High productivity is one of the most important ingredients to success as a freelance B2B copywriter or writer.
The faster you’re able to get projects done, the more money you’ll make on those projects. You’re getting them done in less time, while being paid the same rate.
The more marketing and prospecting you get done over the course of a day or a week, the more prospects find out about you, and the more business you’ll have coming in.
Plus, the more productive you are, the more rewarded you’ll be in terms of income. So increasing your productivity by just 10 or 15 percent can create a significant boost to your freelance income.
On the flip side, when your productivity plummets, and you aren’t as productive as you want to be, you really feel it. Projects take longer to get done. Maybe your self-promotion activities don’t get done. It can have a huge impact on your business.
Being self-employed is not like being an employee. When you’re an employee at a company and you’re not as productive as you should be, there are many ways to camouflage that. Other people can cover for you. You may be able to extend the deadlines. You can take some sick days.
But when you’re self-employed and your productivity goes down, you feel it very quickly. And when your productivity goes up, you feel it right away, and reap the benefits right away.
So I’d like to give you some tips on how to rev up your productivity and keep it high.
These tips are evergreen.
If you do these things, you will become more productive. This isn’t just a one-time thing. Incorporate these habits into your workday, and you’ll consistently get more done.
I follow these tips and have seen how well they work. So, let’s go through the six tips to rev up your productivity…
#1. Have a Schedule
Make a plan today for what you need to do tomorrow. Decide what time you’re starting work and block out the time you need for your writing projects.
For example, maybe from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. you’re working on project A, then from 11:00 a.m. to noon you’re making phone calls, and then from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., you’re working on project B.
There should never be any mystery about what you’re going to work on each day and how long you’re going to work on each project.
Of course, during the day, things change. You might get things done a little faster. So you rearrange your schedule accordingly to take advantage of the extra time. You may get some interruptions or something unexpected happens. That’s fine. But at least start the day with a plan.
It kills your productivity if you don’t have a plan and you simply say, “Okay. Well, tomorrow, I might work on such-and-such. And I’ll start whenever I get up in the morning.”
I understand the appeal of that approach. But it kills productivity.
Have a schedule. Block out the times you’re going to spend on certain tasks or projects. You can change it if you need to, but you’ll always have a plan as a reference.
#2. Be Realistic When You Schedule Your Time
Be realistic when you’re blocking out projects on your schedule. Give yourself plenty of time.
Some productivity gurus say to do just the opposite — they believe you’ll work faster under a tight deadline.
But I find that approach really doesn’t work for me or other B2B copywriters. Instead, it’s better to block out plenty of time.
If it normally takes you two hours to get something done, block out two and a half, or even three hours on your schedule.
You want to be able to sit down and start working on a project without unneeded stress, which can actually kill productivity.
You want to be able to jump into a project or a task knowing you have plenty of time to do it. So be realistic when you’re scheduling your time.
#3. Eat That Frog Before Lunch
I got this strategy from Brian Tracy’s book, Eat that Frog. He recommends that you attack your most intimidating task first thing in the morning so you don’t dread doing it all day.
Here’s how I’ve applied this strategy over the past couple of years to really increase my productivity.
I pick a project or a task that I must get done that particular day. It may be writing a website. It may be coming up with a plan for a series of emails for a client — something where I think, “Man, if I can accomplish that today, that will make the whole day worthwhile.” And then I schedule that first and try to get it done before lunch.
If it’s a larger project, obviously, I won’t get the whole project done before lunch, but maybe there’s a significant milestone I can reach.
The rest of the day is a bonus because I’m thinking, “Wow. I got that big thing done. And now, I can work on some other things this afternoon without worrying that I haven’t accomplished anything.”
The strategy gives you motivation. When you get something important done first thing in the morning, it just fuels your productivity for the afternoon. I’ve done this for the last couple of years and it’s really worked well for revving up my own productivity.
#4. Ride Your Productivity Peaks
I really believe there is a natural rhythm we all have when it comes to productivity. Everybody has highs and lows. Some people are very productive in the evenings, others prefer mornings.
When you try to be productive at the low end of your rhythm, you’re fighting against your natural rhythms of productivity. It’s counterproductive.
So pay attention to the time of the day you are naturally most productive. For me, I find that I’m naturally productive first thing in the morning, so I start work around 7:00 or 7:30 each day.
Those first two or three hours in the morning are very productive for me. I “eat my frog” first thing in the morning and take care of a project or task I want to get done when I’m at my peak productivity.
Afterwards, I go to the gym, have lunch, or walk the dog. And then in the afternoon, I hit a peak again around 1:30 p.m. and I’m very productive until about 5 or 5:30.
I have these two productivity peaks and I do the most important work during those peak times so I take advantage of my natural productivity rhythm.
Find out what your natural productivity rhythm is and then do your most important project work during those times.
#5. Challenge Yourself to be More Productive
Remember I said earlier that you should be realistic and block out plenty of time to get things done? That eliminates the stress that can kill productivity because you have plenty of time to get the project done.
Well, what you also want to do is to challenge yourself to be more productive. Make a game out of it.
Let’s say, for example, that you have to write an article or a blog post. And it normally takes you two hours at a comfortable pace to plan and think about and write and polish this article. So you block out two hours on your calendar and you have a comfortable, realistic pace.
But what you can do is challenge yourself. As you’re writing that article, you can say, “Hey, I wonder if I can get this done in 90 minutes? What if I can cut a half hour off my time?”
Challenge yourself. Just really go for it and try to beat your time and see if you can get the job done at the same level of quality in less time.
What you’re doing here is you’re building your productivity muscle. By challenging yourself, you’re making yourself more productive.
Give it a try. This only works if you have already given yourself enough time to get the project done where there’s no stress involved so it’s just a game.
If you’re putting yourself under pressure because you have a deadline and you have no choice but to push yourself, then it becomes a negative experience. And I find it doesn’t work as well.
#6. Take Regular Breaks
Take real breaks, not the kind of break where you sit back from your computer and yawn and stretch and then go back at it. That’s not a real break.
A break is when you get up away from your desk, walk out of your office. You’re not checking your email. You’re not checking anything else. You’re leaving work for a period of time.
Studies show that people who take regular breaks during the workday — real breaks where they actually leave their work — are much more productive than those who have their nose to the grindstone and never move from their desk.
Those people look like they’re productive because they never leave their desk and they’re not taking breaks.
But those who take real breaks during the day are actually more productive.
So take a healthy break. Walk around the park. Walk your dog. Just going out in the backyard for a few minutes does it for me sometimes.
Try these six evergreen productivity techniques. They’ll do wonders for your personal productivity and your overall success as a freelance B2B copywriter.
Are there productivity strategies that have worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.