Time management

This freelancing business is new to me, and the one thing that I’ve had the most trouble with is, time management.

I have to do the school run, so my work day is sandwiched between those hours. I also end up working before and after school hours nearly everyday. Somehow I can’t see how this will change but given that I enjoy my work, it’s not exactly a problem.

In the day, that’s when I schedule meetings which doesn’t leave me with any time for writing. About a month into the freelancing, stress started to kick in. Writing is what I do (apart from launching my own fashion magazine – argh!) and if I am not writing and formulating pitches, then I’m in a lot of trouble.

Now, I’m obsessed with productivity, which means the aforementioned situation caused a lot of grief and sleepless nights.

In 2006, I was addicted to Leo Babauta‘s Zen Habits. (In fact, my current routine resembles one of his posts.) From there, I went on to discover Seth Godin and Timothy Ferriss. Through this web of innovation and productivity experts, I found Oliver Burkeman, and ended up finding the book How To Write A Lot.

This book is a life-saver. Every day I set my goals, set my priorities and I monitor my progress. I took it one step further by breaking down my day into 1.5 hour blocks.

Only after setting myself this schedule could I fit in all the things I needed to do, from writing up a business plan for my new magazine to freelance writing to blogging.

I would say, monitoring my progress has made the biggest difference. Here’s an example of my first week of following a schedule – using the same format as the one I picked up from How To Write A Lot.

Not a lot of actual writing happened, because a lot of time was spent in researching ideas and writing pitches. For work I’m putting into my new magazine, I have a different progress chart.

You might find this somewhat anal, but it’s worked wonders for me. It truly is the only way for me to keep track of my business and freelance writing while looking after two children.

How do you manage your time? If you have any tips or advice you would like to share, I would like to hear them. 


2 thoughts on “Time management

  1. Deadliens are the best way for me. I have deadlines that have to be met and somehow I squish everything in. I am lucky tho’ as a freelancer I have yet to pitch for work, it has always been there because what I write is so specialised. Research takes ages but unle4ss I have to phone people I always leave that to the evening. Writing is another thing I leave untilt he evenings so that my days are for calling people nad meetings. It works so far!

    • I’ve found that deadlines can sometimes be (negatively) stressful. Like you, I end up doing the writing in the evening and do calls/emails/meetings in the day. Although I’m not always at my best in the evenings, so I’ve tried to have one writing block of 1.5 hours in the day. Probably once or twice a week I manage to do that.
      Do you find that you end up working longer hours than in an office job? I’m just glad that I love what I do.
      And it does give me a lot of flexibility.

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