One of the best ways I’ve found to get more things done is to simply be mindful about what I’m doing.
That means I take a little time at the end of the week to think about what I want to accomplish in the week to come. At the beginning of each day, I consider the time I have and prioritize my tasks so my to-do list and the hours in my day match up. And then before I sit down to each new task, I take a moment and set an intention.
These steps help me stay organized, so I don’t miss anything. They help me make progress on those important-but-not-urgent goals like learning new things and making new connections. And they help me stay focused as I work.
Mindfulness is a first and important step to being productive.
The next step is to regularly take stock of what you’re doing.
As a freelancer, there are a lot of things that can pull you off track. You might feel like you have to say yes to every project that comes your way — especially in your early days. You might struggle with the marketing side of your business because it makes you nervous. You might procrastinate until you’re right up against a deadline because you weren’t sure how to get started.
Here’s the thing… when you get pulled off track because of these types of things, you won’t always recognize why it’s happening… or even that it’s happening.
You may have a dozen important things to do… and you do them instead of marketing yourself. And then you tell yourself you didn’t get to your marketing because you didn’t have time. That’s perfectly normal. It’s also usually a lot of hogwash. You didn’t get to your marketing because you didn’t want to. And you didn’t want to because you were dreading it… because it made you nervous.
The only way to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing — and why you’re not doing what you’re not doing — is to pay attention and to spend some time reflecting on your choices.
Then you might have a revelation like, “I don’t like sending out emails to prospects because I never hear back. It feels like a waste of time.” That’s why you’ve been skipping the task.
That’s an important thing to realize. Because then you can either change how you’re approaching those emails, or you can try another way of making connections altogether. And if you hit on the right combination, you’ll stop avoiding your marketing. How would that change your business?
Regular, honest reflection on what’s working and what’s not, on why you make the choices you do, and on what you love, what you like, and what you hate is going to do two big things for your business.
It’s going to help you make better choices. And it’s going to help you craft a business you’re really excited about. Both are good things.
Take an hour this week for some honest introspection and see what you discover.
New This Week
It’s a great time to be a writer, in part because there are so many robust, low-cost — or even free — tools right at our fingertips. John Torre shares a few of his favorites in his newest post. Check them out.
Speaking of great tools for writers, have you tried Scrivener? Scrivener is a software program geared toward novel writers, but it can be really handy for copywriters too. In a single place, you can organize your research, outline your work, draft your copy, and more. Check out this post on how to adapt Scrivener to your bigger web-writing projects.
How many times have you heard that if you want to be a writer, you need to write every day? You’ve probably lost count. But there’s a good reason for this advice, and that’s what Tracy Wilson explores in her latest Reality Blog. Have a look.
Mark Your Calendar
August 20th: Our most recent Practice Assignment is to write an About Us page. Soon, I’ll be randomly selecting several submissions from Platinum members to review in a live webinar. This is a great way to get insights into how to write an About Us page that really works. I hope you’ll join us. Access information will be posted soon!
Around the Web
Writing scripts for explainer videos can be fun and lucrative. Here’s a handy cheat sheet from Marketing Profs to get you started.
Anxiety in your prospect is a death knell for your results. Learn how to reduce anxiety and deliver a bigger response for your clients.
Organic reach on social media is in a downward spiral. But there are plenty of ways you can combat that trend. Hootsuite explains.
Good content marketing takes more than writing great content. Here are seven other things that should be on your radar.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!
One more note… the About Us Practice Assignment is due this week on the 10th. I’m getting lots of great submissions and I’m looking forward to receiving even more. There’s still time to write a great page and get it turned in for a chance at being included in our upcoming live review. You can find the full brief right here.