~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~
I’ve got lots to share with you today so let’s jump into it, eh?
1. I need your help. If you’re a successful freelancer, I want to hear from you. I’m pretty pleased with how our Notes from Minnesota podcast is going so I thought it would be fun to expand and interview freelancers who love their life. This will be a video podcast, a short information packed interview, no stress, just a nice way to shine your light and promote your freelance services. Email if you’re interested. Be sure to include your specialty along with a short intro. I’m recording the first on next week and just wait ’til you hear who has agreed to be my first victim… er… interviewee. It’ll be fun and you’ll learn tons.
2. I’ve been a busy bee on my author page (http://BAEricksonBooks.com). Two cover reveals, a third on its way, three more full novels by the end of year, a novella… uff-da. It’s a blast. Surf over there and check out the VIP reader list. I’ve got tons of freebies, a private short story library on the way, journal entries in the queue… so much fun. Check ‘er out. If nothing else, enjoy those gorgeous covers. I’m pretty thrilled with them.
3. Ooooh! I can’t forget. This one’s for authors. Garrett Robinson is a fantastic fantasy writer. His podcast is outstanding… laugh out loud funny sometimes… always intriguing. He whipped up some incredible t-shirts I thought I’d share. No. This isn’t an affiliate link. I don’t make a dime from this recommendation. I just like Garrett and his work. Enjoy! Here’s the link.
4. Finally, what’s your average word count per day? Writers in my world have claimed everywhere from 500 to 45,000. (Seriously… I know the person who broke the 45k mark. She didn’t do anything else but write but wow. If that were me, I’d hate to proofread that output… my first drafts most certainly qualify as “sloppy copies.”)
But this got me thinking. Perhaps I’m not fast enough. Perhaps I think too much. I run a minimum of 2k words per day. Without fail. It’s rare to crack 5k. Then I edit. Then I finish assignments. Then I market. Then I read. Sometimes I skip some of those activities. 🙂
This might be a good podcast topic. Word Warriors… contact me. We need to talk. Online. 🙂
What’s your word output? You can email or answer in the comments section. Either works.
Onward and upward,
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How to Do More in Less Time – Part 2
Robert W. Bly
(Note: You can read part one here.
The ability to work faster and get more done in less time isn’t slavery; it’s freedom. You’re going to have the same big pile of stuff to do every day whether you want it or not. If you can be more efficient, you can get it done and still have some time left over for yourself – whether it’s to read the paper, hike, jog, play the piano, or something else.
Here are ten ideas that can increase your personal productivity so you can get more done in less time:
3. Don’t be pressured to be an innovator. As publisher Cameron Foote observes, “Clients are looking for good, not great.” Do the best you can to meet the client’s or your
boss’s requirements. They will be happy. Do not feel pressured to reinvent the wheel or create a masterpiece on every project you undertake.
Don’t be held up by the false notion that you must uncover some great truth or present your boss with revolutionary ideas and concepts. Most successful business solutions are just common sense packaged to meet a specific need.
Eliminate performance pressure. Don’t worry about whether what you are doing is different or better than what others have done before you. Just do the best you can. That will be enough.
4. Switch between tasks. Even if you consider yourself a specialist, do projects outside your specialty. Inject variety into your project schedule. Arrange your schedule so you switch from one assignment to another at least once or twice each day. Variety, as the saying goes, is indeed the spice of life.
Approximately 70 to 90 percent of what I am doing at any time is in familiar tasks within my area of expertise. This keeps me highly productive. The other 10 to 30 percent is in new areas, markets, industries, or disciplines outside my area of expertise. This keeps me fresh and allows me to explore things that captivate my imagination, but are not in my usual schedule of assignments.
5. Don’t work on projects you don’t have. Working on assignments that you
have not yet received is a waste of time. Get letters of agreement, contracts, purchase orders, and budget sign-offs before proceeding. Don’t waste time on projects that may not come to fruition. An official approval or go-ahead from your boss or customer makes
the project real and firm, so you can proceed at full speed, with the confidence and enthusiasm that come from knowing you have been given the green light.
6. Make deadlines firm, but adequate. Of 150 executives surveyed by AccounTemps, 37 percent rated the dependable meeting of deadlines as the most important quality of a team player (Continental magazine, Oct. 1997, p. 44). Productive people set and meet deadlines. Without a deadline, the motivation to do a task is small to nonexistent.
Tasks without assigned deadlines automatically go to the bottom of your priority list. Say you have two reports to file: one is due a week from Thursday, and the other is due “whenever you can get around to it.” Which do you suppose will get written first?
Often, you will collaborate with your boss or client in determining deadlines. Set deadlines for a specific date and time, not a time period: for example, “due June 23 by 3 pm or sooner,” not “in about two weeks.” Having a specific date and time for completion eliminates confusion and gives you motivation to get the work done on time.
At the same time, don’t make deadlines too tight. Try to build in a few extra days for the unexpected, such as a missing piece of information, a delay from a subcontractor, a last-minute change, or a crisis on another project.
NOTE: Bob’s got dozens more immediately useful techniques for successful self promotion in his book, “Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Make $100,000 a Year as a Freelance Writer and Have the Time of Your Life Doing It.” It’s available as an economical ebook right here
You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:
This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com