Want to start freelance writing on the side?
Then, you might have asked yourself:
How do you make time for your side business while in a busy 9-5 and with a family to take care of?
Here are 4 effective time management strategies that will help you start your side business without burning out or sacrificing your life.
Strategy #1: Schedule everything.
The first step?
I personally used to struggle so much with time management.
But that was before I figured out something… Just how effective it is to schedule tasks.
That’s why you need to schedule everything related to your freelance writing business.
Why? Because if a task isn’t in your schedule, it probably won’t happen.
Think about it:
When you have thousands of other things to think about, will you really sit down and work on your business?
Probably not. But if it’s scheduled in your calendar, you’ve already made that crucial commitment.
Now, don’t believe just me. Plenty of successful business owners schedule their tasks.
So, what should your calendar look like?
Personally, I like to think in 15-minute increments.
So, let’s say you schedule 15 minutes during your lunch break.
Or 1 hour (15 minutes x 4) before work.
Now, be specific about how you use that time.
For example, if you schedule in client work, write that in your schedule.
That way, you don’t have to think twice about what it is you’re supposed to be working on.
And that’s how you set yourself up for the most important part of your writing business… Consistently getting work done, every day.
Skip your perfectionism.
Strategy #2: “Good enough” is good enough.
Let me guess…
You’re a real perfectionist.
Which is great! After all, your clients will love your work.
But your high standards can also work against you.
When you’re freelance writing on the side, you only have so much time to work on your business every day.
You simply don’t have enough hours in a day to always let your perfectionistic side win.
Instead, settle for “good enough.”
Yes, it’s hard and it does take some practice.
I know because I’ve been there.
It’s agonizing to send work you’re not 100% happy with (and let’s not forget… 100% happy means impossible!).
A good rule of thumb?
Two rounds of edits are enough.
When it feels “OK” instead of “your best work ever,” it’s good enough to be sent to your client.
Simply look at your text and ask yourself:
“Is this something I would think was pretty good if I came across it online?”
The answer is probably “Yes.”
In that case, attach the file to an email and send it to your client.
Strategy #3: Use mornings, evenings, and weekends to your advantage.
When you’re freelance writing on the side, you need to be a bit creative about your time.
No, you don’t have to sacrifice ALL your time to work on your writing business.
But use a few hours here and there. In the end, they add up.
What does this look like in practice?
If you’re a morning person, you can start your day a bit earlier than normal. If you get up even 30 minutes or 1 hour earlier, you’ll have plenty of time to work on your business. After all, that adds up to 2.5 to 5 hours in a work week.
If you’re an evening person, then work on your business when the rest of your family has gone to bed. Again, you don’t need to stay up until 2AM every day.
And during the weekend, make time to work on your writing business for even 2 hours.
By consistently working a set number of hours on your business, you’ll get to the side income you want faster than you think.
Oh, and where should you work when working from home? Check out this post.
Next, an incredibly important step most people don’t realize (and that makes them give up on their business).
Strategy #4: Not getting work done? Understand why you’re procrastinating.
You know what it feels like:
You’re simply not getting any work done.
Yes, you’re sitting in front of the computer.
But whatever you do, you just can’t seem to get yourself to work on the things that really matter.
So, maybe you’re working on fun tasks like your website design.
But deep down, you know you need to be working on finding clients. That’s what moves your business forward.
What’s happening here?
Now, most people think procrastinating means being lazy.
But it’s not so simple.
And you need to understand what procrastination really is in order to get past it and be more productive in your business.
In fact, procrastination is very much tied to your feelings about a task.
You might feel bored, anxious, or doubt yourself. And that keeps you from moving forward.
In order to overcome procrastination, you need to learn how to manage those feelings.
There are a few steps you can take here.
#1: Forgive yourself and be self-compassionate. Instead of ruminating or feeling anxious about procrastinating, forgive yourself for doing it. Not just that- show yourself compassion.
By shifting away from feeling frustrated with yourself, you free up more energy to think about your next task. And that way, you don’t get stuck in a hamster wheel of negative emotions.
#2: Analyse what you’re feeling. When you think about a task and that task immediately triggers certain emotions, try to figure out what those emotions are. What is it your feeling that’s making you procrastinate? How are those feelings shifting as you’re thinking more and more about them?
#3: Only think about the next task. One surefire way to start procrastinating? Think about your entire to-do list of tasks. Instead of doing that, only focus on the task in front of you. By focusing on this task first, you won’t get stuck in procrastinating to avoid unpleasant tasks in the future. Instead, you get your tasks done right away.
Excited to get started with your freelance writing business?
Freelance writing on the side does require some planning and time management skills. But once you start working on fun projects and getting that side income to your bank account?
It makes it all worth it.
Now, over to you:
What time management skills work for you in your business?
Let me know in the comments below!