4 Productivity Tips to Keep You Successful and Sane
It’s great to see you back here!
Over the past three days, I’ve really enjoyed sharing with you three of the blog posts I write for Circle of Success members.
I chose these posts because they cover what Mark Ford and all top copywriters and freelancers know is the single most important secret for writing success.
That secret? Getting to know your prospect (the person you’re writing to) deeply, so you can develop empathy for her and fulfill her needs. Do that, and you’re on your way to a successful writing career.
Today I’m going to shift gears.
There are two core secrets to success in any career, but they’re crucial in writing.
First: continuously improve your skills. Second: Improve your productivity, so you get more work done and earn more money.
Simply put, the better your productivity – the faster you get high-quality copy to clients – the faster you’ll achieve success.
Two of the four personal strategies I’m going to share relate directly to your writing. And two relate to your life in general … because we don’t spend our entire life in our home offices.
1. The “Jerry Rice System for Success”
Jerry Rice, former wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, is the best receiver in football history. During his entire career – even at the very peak – Rice took extra practice sessions by himself.
He practiced this much so everything he did on the field became second nature.
Do the same. The best way to learn how to write productively is to write. And write some more. Even if you don’t have a client, write letters to friends … reviews of restaurants or movies … newsletters for your church or service club. But write every day.
Practicing the Jerry Rice way, you increase your writing skills. Writing becomes easier. You’re able to write more efficiently, productively … and more profitably.
2. Organize for Success
Productivity drops drastically when you spend time looking for “stuff.” You know the feeling. “I know it’s here. Where is it?”
When you have an assignment, have all relevant information organized, so you can get your hands on what you need quickly.
Develop an organizational system that makes sense to you.
Here’s a warning. Being too organized will zap your productivity. I used to insist all my folder labels were computer printed. And color-coded. My file cabinets looked great. But I was wasting time.
A special note about computer files: If you save everything to “My Documents” or the desktop without organizing them, it won’t be long before you can’t find anything.
Instead, make a folder in “My Documents” called “Freelance Writing” (or similar). Inside that folder, make individual folders for each of your clients and for your writing training.
3. Reduce Piles of “Stuff”
Papers, promos to be read, work-related items, and other “stuff” piles up everywhere if you let them. Eventually they reduce productivity.
Keep your work area and your life free of distractions that these piles bring with them. Get control of them and improve your productivity with these tests:
Test A: Does this require action? (If so, act on it now.)
Test B: Can I identify a specific use for it in the next two months that benefits me? (“Someday” doesn’t count.)
Test C: If I toss this now but need it later, can I get it easily? (Keep it, but only if it passes test B.)
Test D: Are there tax or legal implications?
Test F: What’s the worst possible thing that would happen I did not have this?
Anything that doesn’t pass these tests gets dumped.
4. Perfection Hinders Productivity
Yes, you want your writing to be “perfect.” But, you’ll never get there if you insist on perfection as you write. Strong, compelling copy comes from numerous revisions … never in the first draft.
Insisting on writing perfection keeps you running in place in your career. “I’ll send this AWAI exercise when it’s perfect,” is likely to lead to your never sending it.
So, if you don’t take that first, less-than-perfect step, you won’t get valuable feedback on your copy that makes you better at what you’re doing.
Strive for perfection in everything you do. But admit that we humans aren’t perfect. Abandon the need for perfection. Work to your highest capabilities and constantly work to improve.
The COS Blog article I included today was one of the best received of all blogs I’ve written, so I thought you’d enjoy it, too.
Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about the one person who’ll have the biggest impact on your success.
Until then, I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments in the appropriate place below. And, thank you so much for taking the time.
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