How Scheduling Skyrocketed My Productivity

  • Sumo

How Scheduling Skyrocketed My Productivity

Success doesn’t happen by chance. It requires strict planning and relentless self-motivation to reach your goals, especially when you’re self-employed.

I was caught off guard a few weeks ago when a girlfriend of several years told me she thought freelance meant “working whenever”. She had no idea how many hours I’ve invested in my  writing business over the past seven and a half years.

For some, ‘freelance’ does mean working a few hours each week on a part-time venture, but for me, it simply means self-employed.

Some weeks I work 30 hours, others clock in around 60 or 70. I’m not just a freelance writer. I’m a business woman growing a start-up with annual financial growth of 10-15 percent each year. One year topped out at 30 percent, and 2017 might rival that — easily.

I’m diligently adding new clients to my roster and tucking away ideas and strategies every single day.

My business is anything but a ‘casual’ endeavor.

As a business of one, this hasn’t been an easy task. I’ve faced every distraction can you imagine when you have a home office. Unannounced visitors, personal phone calls followed by upset messages because I didn’t answer and the expectation that I can drop everything and be available for others at any time, despite my work-related projects and meetings.

At the start, I wasn’t as diligent, and I let these distractions interfere with my productivity. When you aren’t paid by the hour, but rather the project, time is money. Low productivity translates into a paltry paycheck.

Now, I’m the toughest boss ever. Work time is for work, period.

To keep my business running smoothly, I’ve adopted a strict scheduling method.

Every single work task is assigned a time slot and day to be completed. Each day I juggle the tasks on my online calendar to make sure every meeting is attended and deadline is met. (For those who are curious, I use Google Calendar. It’s free and available on desktop and mobile.)

Here’s what goes on my schedule:

  • Pitch new and current clients story ideas
  • Conduct research for client articles
  • Create rough drafts of writing assignments
  • Brainstorm topics to write about
  • Polish, edit and submit copy
  • Schedule writing assignments on my calendar
  • Invoice clients and follow-up on late payments
  • Complete edits and rewrites from clients
  • Process monthly and annual accounting reports
  • Pay self-employment taxes quarterly
  • Answer work emails and messages
  • Update my business website
  • Analyze current processes and make improvements
  • Set and evaluate business goals
  • Market my business with social media
  • Write blog posts for my business website
  • Exercise to keep my business-of-one healthy
  • Take lunch breaks and rest periods to replenish my energy

Productivity doesn’t have to be wished for. You make it happen.

Assigning each task a time slot — and sticking to the schedule — ensures each task will get completed and move you closer to reaching your goals.

Do you maintain a strict, tangible schedule to get your work done? Why or why not? I can’t imagine going back to basic to-do lists and hoping to get everything done in a day.

Do you need a reliable writer on your team? I collaborate with marketing and advertising agencies to create content for blog posts, web pages, social media and newsletters. Learn how I can help your clients HERE.

 

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