You want to be a freelance writer. You want to start right now and get your first clients.
That’s great! I love enthusiasm!
In 2016, you set the goal to make your first $1,000 per month freelance writing in 2017—or maybe your writing goal was higher. Whatever the goal, it’s 2017 and now you’re stuck. You know what you want but you don’t really know how to do it.
Sure, you can research but all that research is going to take time. You’ll soon find yourself reading through books and listening to podcasts to help become a freelance writer, but never actually do any writing.
Your time management is flawed.
Don’t worry. I’ve been there too. The difference is I’ve got to the other side. I’ve managed to find time to research and learn (and the learning never stops) but also write for clients and make my $1,000 per month. In fact, the last three months I’ve made $4,000+ just from freelance writing for clients!
I nailed the time management to help do it all and you can to. It’s all through the use of the right tools to plan and schedule.
As it’s Time Management Tuesday, what better day to share my top 5 tools for time management for writing? They are tools that I completely stand by and use on a daily basis.
#1. Tracking My Time
One of the best tools I haven’t isn’t an app. It doesn’t involve software if you don’t want it to and it is just so easy to jump right in and get started.
I track my time. It’s something I’ve written about in the past—in fact, just recently.
Okay, so the last couple of days I haven’t tracked my time but that’s because I’m in the zone. It’s not something I now need to do on a daily basis (or so I’ve found). Once I’m in the zone, I don’t procrastinate pretending to be doing something useful. I actually get on with my work. All I do track is the time I start writing for a client and the time I stop so I can work out my hourly rate.
But when motivation slips and I start procrastinating, I go straight back to tracking my time. If I start to have a bad day, I will track my time.
I did it all on paper last year. This year I’m going back to my Excel sheets just to save some paper and ink.
There are lots of software out there for time management, organization, and scheduling. One that I adore is Trello.
I was only introduced to it in April, but I was instantly hooked. It’s possible to set due dates, create different boards for needs, and even work with others on the same boards to manage a whole team and collaborate.
There is an app, which means managing on the go. I have to admit that I’ve found Trello a lot better for time management for writing than I ever found Evernote (and I liked Evernote). Trello is a lot simpler and user-friendly.
One downside is that I have to be connected to the internet to use the app and sync with everything else. I haven’t found a way to create a card or add a note and then sync it later (I don’t have mobile data right now and don’t plan on getting it again for a while).
Now I haven’t exactly used it to my full advantage. There are still functions that I want to test and try out. There are still ways that I want to see how it works for my needs, but right now it’s an important tool for tracking my time.
I may adapt this later this year. A piece of software I’m looking into is Toggl. I’ll share more when I do decide to use it and have a chance to trial it. Focus Booster is another tool that I’ve been encouraged to try by some writers. I’ll give it a look.
— Alexandria Ingham (@aingham69) January 3, 2017
#3. My Diary and Planner
I’m throwing these two in together since they are very similar and also work together. I have a planner for my blogging needs and a diary for my client needs. Keeping them separate works better for me. I get to fully flesh out my blog post ideas, while making sure I don’t affect the work for my clients.
But I will end up writing blog posts into my diary. That is my scheduler.
This year I was lucky enough to find a diary that had time slots. Last year I had to put up with just a day-to-a-page diary with lines. It had its flaws since I couldn’t quite plan a full day properly.
Now I can set hours for all my work and make sure I don’t overrun. It works well with the time tracking.
The planner is there for making a note of all the things that must be done with my blog. I also have post-it notes for the planning process—something I’ll share more about in weeks to come.
My diary gives me the ability to set out a plan for the day. I can block out periods of time for breaks, certain clients, my blog posts, and even research and learning. If you struggle to stick to the time blocks, you can always set a timer to go off and alert you when it’s over.
In November I downloaded an app called Mint. It had been an app that I wanted to try for some time but it wasn’t available in the UK. Well, it’s available for the U.S. and Canadian markets.
This budgeting app automatically syncs spending. Sure, there are times that I need to sit down and fix categories that the spending has gone in, but overall it works as I need to. And I actually stick to budgets.
There’s no fiddling looking for my budget spreadsheet and no need to go through the receipts and bank balances to find out what I need to add into said spreadsheet. I don’t have to do any math!
It’s lazy, I guess, but it works. It’s a major time saver for me and my family.
If you’ve never heard of Mint, here’s my Mint review to help you learn more about it and figure out if it could work for you.
#5. Social Media Scheduling Tools
There are debates over the use of scheduling tools for social media. In fact, I’ve not found a tool that works perfectly for each of my social media accounts. I’m still looking for the perfect one for Pinterest, as I move into using Pinterest more for marketing in 2017.
That being said, social media scheduling tools are powerful time savers. I can spend an hour a week scheduling out my content for the whole week and then the content is automatically posted. There are posts that I will do live but many others are scheduled ahead of time.
The tools I tend to use include:
- Facebook’s own scheduling software
I’m looking into others but I will share reviews over this year of everything that I try out and use to help you decide if one is good for you. Some of the ones that I want to test include:
What about you and your time management for writing? What tools do you use to help you manage your time and avoid procrastination and over-researching? Feel free to share some of yours in the comments below. As you’ll see, they don’t all need to be tech tools to help with time management for writing.
Tomorrow is Writing Pay and Tips Wednesday. Look out for my post on the one thing holding you back from getting the writing rate you deserve.