Time Management for Copywriters

Time management for copywritersThe life of a copywriter can be a lonely one.

They spend many hours alone, working their magic on the English language to create powerful and persuasive sales copy that will blow their clients’ (and their customers’) socks off.

By there lies a potential problem.

How can you make sure you’re working efficiently when you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder?

Below are a few tips on how to make sure you don’t end up wasting time.

1. Remove distractions

If you work from a home office, it’s very easy to get distracted. Whether it’s by visitors, home phones ringing,  that book you’re desperate to finish  or the temptation to pop out of the office to take care of a household chore or two, they must be ignored.

Having a dedicated office, is a must. You can organise it in a way to suit you without having to clear your things away every evening.

If you work from the kitchen table, just think how much time you waste every week setting your bits and bobs up to start work and then clearing them away again so you can use the table to eat with the family.

2. No Facebook or YouTube

Even though you’re sat in front of a computer most of the day, it doesn’t mean you can idly search the web for your entertainment.

And just in case you were thinking that if no one sees you it doesn’t matter – it does.

Make a rule for yourself that you only ‘play’ online once your working day is over. That way, you can remain focused on the projects you’re working on during the day.

3. Learn to say ‘no’

Unless you want to be working silly hours to try and get your work done and deadlines met, you’ve got to learn to say ‘no’ to those clients who just want one more thing (and usually don’t want to pay for it), to colleagues who just call for a chat, to family who make demands on your time (especially during school holidays) and to projects you know you really can’t squeeze in.

That might sound harsh, but when working from a home office it has to be done now and then.

Make sure your family understand that, even though you work from home, you are still working and they have to respect your work time. And, if you’ve decided you only want to work a certain number of hours a week, stick to it and don’t take on that extra project that’s going to eat into your weekend.

It’s all too easy to end up taking on so much work you’re at your desk 24/7. So be sensible, decide on the number of hours you’re going to work and stick to it.

4. Calendar

Keeping a calendar is a simple but effective way of making sure you hit all your deadlines.

When you’re working on several projects simultaneously, it’s all too easy to lose sight of when each section of work has to be completed.

It will also give you an overview of your capacity for future projects to help prevent you from over committing yourself.

5. Daily to-do list

Don’t laugh, it really does help.

At the beginning of each week I make a plan of what I need to do and when. That way, I make sure my blogging fits in with my client work and meetings. And of course, it also helps to make sure nothing slips through the next.

Yes, it does have to be flexible because you never know what might come in, but at least it’s a way to plan your week effectively.

6. Email watching

OK, hands up if you have that little annoying pop up thingy that appears on your screen every time an email comes in.

It’s so distracting I want you to turn it off immediately.

Limit yourself to checking your emails once, twice or even three times a day. That way, you can get on with the task in hand without being distracted by an intriguing subject line.

7. Timed work slots

This is a great way to make sure you don’t run out of steam during the day.

From your to-do list, you’ll know what you need to do each day. So, allocate a time slot for each task. Once that time is up, have a break – leave the office, make a coffee, wander round the garden or even take the dogs for a walk.

Then, you will return to your desk refreshed and ready to tackle the next task.

Over to you

These are 7 things I’ve found really useful since becoming a copywriter.

Do you have other ways of managing your time?

If so, leave a comment below.

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#1 Rob Biesenbach on 05.23.12 at 2:19 pm

I love to-do lists. I keep weekly and daily ones. One of the best time management tips I’ve heard and try to practice is to only “touch” incoming items once. Whether it’s an email or something physical entering your inbox, you act on it when you read it — answer it, file it or delete it. Our tendency is to let these things linger and come back to them over and over.

#2 admin on 05.24.12 at 8:03 am

Great tip Rob, thanks.

#3 Richard Moldovanyi on 05.23.12 at 7:29 pm

These are all great tips. While being a freelance copywriter is a great opportunity to set your own schedule and work from home, you certainly need to establish a “structure” to be more productive.

#4 Barnaby Patchett on 05.24.12 at 2:22 pm

I find one of the best ways to break up the day is to write daily to do lists, then reward myself with a ‘brain-break’ (sbrowse the net, cup of tea etc.) every time I tick something off.

#5 admin on 05.24.12 at 2:31 pm

Great idea, thanks Barnaby.

#6 Joanne Tombrakos on 05.28.12 at 2:18 pm

I start with an egg timer. I swear by it so much I wrote an entire book on the subject called It Takes An Egg Timer, a Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life.

#7 diventare copywriter on 07.28.12 at 12:13 am

Nice post, really, i was looking for something like this.
If i can, i will suggest an other tips.

Have a break after 2h. for just 10min. and look or read other website, without think to job.

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