Not enough hours and too much to do? We may not be able to add more hours to our day but we can find ways of being more productive with the time we have. Here’s a few tips to being more productive in 2015.
1. Have All Your Tools Ready
All of the best techniques in the world can’t help your productivity if you’re getting up to find your pencil, jumping up to make a brew or looking for your logins. Tools vary from writer to writer, however; make sure you’re fully charged if leaving your desk and that you have you list of to-dos at the ready. Making sure you have everything you need ready when you begin will also help keep down ‘lost time’ and set the pace for the day.
2. Organise Your Bookmarks
What was that site called again? If you had it bookmarked properly, you’d already have it opened. For the purposes of encouraging good habits, bookmarked does not mean a long list of 50 bookmarks in no particular order. It means taking the time or create the proper folders / sub folders for your links. It may seem tedious at the time, however, you’ll be grateful of the time it will save you over and over as you refer back to them.
3. Outline Your Content
Here is a copywriter’s core formula:
Words + Time = Money
Wasting words is wasting money. The best way to save words, time and money is to outline your work first, then fill in the blanks systematically. They can be as simple as follows:
- Title and target word count at the top of the page
- List of simple headings for topics I want to cover
- Write a single sentence under each heading describing points I want to make
Here’s an excellent link Writtent that talks more about outlines and productivity.
4. Prep Up Your Sources
While doing your research, find trusted sources to back up your points and make note of them as you go. Bookmark them, note what links reference what points and for what feature. You may come across good sources of information while working on one topic – don’t get sidetracked. Bookmark it, note it and move on.
You don’t need to source every point you make in your writing, however; it is good practice to note some. Especially if you are quoting specific facts. This shows that you are also a trusted source of information and so your readers (and clients) will have more faith in your capabilities and that means more clients wanting more words!
5. Write in Short Bursts
First, this means give yourself breaks, say once every hour or so. Writing is hard work for your brain. Being creative is not easy and if you drain yourself, your writing can be forced and won’t flow as well as it should. It can be mentally exhausting if you don’t let your mind “wander” regularly. Copyblogger gives some good ideas on productivity.
Secondly, I’d suggest to write in short bursts. It’s easier to do so if you break it down the bursts by headings or topics in your piece. This allows you to complete one short thought stream while still giving your brain the much needed distraction to keep it fresh.
6. The One Hour Rule
Don’t be in a hurry – even with a deadline looming. This is a golden rule that the top bloggers and copywriters follow:
Let your finished piece sit for at least one hour before you perform a final edit.
When you go back and read the copy word-for-word, you’ll be more likely to catch errors that slipped right past you on previous passes. If you want to read more about editing, here’s some good tips Lifehacker.