Time Management Tricks For Copywriters And Freelancers

Aaron Hoos

As a copywriter, I sell my time.

… err… well, technically I sell my expertise but it’s constrained by the time it takes to deliver it, so the more I can decouple that limitation, the more of my expertise I can sell, and the more money I make.

Therefore, over the years I’ve built up a few tips and tricks to help me overcome the time limitation to get more done. And recently, when another writer asked me how I stay focused and on track each day, I replied with the following email.

I thought it was a valuable email for everyone so I’ve edited it slightly to remove anything identifiable to the original audience and am sharing these tips for anyone who is a copywriter, freelancer, creative professional, etc. to help get more done so you can sell more of your expertise with less time limitation. (And yes, of course there are other strategies as well, but this is a solid list that you should implement if you haven’t already.)

The Time Management Tricks…

Hope you’re having a great day!

Here are some tools and strategies I’ve built over the years to help me stay focused and productive through the day.

So, you already track your wordcount each day, and specifically I think you use some form of that red-time/green-time time tracking. That’s good. For me, that was the most useful strategy. The red-time, green-time was the biggest game changer.

Another one I did for a little while was to chart how my daily work impacted my annual income: I did a chart each day of

  1. How many words I wrote (in one column)
  2. Multiplied by the amount per word that I get paid (in a second column)
  3. Multiplied by 250 (in a third column).

So the first column tracked my daily wordcount, the second column estimated how much I made each day, and the third column basically told me: if I maintained this level of productivity for a year, how much would I earn?

(Although, in retrospect, I didn’t find that tool as useful from a motivational/productivity perspective as I did from an understanding how to balance my work and my life to find the optimum amount of money I want to earn while still enjoying my life… with the proviso that there are seasons of extra busyness and that’s okay too). 

Another thing I’ve done in the past is tried to gamify each day: So, I set a certain number of points for things (mostly wordcount but sometimes other things like marketing or whatever you want to measure), and take away points for other things (like allowing interruptions or whatever), and then after accumulating so many points you get a reward.

I think after winning so many points I got to spend a certain dollar amount on Amazon or something.

I try to build rules into my day. When I started doing something that worked really well for me, I set a bunch of rules for each day. (Not too many or I’ll forget to do them, but a few.) For example, a few of my work-related rules are:

  1. Get up by 6AM
  2. Focus on word-count in the morning and admin/marketing/research in the afternoon
  3. Write 500 words for clients within the first 30 minutes (preferably something really simple stuff doesn’t require a lot of brainpower)
  4. Don’t look at social media or emails until I’ve written 2000 words
  5. Aim to write 4000 words before lunch
  6. Write 6000 words each and every day 

that kind of thing. I do have a couple of other rules around fitness and that kind of thing but that has worked really well for me. And that’s not to say that I follow them every day, since that’s the way life happens sometimes, but I have a little chart and I track it and look for trends. If I notice that I’m really sucking at getting up at 6 then I address that.

Summary

The freelancer I shared these with was able to bump up his productivity pretty dramatically by just adopting a couple of these… if you’re a freelancer, copywriter, graphic designer, photographer, creative professional, whatever, I hope you find these helpful too!

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.