Today marks the first day of full-time self-employment for me. For the past few months I’ve been working as a freelancer in my spare time as well as managing an office job during the day.
It’s been tough and that’s why I packed in my office job to work full-time as a freelancer.
Over the past few months, I’ve learned a lot about managing two writing jobs and also writing creatively in my spare time. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy, but I thought I’d share some tips here for anyone in a similar position.
Establish how many hours you have
The first step is to try and work out how many hours you have in the day left over from working, eating and sleeping and other essential tasks.
There could be time before work, your lunch hour, your commute and downtime after dinner. Try to note down all those snippets of time you could use throughout the day, no matter how small they may be.
Work out how many hours you have to dedicate to your writing or side project and see how much you can get done in this time.
Wake up earlier
First of all, I’m not suggesting sleep deprivation. You’ll need to go to bed earlier if you want to wake up early.
So, why not just work late?
Well, are you working late? After we come home from work, our energy isn’t at our highest. We’re tired, we’ve got other stuff to do, time to spend with family. Some people will write fine at this time, but if you find yourself putting it off regularly, perhaps it’s not the best time for you.
The early hours of the morning are a golden time. Everything is quiet, people are asleep and no one’s distracting you. You can dedicate this time fully to personal projects or side jobs or perhaps writing a novel.
Some of the top CEOs in the world start their days at 4, 5 or 6am. They’ve made the sacrifice of getting up earlier in order to get more out of the day and hey, it seems to be working for them.
You don’t need to be working on a business. It could be a novel, a screenplay or a poetry collection. Other people use this time to workout or meditate. Practising self care could also benefit your writing and your creativity.
Work out your best time of day
While those CEOs mentioned above are morning people, it doesn’t apply to everyone.
I’d definitely recommend trying the early wake-ups, but don’t see it as a failure if it doesn’t work for you. Please don’t feel bad if you’re simply not a morning person.
The key is to find out what time of day you’re at your best, and most creative, and use that time for your writing.
This will likely require a bit of experimentation and the results might surprise you. E.g. you might be more tired in the morning but able to think more creatively.
Use dead time effectively
Dead time refers to those little bits of time in between tasks and events where you’re not really doing anything. You could be commuting, waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting for food to be cooked.
You no doubt spend this time impatiently tapping your feet or scrolling through Twitter. But you could make better use of this time.
Learn to identify when these times crop up and make use of them. While you probably don’t have time to write a blog post or a chapter in your novel, you can use them to plot things out, take notes, do research. This makes it easier to sit down and get more writing done when you do have time.
Well I hope these little tips have helped somewhat. I think it’s always important to know how people manage their time and do things differently to us. It can inspire us to change our ways or think up new ideas to make things easier.
Onto you – how do you make time to write with a full time job? What do you struggle with the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.