillating between the two throughout the day. It’s this that most often causes me to stress out about my freelance writing work day.
It seems the more layers of complexity that life continues to pile on, the more I struggle to peel away those layers and strip everything back. But peel I’ll continue to do, and strip, I… uh, will also.
The best way I’ve found to overcome both of these stress and/or inactivity inducing thoughts is to simplify my working life. If you want to simplify the tasks and processes relating to your own freelance writing business, here are some ideas…
How to simplify your freelance writing work day:
- Delete yourself from all but highly useful email newsletters. (So not mine then, obviously!)
Go through all those unopened emails in your inbox and if you scan over the content without clicking a link or reading any in their entirety, hit the unsubscribe button at the bottom.
- When you focus on a task, focus on it completely.
This means both in terms of not having multiple browsers open or checking your emails halfway through, and in terms of focusing mentally so you don’t let your mind wander. You may find you can only work like this for an hour or 90 minutes before you have to take a break. That’s fine.
- For the love of all things holy, when you do take a break, take a break.
Do not think about anything related to work. I know that’s easier said than done, but after a while you’ll get used to it. Don’t add things to your mental to-do list, don’t read a book on marketing, don’t look at your work emails. Taking a complete break is almost as important as the “focus on the task” part above.
- With longer projects, give yourself time limits instead of whole tasks to complete.
Instead of giving yourself a task such as: “Write two chapters of book,” give yourself a set amount of time to focus on it, transforming the task into: “Spend 90 minutes writing book.” I know everybody works differently, but this way around really works for me. (You can read more about setting tasks, and learn why your to-do list isn’t working for you here: Do You Need a To-Do List?)
The reason I’ve been concerned about this type of thing lately is because I’m working on my freelance writing Udemy course, which is turning out to be an astonishingly time-consuming project! I know it will be worth it when like-minded souls can access it to learn how to earn a living writing online like I did – it’s just proving difficult to fit the project in around all my other freelance writing work is all.
Difficult, but not impossible.
That’s why I’ve come up with the above processes, to help streamline things a bit. Please (please!) help me out if you have any other tips – just add your own ways to simplify your freelance writing work day into the comments section below.