I was just thinking about my morning routine, I call it my “morning ritual.” I wake 30 to 60 minutes before the rest of my family, make coffee, start water boiling for oatmeal, handle lunches, feed pets and open doors for those animals wishing to use the outside, lay out clothes, and more.When the family wakes, I have another routine including packing backpacks, doling out breakfast and making sure shoes and socks are on by the time the school bus comes.
I have my freelance writing routine as well.
Every day, in this order, I:
- Check email: delete spam and junky stuff and place other mail in folders to be responded to later.
- Check stats and revenue from my blogs from the day before.
- Check my calendar to see how I am with deadlines and my own editorial calendar.
- Check the social networks to see if anyone is looking for me and to say hi to my friends.
- Break for lunch at about noon for 30 minutes (unless I’m meeting the girls for lunch).
- Blog and write, including my own projects.
- Check on any business matters – respond to emails, deal with advertising inquiries, return phone calls, enter any accounting and, if I’m looking for work, query any interesting gigs or markets.
- At night, I’ll start working on finding leads for the next days daily lists.
I also schedule less frequent tasks such as banking and filing.
There are a couple of reasons for my freelance writing routine:
- By doing the same thing, the same way every day, I don’t forget anything.
- I focus more when I know I have time scheduled for every task
- I have more respect for my time.
- Others have more respect for my time.
- I tend to put things off if I don’t write it into my daily calendar.
As freelance writers we pride ourselves on our flexibility. However, we also have to pride ourselves on our responsibility. If I don’t take care to schedule each task accordingly, and have a specific time and range assigned to each task, I may neglect something.
I’m not an organized person. At office jobs I was the girl who always had stacks of papers on her desk and reminders taped all over my cube. I’m the one who, if a project wasn’t staring me in the face, I wouldn’t get it done; out of site, out of mind.That didn’t work out well in the 9 to 5 world, and it certainly won’t work out for me as a freelancer. For me, it pays to be strict with my time.
The interesting thing is how out of my element I feel if I miss a scheduled task. For example, if I’m helping out at school one morning, it will throw me off for the whole day. I love going on vacation or going away to attend conferences or other business, but I also spend a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing. I’m one of those sick people who needs a routine.
I think the most important thing about having my regular routine is how I, and others, value my time. When I sat down to type every time I had a few minutes, it was viewed as more of a hobby. Establishing business hours and times to take calls, write or file, showed me – and others – that I have a business and I’m taking it seriously.
That’s my takeaway, by the way. If you don’t respect your freelance writing business, no one else will.
What’s your routine?
You may have a different routine, but I’m willing to bet you have some sort of ritual each day. Rituals are comforting. They keep our job familiar and allow us to stay on task.
What are your routines? Do you find having a routine helps you stay on track?