When I began my freelancing journey I loathed routine. To me, routine equals boring, structured, and stifling. I started freelancing for freedom! It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was so wrong. Routines are absolutely necessary to get everything done, keep up with clients, fit in time for personal hobbies and friends, get to the gym, and just generally not drown in the neverending pile of stuff to do.
These few routines have helped me to get a handle on my life, and just maybe they can help make your days run smoother too.
A Morning Routine
What you do first thing in the morning can set your entire day up for success. If you’re like most people, you wake up to the alarm on your phone and probably start checking your email through half-open eyes before you even lift your head off the pillow. This sets you up for a hectic day of scrambling to answer to other people’s priorities.
Consider taking a bit of time for yourself at the start of the day. Don’t look at email or Instagram. Instead, do a short meditation before you get up then get your body moving. Stretch, do yoga, go for a quick run… whatever wakes you up and lifts your mood.
Science says we have the most willpower in the morning. There are a few ways you could set up your day to take advantage of this. You could dedicate the first hour of your day to working on your most important project – maybe it’s an e-book you’ve been putting off. Or you could use that extra willpower to tackle your toughest task of the day. Depending on your energy and creativity levels first thing, pick a routine that works for you and optimizes your time.
A Writing Routine
Keeping up a blog and newsletter is hard y’all. I know you know this. It takes a lot of time and discipline, but we all know we have to do it. If you aspire to write a book or an e-course on top of that blog, you will be spending a pretty massive chunk of time writing. Establishing a daily writing routine is the best way to get this done.
It can seem pretty daunting, but if you can set aside an hour of time each day when you know you are productive and creative, you can make a big dent in all that writing homework.
Let’s say you can write 1000 words per hour. Blog posts are typically a little less than that, so you can probably write, edit, and post a blog in your hour per day. Now you’re creating 7 pieces of content each week. Your editorial calendar probably doesn’t have 7 blog posts per week, either, so use the extra days to create more blog content for future use, for guest posts or for your newsletter. If you want to write a course or an e-book, the same rules apply.
Block off time in your calendar for writing and keep busting out 1000 words per hour. Make your writing time sacred. Don’t miss it, and turn off all distractions. You’ll be closer to finishing that giant project with every week and maintaining your blog will feel so much easier.
A Client Intake and Follow-Up Routine
Signing on new clients can eat up a big chunk of time. There’s the back-and-forth emailing, the meetings to see if you’re right for one another, and all that paperwork! Setting up a solid system for your client intake process is going to save your life. Not literally. But it will save you a boat load of time and allow you to scale up your business.
There are a few easy ways to smooth out the intake process. Start by setting up a booking system so that a client can book a meeting time with you without back-and-forth emails (I’m good Friday at 2, work for you? No, I’m booked. How about Thursday at 1…). I use You Can Book Me, a free service that syncs with Google calendar.
Next, create a welcome package that outlines your processes. The package should answer commonly asked questions and outline your boundaries such as your office hours, out-of-scope work, and payment structures. It helps to get this in front of someone right away so they understand what is expected of them and what they can expect from you.
Bold statement coming up… Setting up smooth processes in your business will increase your income. You will be spending less time signing on clients, which means you can focus more of your time on income generating activities (or your writing!). If you want to learn some slick ways to make your business run smoother, I highly recommend the Stress Less & Impress course. It has helped me immensely in growing my business with ease.
A Planning Routine
You should never start the day or week without knowing what you are going to do. Not having a clear idea of your priorities only means one thing… Your priorities aren’t going to get worked on.
Take a few minutes each evening to reflect on your day and think about tomorrow. What did you get done today? What distracted you? What needs to be done tomorrow? You can even go so far as blocking off spots in your calendar to work on those priority items to ensure they get some attention. Watch your productivity skyrocket.