Find more time to devote to growing your freelance web-writing business… it can seem nearly impossible. This is true for both new web writers just starting out and for those with years of experience.
No matter who you are, there are 1,440 minutes in a day. No more, and no less.
And just so we’re clear, you also need to sleep. I’m not an advocate of the “just wake up earlier” philosophy. You need to spend time with your family, too. You need to eat… to exercise… to do client work… to bathe, at least occasionally. These are all important things, and I’m not suggesting you eliminate any of them.
Instead, I’m suggesting that you can do it all. You can have the writer’s life you want…
You just have to be smart with those 1,440 minutes.
Here are five ways that have proven successful for me, and that will work for you, too:
1. Find More Time by Reclaiming “Lost” Wait Time
If you were to keep track of the amount of time you sit idly waiting for other people throughout the day, you’d probably be amazed at how those minutes add up.
How many times have you waited 10 minutes (or more) in the school parking lot to pick up your child after school? Ever spend 15 minutes (or more) waiting for a doctor’s appointment? And how much time do you lose waiting on hold for someone to pick up a call?
You probably have your own black holes of time that suck up a vast number of minutes in your day.
The first step to reclaiming your lost time is to identify those black holes. The next step is to do something productive with that time.
For example, I lose a lot of time waiting in the car to pick up my son after school or after baseball practice. So I brainstorm and jot down ideas while I’m waiting. I keep a notebook and pen in the car specifically for this, but I type notes into my phone on occasion as well. I use Evernote to keep my digital notes organized between mobile devices and laptop.
I’ve also used this reclaimed time to check and respond to email from my phone, or to engage with others from my business social profiles. Sometimes I edit copy I’ve printed out and brought with me.
Whatever you can do quickly and on-the-go will be a better use of this wait time than doing nothing.
2. Maintain Strategic and Prioritized To-Do Lists
Another way to find more time is to make better use of the time you have. And one way to do this is to maintain to-do lists.
You’ll want to develop a strategic Master List that covers the big picture of your web-writing business, as well as prioritized, more immediate to-do lists that move you toward that big picture.
For example, if you want to eventually make $100,000 a year (or $50,000, or whatever your financial goal is), what are the steps you need to take to get there? And what are the smaller steps necessary to get you ready to take the bigger steps? Which steps need to be taken first?
Having these strategic and prioritized to-do lists enables you to know exactly what you need to do to grow your business. With them, you won’t waste the time you have doing the wrong things. You’ll probably find you get more things done, too.
3. Develop Systems to Finish Routine Tasks Faster
If you can finish routine tasks faster, you’ll have extra time to work on growing your business. Systems are what will help you speed up your work flow.
- A file organization system can reduce the time it takes you to search for documents and images on your computer.
- A system for managing email where you “touch” an email just once — read it, delete it, or flag it for further action — can drastically reduce the time you spend in your inbox.
- A follow-up system reduces the time you have to think about what your next steps with a prospect or client should be, so you can get straight to the action of doing the follow-up.
- A bookkeeping system makes sending invoices, paying bills, and keeping financial records faster and easier.
List all the things you do in a day, or even over the course of a week. Then highlight all of the activities that are routine and that you do over and over again. Keep track of the time it takes to do those highlighted activities.
You now have a list of tasks you can consider developing systems for, so you can work faster and “find” more time for growing your web-writing business.
4. Use Templates to Streamline Work
The fourth way to find more time in your day is to work faster. And one of the easiest ways to work faster is to use templates.
Let’s say you do regular work for a client who likes copy submitted with specific formatting (font, font size, header format, etc.). If you create a template to use for that client’s work, you’ll save a few minutes. Do that for every client you have, and those minutes will add up.
Other templates to consider:
- New client email
- “Nice to meet you” email
- Request for testimonial email
Any document or piece of copy you find yourself creating repeatedly can become a template that will streamline your work and save you time.
5. Schedule a Business Growth Appointment with Yourself
A final way to find more time to grow your business is simply to schedule it. When an appointment’s in writing on your calendar, it somehow seems more real. It’s harder to ignore.
So block out just 30 minutes on your schedule for an important meeting. One with yourself.
Schedule these Business Growth Appointments once a week, if that’s all you can find the time for at first. Once this becomes routine and “easy,” increase to three times a week. Eventually work up to daily, and see your results skyrocket.
I’ve found the best time for me is 8:30-9:00 am, after taking my son to school and before I officially “open” for business at 9:00. You may find later in the morning works better for you. Maybe early evening, or even later.
The important thing is to find the 30 minutes that work best for you, when you have good energy and are able to focus.
For some ideas on what you can get done in just 30 minutes, read 31 Things You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less to Market Your Freelance Web-Writing Services.
These 30-minute appointments are very much like 30-minute workouts. If you’ve never worked out before, or if it’s been awhile, it’s generally considered wise to start slow and build your strength and stamina. That’s what we’re doing here, too.
As you build your business growth muscles, and as the time you spend ON your business becomes routine, you’ll be able to do even more during your Business Growth Appointments.
Your Challenge, If You Choose to Accept It …
I challenge you to use one or any combination of these methods to find more time in your day. Commit to doing something today by telling me in a comment below what you think will work best for you.
And then do it!
I know you can.