Tomato-timer on, world out! It’s amazing what one can achieve when they turn on a 25 minute timer, decide to focus solely on one task and eliminate the distractions around them.
Although I’m finding it difficult jumping over to the window every 5 minutes to knock and shush the nearby chirping birds. It’s a good complaint hey.
I’ve spent a lot of Mondays and Tuesdays faffing over this weekly blog (it’s been some 1.5 months since the last one, but who’s counting). So I decided I needed to reflect, rather than set big future goals that instead set me up for failure.
There are quite a few unfinished drafts sitting in the website, as I’d settle into write my Amble later in the evening.
Then I’d feel a little peckish… Oh, just a scroll here and there on Instagram, send a few messages.
Damn I’m feeling pretty tired. Ah I’ll finish this tomorrow!
So I’ve decided to carve out the time for Amble first thing on a Tuesday, leaving max. 1 hour to write it, add the photos and get it posted.
I used to also write it from my mind and try to think of parts as I went along, which only cranked up the time spent working on it.
But I’ve taken my own advice for this post and now quickly scribble a few notes in a separate document so I can refer back to them as I write.
While I’m here dishing out the writer tips, I may as well mention my good ol’ friend batching! Honestly, content batching is a life saver and is probably the easiest and most efficient way to write or do any important work in your life.
Batching is the process of grouping similar tasks together and doing them at the same time, uninterrupted, before moving onto the next task. Now, this might seem like an obvious thing to do.
Like when you were in school and you did maths homework first (pffft, you bet I left my dreaded maths homework until last, if I even got around to doing it!), then geography, English and so on.
But as a freelance writer, and a millennial who simply must check their phone every 15 minutes, there are A LOT of distractions to wade through. Checking emails, making a quick call, divulging juicy weekend happenings with the girls on messenger, writing client work and trying to figure out my own content strategy… there’s a lot to manage and grapple with.
Batching work into manageable chunks makes my life a whole lot easier. It’s also a great way of figuring out how long something actually takes to do. So when you’re thinking about pricing new projects, you can think back to the time you spent working, and how it’s proooobably much longer than what you estimate it to be.
Every Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be making it my business to batch the hell out of this blog series. And stay tuned for my fortnightly B2B marketing tips that I’ll publish on Fridays. These are my two main content and blogging goals that I really want to achieve for the rest of the year. Even though it’s great to be kept busy with client work, I’ve neglected my own website.
You might be thinking, how are you going to achieve an additional blog post every fortnight?! I may have a few tricks up my sleeve (that involve deleting certain social media distractions) but I won’t give them away just yet.
I’m experimenting with new schedules and time trackers, so when I’ve tested these methods out I’ll be sure to inform you.
And plus, by telling you I’m going to be sharing new blog posts, this will hopefully keep me accountable.
At the end of the day, your website is where you get to call the shots and will have the most control over what you produce. It’s what’s driving me to carve out a solid content strategy and produce more high-quality pieces.
Yes, social media can be a great tool to make people more aware of your business. But look how volatile that can be, what with Trump stomping all over the TikTok parade (I’m suuuuper curious to see will Microsoft buy out TikTok though, having two varied platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn under one corporation’s roof will make for an interesting dynamic).
Building your own website and email list ensures you always hit the right notes with your subscribers; you know they’re totally vested in you and want to hear what you have to say. On socials, there’s a high chance the algorithm could downplay your channel. There’s a lot to navigate through social, that’s for sure.
You might be thinking, well, if I’m not on social how exactly can I bring these leads in?
Posting your content on Medium or other online publications is a great way to build an audience.
Search intent and SEO content on your website for those searching on Google about your services is another fantastic way. Although this takes a lot of time, SEO always wins out because being at the top of the Google search engine adds heaps of credibility to your website.
Do podcast interviews! This is a relatively new concept in the blogging sphere, but it definitely works. I’ve been listening to a loooot of podcasts lately (the one positive I’m taking from this pandemic, and see my previous Amble blog on the podcasts I’ve been listening to here), and in every podcast with a guest I’ve Googled them right away.
Try to find a podcast host with the same audience as you, but in a different business field.
For example, if you’re a B2B email marketing writer, you could reach out to a B2B graphic design podcast host. You both have the same audience, but you wouldn’t be fighting for the same type of work because the audience has different needs. Instead, you’d compliment each other!
And yes, there are graphic design podcasts 🙂
I may have mentioned a few productivity hacks already, but here’s my official tip for this blog post. Journalling!
July is always a funky month for me, I guess because it’s right in the middle of summer, the days are long and the weather is splitting the rocks. It’s Ireland, so sorta. For like 2 hours.
Work was slow for me, and at first I put it down to my mentality. I still treat summers as a 3 month long hiatus from all life commitments, because that’s what I’ve been used to up until 2 years ago. But upon deeper reflection, I realised that:
- My sleep routine was allll over the place;
- I’d wake up later than usual and dive straight into work.
Which lead to me feeling slightly frazzled and scattered in the morning, and by lunchtime? Forget it! Third degree burn out.
The past week or two I’ve made it my business to journal in the morning, and if I’m not absolutely shattered, in the evening too. I cannot underestimate how nice it is to get all my thoughts and feelings out on paper. Even if it’s slight word vomit, it’s freeing to not have all those ideas and have-to-dos floating around like clouds.
Since restarting my journal writing, I feel happier with my day because I don’t fall into bed at night and think, “crap! I forgot to email them back!”. It’s noted in my journal and that’s their problem to deal with tomorrow.
This week’s Amble has been just that, a rambling bunch of thoughts of a freelance writer, trying to figure out whether I should get some more work done or just take a day trip to the beach.
Just to note, I’ve already taken about 5 or 6 trips to the beach and some more outdoor swimming. If you’re thinking today might be a good day to hit some surf, frickin’ do it!
I have exciting projects coming up, both personal and work-wise which I’m excited to share and discuss in future blog posts. I’m going to finish up with a lovely quote that I often revise to give me that kick to just do it.
“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with waiting…. tables, that is.
But waiting for the right time? There never is a good time to write, or to do anything for that matter. Gotta grab that urge by the balls and start small, but start today!