If you’re a business owner or freelancer, you likely chose this path at least in part because of one major bonus: there’s no one telling you how to spend your time.
The freedom to manage your time however you see fit is a powerful thing–as long as you manage it effectively. If you don’t, you can find yourself a slave to constant busy-ness and inefficiency.
Managing time is the ongoing challenge of entrepreneurs. To help you get really good at it, we’re sharing the best tips from our network of business owners and copywriting freelancers. Here’s part two of our “work faster” series to help you create winning habits in 2022. (Click here to see part one).
Start with a plan. If you know you need to work out, meditate, write two Facebook ads,
and follow up with a client before your 10 am meeting, you’ll set your alarm accordingly and make every moment of your morning count. On the other hand, if you wake up without a game plan, you’re more likely to squander your time. Whether you use a paper planner or an online planning app, before you go to bed, determine what you need to accomplish the next day and by what time.
Keep a list. You’ve got your general plan in place, now be prepared to manage all of the to-dos that need to be added to it. These to-dos pop into our minds all day long. If we commit them to a written list (or to a list in our smartphone), we release them so that they don’t keep cycling through our brain. The challenge is to keep your list with you at all times so that you can pin those ideas down the second you think of them. If you love the idea of a paper planner, make sure you can commit to carrying it around with you. If you opt for your phone or tablet, you’ll find lots of great apps to track your tasks. You can incorporate these into your daily plan when you do your nighttime scheduling for the next day.
Touch it once. Consider the journey of a pair of used athletic socks:
- You drop them on the floor just inside the door when you return from your workout.
- Guests are coming! You toss that pair of socks onto your bedroom floor so that they’re out of sight.
- They sit there for a few days.
- You finally throw them in the hamper.
Quite a journey for a pair of socks—one that has wasted your resources! When you leave something only to have to return to it later, you lose momentum and time. When it comes to paperwork, mail, dirty laundry, or your groceries, take the time to put it where it belongs the first time. This may be challenging in the case of things that require action. For example, you may get a medical bill in the mail that requires a call to the insurance company. In that case, get to it as soon as you can with as minimal “movement” as possible.
Just write! Perfectionism is the enemy of progress. If you’re stalling on a copywriting project because you’re afraid it won’t come out right, give yourself permission to create something imperfect. Just start writing and get the words on the page in any form. Set a timer if it helps. You can do anything for 30 minutes! There will be time to fine-tune later, but at least you’ve started, which is usually the hardest part.
One in, one out. Clutter can complicate lives and hurt efficiency. Keep your environment streamlined by removing something from your life’s inventory every time you add something to it. Bought a new gallon of milk? Create space in the fridge by throwing out last week’s leftovers. A new shirt? Free up a hanger by throwing out the one you haven’t worn since college. A new paper for your “to do” pile? Deal with the one that’s been sitting at the bottom of the pile so you can finally throw it away or file it.
Stagger your work. This comes in handy when you have a lot of things to do, some of which you’re dreading. Do your undesirable task for 30 minutes, then move to a task you enjoy for 30 minutes. By breaking things up, the dreaded tasks will feel a little less daunting.
Deconstruct tasks. Break through the overwhelm by dividing the most intimidating tasks into small parts. You may not get that whole long-form sales letter written in one day, but you can research it for several hours on Monday and Tuesday and create an outline on Wednesday. Most tasks seem more palatable when you can break them into digestible parts.
Join a mastermind. Whether you’re a seasoned copywriter or a business owner, you need to stay ahead of the curve. If you’re doing the same old thing to try to scale on cold traffic, you’re going to become less efficient and effective in your copywriting. Joining a good mastermind such as Copy Accelerator can connect you to market trends, fresh ideas, motivational social support, personalized mentorship to help you hone your copywriting mastery, swipe files that can help you pattern your work after the most successful copywriting, and access to billion dollar networks to help advance your career. Joining a mastermind may be the single most important investment in helping you earn more money faster with copywriting.
Reward yourself. You’re vigilant about keeping your phone battery charged. Why? Because you depend on it to function at top capacity. Do you keep your own batteries charged? We like to think we can push ourselves to the breaking point, but, like batteries, everyone runs out of juice. Decide what you need to recharge? Is it an hour of television every night? A walk with your significant other? A long bubble bath? You’ll work more efficiently if you know there’s something enjoyable waiting for you at the other end.
Whether you need a total overhaul in the way you manage your time or just a slight tweak, pick a few of these tips and put them in practice. When those are mastered, try a few more. Make 2022 the year that you stop letting your work run you. Turn it around by mastering your time and enjoy more of the things you want to do.