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Productivity is essential when you work at home with kids. You want to work as much as you can on your business, while still enjoying time with your family.
There are times when it seems impossible to get it all done.
I can’t always get to my computer and write when I’d like to. It’s not always possible for me to pull out my phone and take notes.
But, even when I feel like I can’t do anything worthwhile to grow my business, I can think.
And I’ve discovered the power behind think time.
Think time can help you make progress in your freelance writing business.
Whenever you have some time where you don’t need to focus completely on the task at hand, you can purposefully train your thoughts towards a piece you need to write.
Then, when you sit down to work, you will already be ready. You’ll have much of the planning done. So when you write, you will write faster!
Want even more productivity tips? Check out the 2020 Ultimate Productivity Bundle!
Here’s a step by step guide to using think time to boost your freelance productivity.
1. Check the Content Calendar
Have some time in mind that’ll be perfect to let your thoughts wander towards your writing?
This could be while you’re cooking dinner, doing chores, or shopping.
Whenever it is, take a couple of minutes to review your content calendar. Look at your assignments that are due. Review the topics that you’re writing about on your blog, or for clients.
If you have one, browse your headline idea list during this time as well. Your goal is to quickly scan the topics you need to write about.
2. Pick a Focus Area
Now, you can’t focus on all of those topics at once. If you try, think time won’t work. Your mind will jump from one topic to another, and you won’t get much deep thought for any of them.
Then when you sit down to write, you’ll have a cluster of thoughts to try to untangle.
No, it’s much better to pick one.
Pick one topic from your list to think about. Maybe it’s the post you need to write next. Or one that is worrying you, since you aren’t quite sure how to make it happen.
Either way, pick one. Then you can use this topic for the rest of the process.
3. Decide What You Need
What do you need to think about for this topic? Is your goal to create your post outline? Or come up with clickable headline ideas?
Do you need to brainstorm post ideas to send your client? Or plan out a script for an upcoming live on the topic?
You can use think time for many aspects of your business, so decide what will be most beneficial at this time, so you can help your brain stay on target.
Here are some other ideas for things you can use think time for:
- Thinking through content for a course
- Drafting a pitch
- Brainstorming companies to cold pitch
- Planning your images to go with the post
- Brainstorming new topics to write about
- Planning how to word social media posts
- Thinking through your intro or conclusion
- Remembering other posts you’ve written that you could link to
Sometimes, you may combine some of these during your think time. For instance, once you think about your outline, you may find better headline ideas popping into your head.
You never know exactly where think time will take you, so keep an open mind as you let your thoughts about the topic wander.
4. Say the Title/Topic Out Loud
You want to integrate as many of your senses as possible, to help your brain focus on this topic. Using more senses helps you better remember what you do.
So even if you aren’t normally an auditory learning, take the time to say the topic (or your headline) out loud. Listen to yourself say it.
There’s power in hearing instead of just reading.
Do it again for good measure. Then say what you want to think about on that topic – your outline, your intro, whatever.
5. Start Your Other Tasks While Thinking
After saying your topic or headline out loud, it’s time to move onto whatever task you were going to do. Get started.
Then, once you are settled into that task, and your brain naturally starts drifting a bit, pull your mind back to your topic.
Instead of thinking about all the cleaning you need to get done, or what you should buy the next time you make a shopping list, stop. Bring your chosen topic to mind instead.
Purposefully keep going back to that topic.
It will take time at first. Focusing your thoughts isn’t a do it once and have it mastered type skill. It requires intention.
But, keep practicing.
Keep thinking about your topic. See what ideas come to mind. Are there any useful rabbit trails you can explore in your mind?
If you discover it’s not a useful trail, go back to the topic at hand and try again.
6. Write Down Key Ideas ASAP
Doing all the thinking doesn’t help if you can’t remember any of it when you sit down to write. Make it a habit to jot down key points as soon as possible.
That way you can use these notes to help you recall your thoughts when you’re writing the post.
Decide on a method of recording these ideas that works for you, and then go for it. That way you can find your notes again when it’s time. You can:
- Record notes on your phone
- Jot them in a bullet journal or in your planner
- Have your kids scribe in a place you’ll remember
- Use your computer long enough to write them down
As you write, you may discover you can quickly create a basic outline of a post after a good think session.
When the time comes, sit down and write your content. You should find that it comes to you much more easily.
Doing think time in advance increases your productivity, because you aren’t stopping to think for each section of your post. Instead, you did a lot of this prep work while you weren’t at your computer.
So now that you are, your brain can more easily recall what you want to include on this topic.
Think Time to Boost Productivity
Have you ever used think time to boost your productivity? If not, definitely give it a try. Then try it again, because it does take time and practice to train your brain to control your thoughts.
You can do this!
And for more productivity tips, remember to check out the Ultimate Productivity Bundle!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.