How to Increase Your Efficiency as a Freelance Writer

Oct 3, 2016

I’ll just put it out there: I get a lot of work done in any given week. Within the five working days, I usually write anywhere from 12-18 articles. And, my writing time doesn’t even account for the endless hours I spend conducting interviews, attending meetings, answering emails, and just generally keeping my business running.

Throughout the few years I’ve been a freelance writer, I’ve learned just how important efficiency is. Not only does it allow me to be more productive and keep a better handle on my workload, but it also drastically increases my income.

As a freelancer, the amount you earn each month is directly tied to your time. The equation is pretty simple: The more you work, the more you make. But, as you already know, there are only so many hours in a day. That means you’ll eventually reach a cap on both your available time and—as a result—your earning potential.

So, I’ll let you in on the secret sauce of successful freelancing: The more you can get done in any given hour, the more money you’ll have stuffed in that greedy little wallet of yours.

It's simple—the more you get done as a #freelancer, the higher your income: Click To Tweet

Sounds great, right? But, now you’re left with one big question: How can you be efficient as possible? What tips, tricks, and strategies can you use to dramatically increase your efficiency and productivity as a freelancer?

Well, my friends, today’s your lucky day. I’m sharing a few of the things I use myself to kick my efficiency (and my income) into high gear!

How to Increase Your Efficiency as a Freelance Writer

1. Become a Fast Typer

Alright, I can’t blame you if this one made you roll your eyes at first glance—I get it. But, I honestly don’t have words for how large of an impact my typing speed has had on my freelance business.

I’m fortunate to come from an educational background where they really emphasized the importance of typing. I remember sitting in front of an ancient monitor working my way through Mavis Beacon lessons to learn how to become an effective and efficient typist.

Today? Well—to toot my own horn for a quick minute—I’m lightning fast. I can type an average of 114 words per minute with just one error (*dusts shoulder off*). And, since I making my living writing (read: typing), the faster I can type, the more work I can crank out any given day—which means the more projects I can bill to clients.

So, if you’re not currently a decent typer, I highly recommend making some time for practice. I know that it sounds stupid—but, I guarantee it’ll make a huge difference for you.

Efficiency as a Freelancer

2. Develop Systems and Templates

When you’re working as a freelancer, you undoubtedly want to spend the majority of your time doing the part that you love—for me, that’s writing.

But, you’ll quickly realize that your time is often consumed by pesky administrative tasks. These things can be a royal time-suck, and they aren’t exactly fun either.

This is why it’s important that you systemize and automate whatever you can. For example, I have systems in place for onboarding new clients or even working my way all the way through an article.

There are plenty of tools that can help you make certain parts of your business a total piece of cake. Go ahead and download the bonus content for this post (*cough cough*) to get an insider peek at what tools and platforms are my favorites.

3. Bundle Your Tasks

As much as we like to believe otherwise, humans aren’t natural-born multitaskers. More often than not, constantly hopping around from task to task only slows us down.

I’ve found that grouping similar tasks together helps me to be more productive, as well as prevent that frantic switching of gears.

How does this work? Well, for example, I’ll take an hour to create an outline and do some initial research for all of the articles I’m working on that day. Then, I’ll use another chunk of time to actually work on writing them. I do the same thing with tasks like answering emails, cleaning up my accounting, and really anything else that needs to get done.

If you haven’t tried this approach before, I’d give it a shot. I’m willing to bet you’ll be shocked by how much of your time (and, well, your sanity) it saves.

4. Set Times for Email

You don’t need me to tell you how much of a distraction email can be—I’m sure you’re all too familiar with that phenomenon.

Me? I have five separate email accounts—yes, you read that number correctly. And, previously, I was that person who always had a separate tab open to keep an eye on my constantly overflowing inbox.

But, I eventually realized that my desire to stay on top of every new message that came in was only ripping my attention away from whatever I was working on in that moment. So, now I make an effort to close that tab and only check in on my inboxes several times throughout the day.

If you want to give this a try, you’ll want to test out some different schedules that work for you. But personally, I check my emails once in the morning, once around lunch time, and then once more later in the afternoon.

Of course, sometimes I catch myself breaking my own rules. However, I’ve found that even having these loose guidelines in place keeps me from constantly being a slave to my inbox.

Over to You

Increasing your efficiency as a freelancer will go a long way in giving your productivity and your income a boost. And, while you don’t want to channel all of your energy into constantly working at a breakneck pace (that will likely only lead to sloppiness), there are a few different things you can do to give your efficiency a decent kick in the pants.

This week, give one of these things a try:

  • Find an online typing program (there are tons of free ones!) to help you refine your skills as a speedy typist.
  • Pick one aspect of your business that you can systemize or automate.
  • Try switching up your schedule to bundle similar tasks together.
  • Pick three times during the day when you’ll allow yourself to pop in on your inbox.

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if you see a big difference in your efficiency. I can’t wait to hear how these things work for you!