Getting into a work-ahead mindset is tough to do, especially if your natural tendency is to procrastinate. Or if you’re a busy freelancer. Or just a busy person in general.
When you have a lot going on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And when you feel overwhelmed, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of doing what you know needs to be done during a day and then walking away. But, you should try to break this habit for a lot of reasons.
When you work ahead, you finish your projects earlier — sometimes well ahead of deadline. That gives you a chance to really polish your work and turn in something that will knock your client’s socks off. It also gives you a chance to think about what might dovetail with the project. The suggestions you come up with might just lead to new projects.
Getting ahead of schedule also tones down the stress in your work life. You can get out of the cycle of feeling like you’re always chasing deadlines, racing to finish one project so you can turn and start racing to complete the next.
Getting into this habit also helps you stay on top of your own marketing. And it can help you plan your work projects out further into the future, which eliminates the feast-or-famine cycle and puts you in a stronger negotiating position when it comes to fees.
So how do you get in the habit of working ahead, exactly?
I’ve found that setting a work schedule seems to be key. Decide how many hours a day you’re going to work and what hours those will be each day. Then work during those hours. If you finish your must-dos for the day, get a jump on other projects or take time to tackle your own projects.
Another key to making this work is to schedule your breaks. You really should take at least one long weekend every month or two, and then a couple of bigger non-working vacations during the year. Even if you don’t go anywhere, the break will help you recharge your creative batteries — critical if you want to be on top of your game.
The really cool thing is that once you get in the habit of working ahead whenever you can, taking those breaks becomes a snap.
New on the Site
Are you looking for an easier way to manage your social media accounts? Christina Gillick shares her new favorite social media manager, and it’s not Hootsuite. Check it out.
Then, pop over to read this great article by Mindy. If you’re guilty of self-sabotage (and most of us have our moments from time to time), Mindy shares her process for putting the kibosh on this destructive behavior.
Finally, check out this Roving Report on writing for high-tech clients. In an interview, Crystle Pishon talks about the enormous opportunity for web writers in the tech industry and shares her insights for success.
Mark Your Calendars
This week, on December 12th, Mindy joins us in a live webinar to talk about Cause Marketing — a big opportunity for web writers who want to make a good living writing for the causes that are near to their hearts.
Then next week, tune in for what is certain to be a great interview with Pam Foster. On December 18th, Pam digs into the nuts and bolts of running your web-writing business. Details will be posted soon.
Finally, on December 19th, I present an information-packed webinar on how to reach your web-writing tipping point … that moment when you realize that, “Oh wow, I really am a web writer!”
Internet Round-Up — Five Great Articles I Found Online This Week
- If you’re ready to dig deep into Facebook as a social media marketing tool, then check out this article on Copyblogger. It gets into the nitty-gritty of who sees your Facebook posts and how to make your actual audience grow.
- It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about what we’ve accomplished and what we want to accomplish in the year ahead. Small Biz Lady, Melinda Emerson, shares three steps to putting energy back into your branding and marketing so that you’re ready to do something big in the New Year.
- Do you update your LinkedIn Status like you do on Facebook? Maybe you should … plus four other ways to improve your LinkedIn presence.
- Social media and Search Engine Optimization intertwine. If you’re not using one to support the other, you’re probably not getting the best results you could. ClickZ shows you 14 ways you can link your social media and SEO efforts. Click here to check it out.
- Your professional blog is still one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. It can attract targeted clients, build your credibility, and ultimately land you new projects. Read this Return on Now article for 10 tips on making your blog better.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!