We’ve all procrastinated at some point. It’s easy to say, ‘I have until Friday, ’ and leave a task to the wayside, only to get to Friday and realise you’re completely overwhelmed. Putting tasks off now and then is pretty harmless, but if you regularly struggle to keep up with your work, you might be a chronic procrastinator. According to DR Joseph Ferrari of the American Psychological Association, 20% of people are chronic procrastinators.
One of the biggest draws to freelance work is its flexibility and freedom. However, if you frequently procrastinate, finding new ways to manage your workload can make all the difference. This article provides practical advice for copywriters to increase their productivity and decrease their stress. Read on to improve your work-life balance.
How to Manage Your Copywriting Workload (With Practical Advice)
There are numerous benefits to improving your workload management while operating in the freelance world. Equally, there are serious pitfalls to getting your time management wrong, some of which could lead to the end of a freelance career path.
Good Workload Management
Bad Workload Management
Using effective techniques to manage your time immensely boosts your career. Review these practical tips to improve your workload management as a freelance copywriter today.
Quiz Your Clients
One effective way to avoid problems with your workload is to learn as much as possible about the project before taking on a client. Ensure you know the client’s expectations, needs, and deadlines before accepting their work.
The more you know about your clients, the easier it is to produce excellent work that meets their needs. Equally, if a client has unrealistic expectations, you can handle it ahead of time rather than overextending yourself trying to achieve the impossible.
Create Clear Contracts
When you agree to take on a new client, craft a clear and easy contract for all parties to understand. In your contract, outline the work you’ll complete and the deadline you’ve both agreed upon.
Keeping clear contracts with all your clients ensures you know exactly what each one expects from you. You can also use contracts to establish how many rewrites you’re willing to do and any additional fees you charge for extensive editing.
Implement Project Management
Effective project management is essential to ensure you don’t get caught up and fall behind when you have multiple projects on the go at once. Tools like Trello and Asana let freelancers easily track their work schedules.
Using the Japanese Kanban board system is one of the easiest ways to get a clear visual overview of your tasks. Project management tools help you prioritise, keep tabs on deadlines, and easily move your schedule around as needed.
One of the biggest struggles some writers face is keeping on top of tasks as they come. Proper organisation eases the strain and makes locating documents and contracts easier. Tools like Google Drive help you keep everything in one place.
Implementing effective naming systems also makes you more efficient, giving you more time to dedicate to writing. Using your client’s company name in the titles for all documents relating to them makes it easier to keep things neat while you work. Consider a naming system with this format:
Folder: CLIENT NAME < File: CLIENT NAME: PIECE NAME
The procrastinator’s worst nightmare and best friend is effective prioritisation. It’s easier to be productive when you know which tasks to complete first. Typically, completing the hardest or most time-consuming task first paves the way to greater productivity.
Prioritise workload management through a combination of deadlines and difficulty. For example, don’t leave a 4,000-word piece due at the end of the month until two days earlier. Instead, break larger pieces down into smaller sections you can complete throughout the month.
Most freelancers work from home offices. It’s crucial to ensure your workspace cultivates focus and comfort so you can produce excellent work efficiently. Phones can ruin your concentration and lengthen your work day. Turning your phone to aeroplane mode and leaving it face-down across the room helps you stay in the zone.
Try instrumental music or nature sounds to create background noise if you find total silence too distracting. If you live with someone who works from home, agree to blocks of time where you don’t distract one another.
Work in Blocks
Breaking your workday up into blocks is another way to resist the urge to procrastinate. Establish a time to respond to emails where your clients can contact you. Outside of this time slot, you can focus on writing without interruptions.
You can also take short breaks throughout the workday. Attention spans can range between individuals, so find your sweet spot and take a 10-minute break to stretch, move, and hydrate before settling back in for more work.
Review Your Tactics
Freelance work means taking responsibility for your productivity and time management. Evaluating your techniques regularly is crucial to ensure you’re doing the right thing for your work. Timekeeping helps you establish how long it takes for you to complete work and how much work you produce in a single day.
Keeping tabs on your output and reviewing every month or so makes it easy to identify any lulls in your productivity. If you notice a slump in your work, you can take measures to determine the cause and create a new structure to improve going forward.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Everybody’s different, and you can’t guarantee that the typical 9-5 works for you. As a freelancer, you can experiment with your work schedule and try something unorthodox.
For example, if you struggle to get up early and take a few hours to engage proper focus, try starting your day later and working further into the evening. There are no rules regarding the ‘best’ way to be a copywriter, so be confident to try something different if you think it might help you.
Ultimately, your productivity as a freelance copywriter depends on how you structure your workday and implement measures to make your life easier. Although work can feel overwhelming, and it’s not always easy to know what you should do, taking a step back and using these tips to evaluate your system can guide you. If you’d like to learn more about all things copywriting, visit The Author’s Pad, where writers live and work.
Explore our answers to some frequently asked questions about working as a copywriter.
How Do I Become a Successful Copywriter?
Becoming a successful copywriter requires a passion for writing, paired with excellent communication skills and a commitment to bringing your client’s ideas to life. Copywriters must deliver high-quality writing that fits their client’s briefs within their deadlines to generate a successful career.
How Many Hours Do Copywriters Work?
Copywriters work different hours, but typically, a copywriter must work a 30-40 hour work week to make a stable income. As you develop your skills and gain more experience in the field, you can charge more for your expertise. Some copywriters prefer to take higher pay and fewer hours to focus on their clients, while others continue the 30-40 hour schedule and bring in a higher income.
What Industry Hires the Most Copywriters?
The technology industry frequently has many positions for copywriters. There are also plenty of opportunities for copywriters in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. One of the most common ways copywriters make money is by writing ecommerce content for online stores. You can also use your passions to direct your writing and find work relevant to your hobbies and interests.