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Note from Lisa: Looking for some productivity hacks as a busy freelance writing mom? Poovanesh Pather shares some great ones in this guest post!
Take it away Poovanesh…
As a freelancer mom who works from home, it’s so easy to be distracted by kids wanting a cuddle, laundry beckoning or a slice of that divine chocolate cake.
The battle to cope with cold pitching, deadlines and negotiating with clients is stressful and overwhelming. You need to develop a skill set to maximize your productivity.
This post gives you 5 simple productivity hacks to fight the overwhelm that many freelance moms feel.
1. Establish a Daily Writing Habit
What do Stephen King, Jeff Goins and Mark Twain have in common?
A daily writing habit.
Stephen King strives for 6 pages a day while Jeff Goins has a minimum goal of 500 words a day.
So why not copy these superstar writers and develop your own writing habit by committing to a:
- Daily writing time
- Word count goal
You could have a daily writing goal like this:
At 8 am every day, I will write 500 words.
A daily writing habit is a genius way to improve both your writing speed and quality. This allows you to take on more work and in turn, increase your monthly income.
2. Plan Your Tasks with Trello
Trello is an amazing task management system task made up of multiple boards. Check out this YouTube video on the basics of Trello:
Trello will help you chunk your work flow into bite sized pieces and work on a small section at a time making you more efficient.
How to use Trello as a freelancer
- Have a board for each client
- Have multiple cards on this board with all the details about the task for the client
Take a look at my Trello board for this post.
Everything about this task appears on my Trello board. Invest time and effort in this step to speed up completion of the tasks. As I completed each card, I ticked off the checklist and simply dragged and dropped to the section headed ‘DONE’.
If you find Trello daunting, sign up for this free Trello 5 day course here.
3. Batch Your To-Do List
The pace of life is so fast today that you may find yourself multitasking to tick off all the items on your to-do list.
But research is clear that switching from one task to another actually lessens your productivity by 40%.
Batching is a simple task management system where you group tasks that demand the same skill set for a fixed time.
In effect, you’re training your brain to function at an optimum level on a specific task.
Once you’ve embraced batching, you will find that you are able to accomplish much more in a shorter period of time.
The Benefits of Batching
The repetitive nature of task batching enables you to enter into a state where you:
- Hyperfocus on the task on hand
- Increase your productivity level
- Perform the task competently
- Complete tasks efficiently
How to Batch as a Freelance Writer
Productivity tasks like batching do need a bit of set up time from you. But this time is well worth it!
Start by compiling a master list of daily tasks. Your daily to-do list may look like this:
- Find new leads to pitch
- Scan job boards
- Write pitches
- Write cover letters
- Update your portfolio
- Follow up on applications
- Check on payments
That is a mind boggling list. But if you want to earn a living as a freelancer, you have to devise a system to allow you to do the gazillion tasks as quickly as possible.
Once you have your master list of tasks, group similar tasks and allocate a set time per day.
10 -12am identifying content marketing agencies to cold pitch
2 – 4pm research for articles due next week
You can even have themed days like Pitching Mondays, Marketing Tuesdays, Writing Wednesdays and so on.
Check out Anna’s post on task batching and learn how to use a spreadsheet to do it.
4. Use the Pomodoro Technique
This is a simple time management system that allows you to work with the time you have. With this method, the work flow is broken up into 25 minute sections.
At the end of each pomodoro, take a short break. Do an unrelated activity like a walk in the garden, a few stretches or drink a glass of water. After 4 pomodoros, take a 20 – 30 minute break.
This process works best if you’ve planned your task before actually writing. That means you’ve actually already primed your brain to focus on the particular task.
The most important advantage of the Pomodoro Technique is that it inspires a good work ethic. Other advantages are that it:
- Speeds up your workflow
- Encourages accountability
- Reduces overwhelm
- Lessens stress
Embracing the Pomodoro Technique as a freelance writer allows you to boost your income by securing more jobs.
5. Try the Power Hour
The power hour productivity hack is time that you set aside daily to do a task that requires concentration.
Having your power hour at the same time every day tricks your brain into getting to work super fast. It’s like giving your productivity a wellness shot.
The power hour allows you to:
- Channel your energy to hyperfocus on a selected task
- Speeds up task completion
How to Set Up Your Power Hour for Success
In order for a power hour to work, you need to make it a habit. Here’s what you can do to succeed with this productivity hack:
- Set a goal to complete during your power hour.
- Chunk the goal into easy to complete steps.
- Divide your power hour into 2 periods of 25 minutes each in keeping with The Pomodoro Technique.
- Set a timer and start working.
- Stop work at the end of 25 minutes whether you are done or not.
- Take a walk in the garden or have a glass of water or do a few stretches. Choose any activity that is unrelated to the work you were busy with.
- After your quick break, complete the next 25 minutes in the same way.
Get More Done with These Productivity Hacks
So there you have it. 5 easy tips to supercharge your productivity and income. As a busy freelancing mom, these five productivity hacks will help you grow your business in less time.
For more help with productivity, check out the following posts:
20 Ways to Boost Your Productivity as a WAHM
How to Use Flexible Routine Blocks to Increase Your Productivity
How to Write Faster: 12 Unusual Productivity Hacks by Henekke Duistermaat
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