Why scheduling fun will make your copywriting flourish
The beauty of being a freelance copywriter is that you can set your own schedule. That, and the fact that you can work from anywhere in the world are the main reasons I became a copywriter in March 2009.
While the traveling and writing thing has worked out, sticking to a productive daily schedule has often been a struggle.
I mean, on any given day, is anyone telling you what to do? No one is watching you, and no one cares if you decide to work in your pajamas all day (not my thing, as I wrote about here, but you may be different). As long as you hit your deadlines, no one knows the difference.
Stop working so hard!
So let’s say all your deadlines are three weeks out, it’s Wednesday at noon, and you’re completely caught up for the week. What do you do?
If you’re like me, you feel guilty doing anything except sitting at your desk writing, rustling up new business somehow, or studying something that will help you become a better copywriter, right?
The Monday through Friday routine seems to be ingrained in my head, even though it’s ridiculous to follow the masses.
Here’s a weekly plan I used years ago when I was in direct sales. It served me well then, and I’m going to resuscitate it in my business again.
4 + 1 > 5
The idea is to actually schedule fun, and take a day or two off every week. I recommend two.
I call it the “4 + 1 is greater than 5” schedule.
Here’s the way I used to do it: Work all day Monday and Tuesday. Get a good six hours of writing in each day, do some marketing, follow up with clients. Be productive and focus for two days, that’s all.
On Wednesday, you spend the morning evaluating your first two days, catching up on anything you missed, and planning the next two days.
Then you take off Wednesday afternoon and evening. Goof off, go to a movie, go for a bike ride, hang out all afternoon reading a novel at your favorite coffee shop.
You’ll be all rested up for Thursday and Friday, which are a repeat of Monday and Tuesday. Serious discipline. Nothing but business-building related activities.
You can focus, because you know you’re not going to work on the weekend (like a lot of normal people don’t). We writers aren’t exactly normal, so you may still enjoy writing on the weekend, but the thing is, it will be your choice, not because you feel compelled to.
Saturday morning is creative thinking time. No hard core projects, just brainstorming big ideas, mapping out a new business concept, figuring out a marketing funnel. Fun stuff!
That’s it. Four days of focused work (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). One half-day of planning (Wednesday morning), and one half-day of creativity (Saturday morning). Two half-days of fun (Wednesday and Saturday afternoon and evening), and a day of rest …
… and all will be well with the world, your business, and your life. Simple, right? Give it a try, and I’ll bet that:
- You’ll be more productive on the four days you work
- Your down time will yield more creative results
- You’ll enjoy your days off more
- You won’t feel guilty taking time off
- You’ll separate work and play more
I go in spurts, so I won’t necessarily do this schedule year-round. And I certainly don’t do it when I’m in Ecuador. But at least a few months out of the year it works wonders.
Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t for you, too. And let me know if you’ve tried a version of this before.