6 Ways to Waste Your Time as a Fledgling Freelancer

    fledgling freelancer

    Fledgling ‘Freelancer’ is a pretty hard hat to wear at times.

    Not only are you the sole – well everything – when it comes to your business, you are also easily susceptible to distractions. Much more easily susceptible than say Writer Jonah that lives up the street and works for that big swanky office.

    See, Writer Jonah has a schedule and an office he has to commute to at certain times each day. Heís got responsibilities that he has to leave at home to focus on the job at hand. Not to mention things like strictly enforced deadlines and such. Writer Jonah has a J.O.B.

    That means his day and your day as a freelancer likely looks vastly different.

    And let’s face it, we like that it looks different. As freelancers, that’s why we set up shop for ourselves to begin with. The allure of freedom, the promise of lazy days, a steady influx of cash, and ahh… “The Writer’s Life”.

    Only the “Freelance Writer’s Life” is in all reality a landmine of potential distractions, derailed plans, and a constant niggling feeling that there was something you were supposed to do today and itís still not done, whatever it was.

    Sound familiar?

    That said there are 6 ways to royally distract yourself and waste some time if you’re so inclined. Although I suggest that if you have deadlines to meet, clients clamoring for your attention, and potential money to be made…

    Perhaps skip these 6 time wasters and jump right into the being productive part. You’ll thank me later! And I bet as a bonus, your clients will thank you.

    1. Sleep late. Like – every day or something.

    Seriously, I know it feels great to sleep past 10am on a lazy Sunday morning but letís be real. Everyday isn’t Sunday, and you shouldn’t treat it as such. While you’re happily ensconced in your bed snoring like a freight train, the rest of the working world is up with the birds, and banging out results like there’s no tomorrow.

    If I start my day at 7am and you get up at 11am… I’ve now got 4 hours of work on you. And unfortunately the later the day runs, the less productive we tend to get. So do yourself a favor and make like the birds. Rise early and start your day off right.Or not, but don’t complain and wonder where all your time went when suddenly itís 8pm and you’re exhausted…and still not done.

    Keep irregular hours. Break for movies … and brunch … and a haircut while you’re at it.

    Yes, I know that one of the biggest draws of being a freelancer is setting your own hours, and having the ability to catch a mid-day movie if you feel like it. However that is not conducive to a productive day, and there is a reason businesses have ‘office hours’. Put simply, having set hours works. It keeps you on track, it keeps your business thriving, and it keeps your cash flow in the black.

    So keep crazy hours if you want, maybe just to prove you can. But if you’re serious about your success, set yourself a schedule and stick to it.Does that mean you can’t be flexible sometimes?Of course not.You are your own boss after all. Just don’t make it habit if you’re in it to win it with this whole freelancing gig.

    Forget to hang your ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign when you begin working.

    OK, so really – if you allow yourself to be sidetracked then what are you accomplishing for the day? When you’re working, make it clear to all that you’re working. That means close your door and hang a sign or take off to the library if you must to get some blessed peace and quiet.Peace and quiet means you can think straight which means you can write.

    If you leave your door wide open, it’s like inviting your kids or your spouse to come inside and interrupt you. And guess what? They’ve got no clue if you’re on a roll and more often than not what happens next?That interruption totally ruined your writing mojo and it’s going to take time for you to get back into the ‘flow’. Interruptions = Time wasters.So do yourself a favor and discourage distractions, don’t invite them.

    On the topic of distractions – go ahead and let technology have its merry way with you.

    We live in an age of technological wonder. Everything is there, right at our fingertips. Unfortunately for you as a freelancer this means you’re vulnerable to massive amounts of time wasted on a daily basis.And the sad thing is that the time is often gone before you even realize it’s gone!Things like email, web surfing, Twitter and Facebook are all great tools for inspiration.

    As a writer you need things that can trigger a bit of inspiration sometimes. But beware that these tools don’t end up eating you for breakfast and leaving you wondering where the heck your day went.Not to mention other technology like phone chats, instant messenger, television, video games and the like – all massive time wasters when you allow them to get between you and your goals. So have fun and enjoy technology, but I highly recommend you don’t allow it to rule your life.

    Think about writing, talk about writing, dream about writing – do everything but…

    actually write. Thinking, dreaming, and talking about writing doesn’t get it done. Anything you’re doing along those lines, while it may ‘feel’ good, or make you ‘feel’ like a writer – doesn’t make you one. It’s a time waster.The only thing that makes you a writer is writing already. And then writing some more.And some more after that.

    Until literally your poor little brain is so drained not another word can be eeked from within its murky depths. Then you might be a writer. But by all means, if you’ve got time to spare go right ahead and think, talk, and dream of writing. Just don’t expect to get very far, please your clients, or meet your goals. Just sayin’.

    And finally? Scoff at being organized.

    Really do you know how much time is wasted each day when you’re less than organized, and less than efficient?OK, so I haven’t exactly timed it, but I know it’s a lot!I know this because I am notoriously disorganized. But I’ve forced myself to become a semi-organized freelancer simply because…stuff gets done.

    If you can’t even implement a simple system to keep track of your projects, your client projects, your notes and ideas, and your commitments- you can bet that a huge chunk of your time is out the window.It’s gone while you hunt around for that quote you gave that client that time – or you dig furiously looking for that little scrap of paper you wrote that book idea on – or you sit and ponder about that appointment you ‘think’ you made for tomorrow (but in reality it was for yesterday).

    In that last particular situation, not only have you wasted your time you’ve also wasted your potential client’s time who booked the appointment in the first place.Great way to impress folks with your freelancing prowess I might add! (That was sarcasm in its nicest possible form by the way.)

    Moral of this little story about ways to waste your time as a fledgling freelancer?

    Do all of the above if your goals are to waste time and not actually write. However if you really want to be a writer

    • Rise early.
    • Set a schedule.
    • Discourage distractions.
    • Ban technology.
    • Get organized.
    • And write already!

    Now.

    How about you?

    Got any tricks to keep your time wasting to a minimum? I’d love to hear them.

    About the author

      Cori Padgett

      Cori is a wildly hire-able freelance 'ghost' as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blog Big Girl Branding. You can also stalk her on Twitter if you really want to.

    • Writing in itself is a waste of time. And energy. It is also NOT a profession ; a “profession” is something that people can “live on” (pay rent/house/car note/bills, ect). Glorified waste of time is the only thing that describes writing.

      • Kat Eden says:

        What a ridiculously false and unnecessary comment. One can only assume that this means YOU have not been successful at writing. I wish you all the best at creating a profession out of whatever you love to do, but please don’t make snarky comments about something you clearly are not qualified to comment on.

      • I totally agree with Kat Eden.

        The comment is totally idiotic and obviously comes from an ignorant person.

        I have made an average of over $100,000 in pretax income per year for the last 6 years by working 4 hours a day from my writing and self-publishing.

        And there are many writers that do much better than me, both in the fiction and non-fiction areas.

        Writing is not all about financial gain, however.

        Writing a book that is read by hundreds of thousands of readers is a chance to share your view of the world and to get a lot of great praise and positive feedback in return, something that most “professionals” as well as ordinary workers never ever get regardless of how much money they make or how many hours a day they work.

        • That comment was clearly meant to get people to respond to or it is completely ignorant! While I am not at your level Ernie – you are right – it is not just about the money. Most writers do it because they love to write and even if they only make $20,000 a year, it is still a profession.

          I am not sure what that person was referring to when he mentioned “writing is not a profession” because last I checked there are authors out that making more than enough to “pay bills” and “live off of” so it is a completely false and an obvious provocative statement. Here’s to the writing profession!

    • Oh and you can always use Odesk to outsource things like managing email.. although if you plan on writing for pay, you’ll need to warm up to it a bit to keep in touch with clients and potential clients. 🙂

    • Hi Angela.. I’d recommend getting out of your own way a bit. Being overly critical over your work, and scared to let others see it for fear of criticism won’t move you forward.

      The best way to begin something is by just beginning. As you begin to take action, you’ll gain momentum and find action becomes easier and easier.

      Blogging is great because it can help motivate you as you begin to build a community, but you need to use it as a platform to launch other things, not so much a ‘business model’ in and of itself.

      If you already have a blog, I’d recommend using it as a way to showcase your writing skills, and share what you know… and make it known you write for pay as well, if that’s your ultimate goal.

      The next step is to just start writing. Block out time each day to devote to writing for your blog, and also be proactive about finding freelance gigs. The Problogger job board could be a great place to start.

      You won’t know if you can succeed at doing something until you bite the bullet and try, so I think that should be your main goal.. start trying and as you go, you’ll gain more confidence and experience.

      There is also a link to a ghostwriting course on my site that my friend Jenn Dize created. She’s an excellent teacher and goes through what you need to do from a-z in order to start your own ghosting service and begin making money. I pretty much got my start from her as well, before she even invented the course, so you’d be in good hands. 🙂

      Hope some of this is helpful, thanks Angela.

      C

    • Ángela says:

      So I find that I have all the great qualities of being a writer:

      1)I love waking up early. (Usually before the sun rises so I can get my exercise in, which means dance like a fool and do some yoga.)

      2)I can be sucked into an idea for ungodly long chunks of time. (ave.= 6hrs. straight) It’s just sometimes when they happen is out of my control.

      3)I definitely loved making my “Working on the Self” sign when I lived at a 34 person co-op. (I find it kinda rude though now that I’m back living at home, if my parents really need me for something. But I can always warn them ahead of time!)

      4)I am sorta anti-technology. I do not have, nor do I wish to have a Facebook or Twitter account. Emails bore me. (Blogging is the only real distraction but I enjoy doing that at night, so no problem there.)

      5)This is the only one that STUMPS me! I am young, inexperienced and scared to take the first step. 🙁

      6)I love being organized. I used to think it was a determining factor as to whether you were a boring, old adult with no sense of adventure…until I drove myself crazy not feeling very competent when I didn’t know where ANYTHING was. Ha! So, now I love the fact that I have “special places” for EVERYTHING! Keys on a lanyard and lanyard hanging out of purse or rolling luggage-check! Shoe laces tied together and shoes at the front of the room by the door-check! Favorite books to read by nightstand-check! Black and blue pens in blue stained-glass cup-check! Etc.

      So, my biggest challenge is actually writing! Funny huh? And although I have been writing since I can remember. Seriously, when I was really young I would write letters, songs, stories and this has continued and flourished into plays, scripts and blogging. However, none have been published. None have been read by many (only a select few for I am sensitive, without criticism). And rarely can I go back and read any without seeing all their flaws. So what may have been really great considering the content and age, etc., is now not good enough.

      Suggestions?

      Thanks!

    • Petula says:

      Great post and, unfortunately, so true! Sometimes I conquer these time wasters and sometimes I don’t. I think I’m often so busy trying to keep traffic up (my blog) and make a little dollar that I ultimately waste time. One of the tricks I’ve used to keep my time wasting to a minimum is to say I can have another cup of coffee (or Peanut M&Ms or whatever my latest craving is) if I finish XYZ post or follow up with a client or whatever it is.

      • Hey Petula! Excellent strategy too! I often reward myself with a short break to goof off or grab a snack when I’ve worked productively for a set amount of time. Sometimes it helps give a little added motivation! lol

    • All great tips that can apply even to those that have day jobs! Since we can’t really sleep in or always set or own schedule, the other 4 DO apply. I think as a part time freelance writer, those steps are even MORE important! Time management is KEY! Especially the technology-sucking-you-in part. I only wish I could get better at it! Hmmm…maybe I should Google that…

      • Hey Julie! 🙂 Agreed, time management is super important. The last two weeks have been very busy for me, so I’ve had to do a little practicing of my preaching lol! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and please! Step away from Google! 😀

        C

    • Kim says:

      Great post! I’m guilty of several of these, and I’m conscious of how they eat into my workday. Time to get serious and put a stop to these time-sucking practices.

      • Thx Kim! 🙂 They definitely eat into your productivity, so good luck with overcoming them… I know you can do it! 🙂

        C

    • Eric C says:

      This was awesome.

    • Janet Lane says:

      Oh, no – you caught me surfing! Been there, done that with all of them. Gotta run, thanks for the morning entertainment. It’s still morning, yes?

      • LOL.. 🙂 Not quite morning here, but perhaps where you are?!

    • Issa says:

      Cori, I’m so guilty as charged, haha. Yes, being a freelance writer can be a life full of distractions. Even Facebook keeps me from doing what I have to do, like playing Farmville instead of writing. I think one must have the will to reinforce writing for work, like using a reminder app on the web.

      • Lol.. yep Facebook can be a biggie! 😀 A great way to keep your focus is work in time bound increments..I use Focus Booster (you can google it, it’s a desktop app) sometimes when I want to pump out a really productive day, with 25 minutes of work, and then 5 minutes to goof off. 🙂

        C

    • Hi, don’t know if it’s just me, but the links to to Big Girl Branding, at the top and bottom of the post, don’t seem to be working properly.
      As for writing discipline, I set myself a word count. If I fall short today, I have to make it up tomorrow. If I get really behind, my whole weekend could be taken out. That seems to focus my attention.
      In fact, I then strive to get ahead, in case I need a bit of slack sometime. The more I can get ahead of my word count, the easier it is for me to allow myself a day off if necessary.

      • Nope, not just you, and I completely didn’t even realize it! I just notified them though, so hopefully it will be fixed. In the mean time the direct link is http://www.biggirlbranding.com. 🙂 Weird posting accidents, they happen!

        And that’s an excellent strategy as well Simon.. I do that sometimes as well, focusing on a word count. Although when you do fall behind, it becomes a bit daunting thinking about all those words! LOL 🙂

        Warm regards,
        C

    • Just to let you know that I sleep in until at least noon each day. And I am proud of it. I am also well off financially, having earned this status from my writing.

      Perhaps this could be in line with a recent study which found that, contrary to popular belief, people who stay up late and sleep in late, are actually more productive and creative than people who keep normal hours. If you would like to read the study, I will track it down on the Internet (I saved the hard copy from the newspaper to show my friends and acquaintances who have been fooling themselves about how productive they are because they get up early).

      Incidentally, I also break all the other rules that you give. One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Edison who said, “There aren’t any rules around here. We are trying to accomplish something.”

      Just last night I had the pleasure of making a keynote speech on opening night of the Edmonton Toastmasters 3-day Convention and breaking some rules at the same time.

      See my blog post on Redroom.com at:

      http://www.redroom.com/blog/ernie-j-zelinski/public-speaking-do-it-badly-but-least-do-it

      Indeed, I may have broke all the rules and principles of public speaking that Toastmasters advocates to its members. Guess what? I did extremely well and wound receiving raving compliments from the audience. One of the statements I made to the Toastmasters group was, “Hard work is for losers.” I then asked if anyone in the audience wanted to defend it by coming up in front of the other 200+ members in the audience. Much to my surprise I had a lot of takers, but had to settle for only one person due to time contraints. She did a great job, by the way.

      One of my mottos is “Do It Badly – But at Least Do It!” This is the only principle that one needs to follow to get things accomplished. I used this motto when I self-published my first book and still use it today, particularly to start my websites to help promote my books. Most people don’t know this, but generally speaking, ugly websites make more money than professionally designed websites. I learned this from some of the top Internet Marketing gurus in the world, including Tom Antion, who makes anywhere from $75,000 to $300,000 a month from Internet Marketing, working from his home office. Check out Tom’s flagship website at http://www.tomantion.com. Not very professional, wouldn’t you say. But this guy gets results. And as Jack Canfield says, “Results don’t lie.”

      I could go on why it can be productive to break the rules that are supposed to define common wisdom, but I find that when I try to post workable principles that go against convention, the blogger normally doesn’t approve the comments.

      I have the last laugh, however, because of the results I get, including having had my books sell over 650,000 copies worldwide and having had the books published in 21 languages in 28 countries.

      I also have ulgy websites that come in the number 1 spot on Google. For example, type in “retirement poems” into Google and you will see that not only the number 1 position, but also the number 2 position, are occupied by my websites used to promote my retirement book. I have learned how to get these incredible results, as any SEO expert will attest these results are, by sleeping until noon each day.

      One last note: I am submitting this comment at almost 5 AM and will likely sleep until well past noon.

      Ernie J. Zelinski
      “The Creativity Guy Too Prosperous to Do Mornings”
      Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Unconventional Career Expert
      Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
      (Over 120,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
      and the “International Bestseller The Joy of Not Working”
      (Over 240,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

      • LMAO!! Well good for you Ernie! You rebel you. 🙂 I tend to stay up later than I should and sleep later than I should, especially during summer hours. So I suppose I’m breaking my own rules. lol

        But once school goes back in, I find that rising early to get what I want accomplished done works best for me. I think it largely depends on the individual, as well as their priorities, including those that lie outside of writing.

        However, if you’ve found a system and method that works for you, and you’re happy with where you’re going, then no need to make changes or “follow the rules”.

        The problem is that not everyone is able to be productive at 5am, nor are they able to sleep until noon. So you need to create a system and schedule that’s tailored to YOU, which it sounds like you’ve already done. 🙂

        And I agree with your motto of ‘just doing it’. It’s a losing game to wait around, hoping for the perfect result or perfect conditions to do something..it’ll never happen. So definitely taking action and just getting busy can be a great thing!

        Thanks for the uber long and thoughtful comment hun!

        Warmest
        c

    • Great list, I really do need to get more organized, although there’s not quite the same risk of losing client info when it’s all focus on one novel in progress. I can’t stick to rising early and keeping set hours, however. Just aint gonna happen. I agree that in a lot of situations, especially when your schedule isn’t the only one in the house, erratic hours and sleeping late won’t help things, but I find my natural rhythms push me late into the night anyway, and I get plenty of good writing done there, so it’s no loss if I sleep later.

      I also keep, not necessarily erratic, but segmented hours, rather than sit and have my legs go numb for eight hours straight. If I’m on a roll, I can just write for ages, but otherwise I may break the day up a bit, writing for a couple hours, and then when I start staring off out the window, I go do something else useful, get errands done, etc, and come back to writing again during the evening, then again after Hubby goes to bed, until I finally feel tired. It’s not consecutive, but I agree it does need to be firm, so it forces me to show up, and also so I don’t just wave off an entire day of productivity by deciding to watch a 24-hour marathon of Looney Tunes (ah, I wish!)

      • Hey Hayley! If you’ve got a rhythm that works for you, then stay with it.. some folks don’t function on a regimented schedule well, and some fare much better writing and working in segments as you mentioned. But if you find yourself being less productive than you could be, it might be time to reevaluate your patterns. 🙂

        C

    • Tyrean says:

      Guilty as charged on all six counts of time wasting.

      I may not sleep in often, but I often start my day with exercise, then sometimes I get to work, and sometimes . . . I don’t.

      Thanks for the post, and the list of time wasters. I may have to post it next to my workspace.

      • 🙂 Excellent idea hun! I’m the same at times..I rise early because of my boys, and decide to hit the gym, etc.. then before I know it it’s 10am and I haven’t even started!

        C

    • Kat Eden says:

      Get up early. Sigh. I know this is the best time to write but the problem is my 6 month old daughter thinks 5.30 is playtime. So for me to get up early and have writing time I’d have to get up at 4 or something! And then by the time she’s ready to nap my ‘real’ day is beginning. Somehow I squeeze it in, but man do I wish I had the occasional moment of solitude!!

      • Lol.. I know Kat.. early sucks. 🙂 But they’re only that little for so long and before you know it you’ll be wishing you can squish them back to size! 🙂 And when you do get that moment of peace you’ll end up feeling like you’ve got nothing to do!

        c

    • KellieS says:

      Wow, the thing that gets me every time is my kids. So, I guess the “do not disturb” sign would be a good tool for me. The thing is…I wonder if they would just ignore it and come on in anyway. Probably. I might need to upgrade that sign to a giant water bomb above my door…;D

      • I know the feeling! My kids constantly interrupt me.. and now we have an infant part-time, lol and when he’s here virtually NOTHING gets done! But I think the giant water bomb is an excellent idea! LOL

        C

    • Stephanie says:

      This is one of the core reasons why I can’t be a freelance anything. I always find myself pulling away from what I’m suppose to be doing to go finish that last “episode” of a series I was watching on TV and I constantly tell myself, “Okay after this, I will start working on this project”

      Except I never actually do get that that important project.

      • Yes that’s definitely a problem. I’d suggest working on your self-discipline in general… I used to be really bad too, but the more I practice and work on prioritizing, the better I get at it! 🙂

        Thanks for commenting!

        C

    • I couldn’t have stumbled across this article at a better time. I started two days ago writing my novel and treating it like a job since I’m not teaching over the summer. I have myself a deadline and a daily quota wordcount. However, I find myself falling victim to a lot of the things you mention in this article.

      Today, for instance, I woke up at 10am and settled in to write. Here it is 1:07 by my clock, and I have not yet written my 2,000 words for the day, but I have managed to eat a bowl of Kix, tweet a bit, clear out my Google reader, and start installing Free Realms on my newest Firefox install. Now, I’m almost to my 2k, but I feel–like you mentioned–that my day has gone out from under me and that I have accomplished nothing.

      I don’t like that feeling. So I have now set my alarm for when I had to get up every day during this semester to make it for class, and I intend to come in here and have my novel writing done no later than noon. Blogging can be afternoon/night, but my novel has to be done in the morning, before noon. And the only way I can feasibly do that is by cutting out the distractions and getting up early.

      So thank you for that swift kick in the pants, just when I needed it.

      • That is awesome! 😀 Glad I could give you a swift kick! I’m keeping my step-son the next couple of days, and have been attempting to work myself. But despite rising earlier, I’ve got little to nothing done today too! lol

        But next week I plan on refocusing and your plan to be done with ‘work’ by noon and saving the fun stuff for later is an EXCELLENT one. 🙂

        Good luck with your book and thanks so much for commenting!

        Warm regards,
        C

    • Great stuff, Cori. I’d add “Multitask at every opportunity” to the list: the great modern self-deception. Neatly fits under “Let tech have its merry way with you.”

      And under “Scoff at organization,” I’d add “Be sure to keep a messy desk.” Many writers pride themselves on the extent of clutter on their desktops. But try clearing it all away…and keep it that way…and discover how much more productive you’ll be.

      • Hey Bob! Good to see you! 🙂 Agreed on both counts! Especially that messy desk one, reminds me that it’s time to de-clutter my own desk again.. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

        Warm regards, C

    • Alison says:

      LeechBlock (an add-on for Firefox) has been a lifesaver in terms of keeping the technology time-sucks at bay. You can set specific times when it will block your access to, say, Facebook, Twitter, GMail, YouTube (blush), etc.

      I’ve also found that getting the heck out of my house is key to getting work done. If I go to a local coffee shop or the library, I can get a fair bit of work done, but if I am at home, there’s always one more load of laundry that needs to be done. And the dishwasher needs to be reloaded. And why is that pile of catalogs sitting there? Etc., ad nauseum.

      • Yes! I know that feeling! lol I’m constantly feeling as if something needs to be done around the house while I’m working, which totally sidetracks me and sits in my brain, splitting my focus.

        Getting out of the house is a great suggestion too, I like to go to my local smoothie shop. 🙂

        Thanks so much for the comment Alison!

        Warm regards,
        C

    • Shevonne says:

      Great advice! I’m going full-time at the end of May, so this is something that I should have as my mantra hanging on my bathroom mirror 🙂

      • Lol! Good for you Shevonne! 🙂 Love your name btw. Congrats on going full-time soon, you’ll love it! And definitely, print it out and pin it to your mirror! I do stuff like that all the time for things I want to be reminded of regularly. lol

        Thanks so much for the comment!

        Warm regards,
        C

    • Helen says:

      Ouch every one of them hit home. Especially getting up early when you don’t have to. That is just an absolute killer!

      • LOL.. I know it Helen! I loathe rising early when I don’t have to. Luckily my boys are in school, so I’m sort of forced to and I’ve just pushed myself into the habit of staying up and working rather than climbing back into bed! 😀

        Thanks for taking the time to comment!

        Warm regards,
        C

    • Hi Justelise! Thanks for the observation. There was proper spacing in fact, but it was reformatted a bit in the process of being posted and it looks like some of the sentences ended up a bit crunched together. Human error, no one is perfect, especially me, but I don’t think it negates the over-all message. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, have a great day!

      Warm regards,
      C

    • justelise says:

      The fact that there are no spaces after the periods in half of the sentences in this post makes it hard for me to take it seriously, especially since it’s about writing.

    • Having clearly defined goals helps me. I don’t have to break it down step-by-step or anything, but a specific destination does help me keep focused.

      When I get up in the morning, I can get right to work when I already know where I’m going. When something comes up to distract me, it’s easier for me to keep working because I know I’m not done yet. Knowing where I’m going helps me keep working to get there.

      • Excellent observation Matthew! I often write a list before bed of things I want to get done the next day, on little index cards. I focus on the 5 biggies, and if I can knock those out then I reward myself with a bit of goof off time before I start working on other goals.

        But it’s definitely helpful to pre-plan because when I don’t I find myself sitting down at my desk in the morning and wondering where to start!

        Thanks so much for taking the time to comment hun!

        C

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Cori,

      Excellent and thought-provoking article!

      I’ll be the first to admit I fall prey to a couple of these. Perhaps it would be better stated that I CHOOSE a couple of them.

      1) I do keep irregular hours, but I like that and will probably continue to do so. It’s my style and one of the things I value most about my lifestyle and not being in an office.

      2) The web surfer part. Ah, that hit home! I find myself on Twitter frequently. The upside, I’m a blogger and feel that Twitter is a key aspect of building my business. Yet, potential Twitter beware, it can be addictive! I somehow find these fingers going back again and again when my time could be better spent accomplishing a couple things on the proverbial list!

      3) And about that list! Yes, I do make lists and I do value organization. Again, back to #1, I do like flexibility and that is part of my style. So, while I can be very structured I may never be as organized as I might be were I to stay strictly on task.

      Maybe the above works for me because although my blog (and writing eBooks) is my part-time occupation, although it feels full-time. I have a full-time job (which is very independent and allows for freedom) and 2 part-time jobs.

      Anyway, I love your suggestions and I’m going to give them more thought and see what I can incorporate to be even more productive. Thanks!

      • Hey Lauren! Yes that is the allure of working for ourselves, lol it’s seductive to know you can work when and where you want. I try to structure as much as I can though for the simple fact that if I don’t, it’s way too easy to talk myself into goofing off and getting a whole lot of nada done that day. LOL

        And I’m a Twitter-holic as well, don’t feel bad. I find I have to turn my new tweet alerts off, otherwise every 5 minutes I’m giving myself an excuse to check Twitter!

        And wow, 3 jobs! You go girl! 😀

        Thanks so much for commenting Lauren!

        C

    • I’ve conquered the majority of those time wasters but admit to having an erratic schedule. It works for me though because I’m disciplined and have years of working at home under my belt. That said, when writing was a part-time endeavor and when I first started working at home, I worked a set schedule until I knew I could be trusted “off leash.”

      • Excellent advice Jean! I too occasionally work odd hours, but it is primarily because I’ve learned to schedule my time and work properly. But for the most part I attempt to stick to a regular schedule simply because I have kids and family obligations that always come first, and I find that working a schedule similar to my kids school schedule allows me to get the most done! lol

        Thanks so much for the comment!

        P.S. Does discipline come naturally to you or do you find you’ve had to work at it and cultivate it? I definitely struggle with self-discipline in a lot of areas of my life, so I’m a current work in progress! 😀

        warm regards,
        C

        • I struggle with self-discipline too, but I’ve learned to tune in to myself right away so I can try to figure out what’s really going on. Quite often it’s that my creative spirit needs some time to sit by the water or go on an artist’s date. And sometimes I just need chocolate. With the proper indulgences here and there I find I behave quite well the rest of the time 🙂


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