AVOIDING PAJAMAS AND FOLLOWING A ROUTINE: How I Keep Up With My Freelance Deadlines – By Ingrid Cruz

AVOIDING PAJAMAS AND FOLLOWING A ROUTINE: How I Keep Up With My Freelance Deadlines – By Ingrid Cruz

We writers must stick to deadlines in order to maintain our career. Like many new freelancers, I had no routine when I began. Not only did this cost me jobs and money, but my disorganized work schedule started affecting other areas in my life as well.

Desperate for a solution to my problem, I asked for advice from fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs who were doing well. I tried several of their methods until I came up with a system to help me keep up with deadlines. Some people woke up at 5 a.m., had a personal trainer, or had other resources I didn’t. I knew that if I wanted to come up with a system for myself, I’d have to go with something much simpler.

The first thing I had to do was come up with a schedule. Whether you’re a morning person or night-owl, being a freelancer means you can tailor your schedule to suit your needs. I aim to start working by no later than 10 a.m. every day, and end at 6 p.m. This means I have no incentive to overwork myself or procrastinate.

My routine now consists of running 3-4 times per week. I wake up around 7.30 a.m. to do that. After that, I shower, eat breakfast, and change into something casual, but comfortable. This meant I stopped working in my pajamas. Changing into something as simple as a pair of jeans or a summer dress keeps me comfortable, and lets my brain know I am
no longer about to go to back to sleep.

I started keeping two calendars. One of them is in a traditional notebook and the other is a Google Calendar. I use the traditional notebook to jot down my to-do lists, deadlines, and other personal projects. I also schedule two hours per week when I will write pitches, queries, and continue to search for new opportunities. Google Calendar is where I schedule meetings, interviews, and other important phone calls. The last thing I had to do to get organized was track how often I got distracted so I could factor this into my negotiations for deadlines.

Finally, I also schedule things such as breaks, meals, and even important personal appointments with friends. Remember, even 9-5 jobs allow us to time for breaks, meals, and some personal matters. We writers have to do this for ourselves as well.

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Ingrid Cruz is a full-time freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Her website is www.ingridiswriting.com.



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