I think I have made this confession on this blog once before: I am NOT a very organized person. It's in my nature to grab every last bit of sleep I can; which means I may not wake up in the morning until 9:00am (even my kids sleep like this) – a very late start according to many freelancers. I tend to be a night owl – the residual effects of years of late night studying while in college maybe.
I also have a tendency to be a big procrastinator. I used to wait until the last minute to get things done. I'd meet my project deadlines, but I certainly could have paced myself much better.
As I began acquiring more freelance projects, these personality quirks started causing a lot of problems. It's not easy to juggle multiple projects without a plan, and my lack of planning was a disaster waiting to happen. I wanted a successful freelance writing business that would allow me to stay home with my children while I paid the bills. But my priorities were out of order. Being a solopreneur, I wear all of the hats in my business: administrative, billing, bookkeeping, marketing and so forth. I wondered why I never seemed to have time to market my freelance writing services and get my projects completed early. I was not as productive as I knew I could be. Meanwhile my house was in shambles.
The solution was pretty obvious – I needed to prioritize my work day. I do this by making lists. I love lists! The night before each workday, I list everything that needs to be done – writing projects, time for marketing, invoicing and filing. When making my list, I think about how my energy tends to ebb and flow during the day. I tackle writing projects and marketing during the time of day when my energy is highest. I also keep track of new projects, projects in progress and those I've completed on a spreadsheet. When a task on my list is complete, I cross it off. My favorite part! This has helped tremendously.
I also get up much earlier in the morning. I need quiet time for myself each morning to prepare for my day, and I can just as easily get in a few hours of uninterrupted writing time in the early morning hours as I can at 2:00am (there are still a few nights when I find myself working at 2:00am, but not nearly as often).
As a freelancer, you know that juggling projects with other tasks is just part of the game. Prioritization is the key to getting it all done.