As freelance writers, we all work hard. We may even work longer hours than we did when we had a desk job.
Does this mean we’re working smartly? Does this mean we’re getting more work done?
Not necessarily. If you feel drained all the time and find yourself dreading work, maybe it’s time to assess how you do things.
To help you with that, consider these ways to work smarter. They may seem unusual, but they certainly are effective.
1. Make a “to don’t” list.
A “to do” list is imperative for me. I can’t work without one. Perhaps it’s the same for you; but have you ever thought of making a “to don’t” list?
That might not make sense, but basically, that list contains the things that you should not waste your time on, things that are unnecessary for you to get work done. This could be phone calls, chatting online, and so on.
Make this “to don’t” list and check it as you check your “to do” list, so you can remind yourself to stay on track.
2. Set a time limit on how long you work for the day.
It may seem counterintuitive. After all, the more hours you spend working, the more work you get done, right? Then again, more hours doesn’t necessarily equate to more work. It just means you’re working harder, and it can drain you.
Instead of spending 10-12 hours working, developing the habit of setting a time limit on your work hours will give you time to rest physically and mentally. Set a limit.
For example, set your work hours from 8 AM to 6 PM. During that time, you are totally focused on work. At 6 PM, stop whatever you’re doing, and take time to do things for yourself; perhaps cook dinner, watch TV, or read a book.
The next day, you’ll feel better and have more energy to work.
Also read: The Right Hours to Write
3. Recognize that there will be bumps along the way.
You’ll have clients who’ll demand revisions. You’ll have clients who’ll want a Skype chat. Things can – and will, at some point – go wrong. Acknowledge that, and when it does happen, do what needs to be done, and then get over it.
4. Don’t rush.
But you have a deadline! You’ve got more work than you can handle, and you don’t have enough time.
The “normal” reaction would be to rush. Think of a title. Write the article. Scan it. Send it in. Move on to the next piece.
Sure, this may work, but how does it affect the quality of your work? How does it affect you in terms of stress levels?
My suggestion is to make sure you work quickly – don’t dilly dally, check your “to don’t” list – but not to rush.
As UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
What do you think of these tips to work smarter? Do you think they’ll work for you? Maybe you have your own “work smarter tips”. Let us know!