I work as a freelance journalist/scientific blogger. Freelancing (or running your own small business, for example, working as a copywriter like my female friend does) requires an ideal time management plan which helps you to stay on track as much as possible. Of course, some freelancers are early risers, others are nocturnal creatures or somebodies in between. I prefer to start my work early in the morning, but sometimes I enjoy working during the night. It truly doesn’t matter, because as a freelancer you are able to work whenever you want while being not limited to routine 9 to 17 (or 8 to 16) office schedule.
Creating perfect schedule
Still finding a schedule that allows you to work during your best and most productive hours is extremely important for freelancers or small business owners. My favorite working hours are 9 to 13 plus late afternoon hours. They are perfect for writing some reviews, scientific (or lifestyle articles), blog posts, forming questions for future interviews, answering important emails or perhaps choosing potential clients carefully (it’s better to concentrate on clients, who will provide a steady stream of recurring work).
Don’t forget about breaks
Working nonstop for hours can cause my performance’s decline mostly due to exhaustion and concentration loss. When I feel that my mind is wandering somewhere else (or is distracted too easily via online/offline distractors or thoughts of other projects) I need to take a break. It’s the highest time for some physical activity (exercise, nature walking or bicycling) or even for a coffee break. Work breaks are essential for your productivity, however, it’s worth remembering that every moment you are not working is a moment you are not earning…
Focus on specific projects and tasks
When I work, I am trying to focus on specific projects or tasks. I dislike working on too many things at once (multitasking) because it makes me less concentrated and more stressed. Give me flexible but routine work schedule over chaotic schedule anytime! For example, when I have to write down some articles about Martian geology or particle physics I often create myself a deadline to do this. Writing such scientific article also includes reading as much reliable scientific sources as you can. Reading, understanding and asking interesting (sometimes provocative) questions is also truly hard work that requires time and energy. But one day is enough for me to write 2-3 short articles or reviews.
Example of my personal work schedule:
5.30 AM – wake up and work out
6.30 AM – coffee and breakfast time
8.00 AM – 13.00 PM – work with few breaks
14.00 PM – 16.00 PM longer break which includes lunch and physical activity
16:00 PM – 18.00 PM – work
18.00 PM – 22.30 PM – freelance finished, blogging, writing with my friends, playing with Google Earth, listening to music, reading books and scientific publications, tweeting mostly about science, asleep.