Morning Routine” Flickr photo by Liz West shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license.

3 Ways to Add Structure to Your Freelance Work Day

One of the best things about being a freelance writer is the ability to control my day. For the most part, this is completely amazing, but sometimes having too much freedom can backfire.

If I don’t structure my workday, I’ll fail — it’s that simple. Personally, I’m always looking for new ways to become more efficient. I’m constantly trying to figure out if I should get up earlier, sleep later, or exercise at lunchtime to maximize productivity. I’ve determined it’s a work in progress, and I’m okay with that.

Some aspects of my daily routine change frequently, but I couldn’t function without the following three practices. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful as well.

1. Live by Google Calendar

When clients count on you to complete work by a certain date, you can’t let them down. If you think you’ll remember when each assignment is due, you’re crazy. Personally, I put each and every assignment on my Google Calendar. I delete it as soon as I submit it to the client, which makes it easy to know exactly what’s on my agenda.

2. Set a Daily Earnings Goal

People always tell me they wouldn’t be able to motivate themselves to get work done if they were a freelancer. The thing is, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Admittedly, sometimes it’s quite tempting to spend a Tuesday on the couch watching Lifetime movies all day, but I don’t.

When I first struck out as a freelance writer, I set a daily monetary goal for myself. This makes it easy to stay motivated on days when I don’t have any deadlines, and keeps me from falling behind. Of course, the goal is just a guideline and there are many days where my earnings are above or below it, but it’s a hugely effective way to stay on track.

3. Block Distracting Websites

It recently occurred to me that I spend way too much time on the Internet — non-work-related — during the day. Constantly checking sites like Facebook does nothing but disrupt my train of thought and make assignments take double the time to complete.

Thankfully, I found the most amazing answer to my little problem — the Block Site Chrome extension. This amazing tool allows me to block distracting websites during set time periods each day, which helps me stay focused. It also has a work mode setting that allows you to block any website(s) you want for 25-minute increments.

I can’t tell you how much time this extension has added back into my day, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.