Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting it All Done: How Do You Manage Each Day?

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.


Erin Melanie said...


I've just started following your blog and have found reading about others experiences to be so helpful. Thanks for all the great posts!

I was trying to figure out my own problems with organization; I schedule, make lists, and even when I stick to them, time seems to get lost into some abyss. But your point about prioritization makes a lot of sense. It's so easy to push the boring tasks aside for the more favorable ones, allowing them to pile up.

Avid Writer said...

Hi erin,

I agree that it's s easy to get distracted and ush task to the backburner. I struggle with this constantly! I've got a few projects piling up as I type this message. But I must admit, when I stay focused and remain on task, my life is so much easier. Thanks for dropping by to comment.:)

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