Managing Your Day-to-Day Productivity as a Freelance Writer

Boosting my productivity is one of my biggest goals this year. I’m guessing you’re the same: some days you just want to slap yourself upside the head because you cannot get started. Or when you do get started, you work in fractured sittings and never get anything real done. At the end of the day, with your forehead in your palms, you throw on an old episode of Scrubs and promise yourself you’ll do better tomorrow.

A few weeks ago I shared some of my best productivity tips, but I know I still have a long way to go. One of the biggest changes I’m making is moving into a place of my own for the first time ever. No more flatmates to disturb me in the mornings – it’s going to be bliss. I get downright cranky if I can’t start my day how I want to, and I almost never can with other people taking up space in my precious tea-making room (AKA kitchen) and trying to talk to me and shit. Socialising in the morning. God, who does that?

So, I’m going to take full advantage of starting days in my own way, distraction free, and building a solid morning routine that helps me start my day right. One of the most helpful books I read last year was 99U’s Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, and I highly recommend checking it out if productivity is something you struggle with too. It’s a collection of insanely useful essays. Here are some of my favourite extracts:

The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and email off.

– Mark McGuinness

As a writer, I work every single day, including weekends, holidays, and vacations. Usually I write for many hours during a day, though sometimes it might be a stint as short as fifteen minutes – and I never skip a day. I’ve found that this kind of frequent work makes it possible to accomplish more, with greater originality.

– Gretchen Rubin

The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.

– Seth Godin