How I Became a More Productive Writer by Doing This One, Simple Thing

Carol Tice

Improve your freelance writing productivity with this tip. Makealivingwriting.comI was feeling frazzled. It was December.

I was juggling a lot of different writing assignments. I owed one client three blog posts, another two articles, a third some interview phone calls for a book chapter.

And of course, I needed some posts for this blog, too. All the deadlines were fairly pressing, and sort of drop-dead, as I had vacation plans and needed to leave town in about ten days.

My usual approach to this situation was to divide up the day and try to do a bit to advance each client’s work.

But it was hard to get my head in and out of so many different projects over the course of the day. I would end up feeling like I hadn’t really gotten anything done. Nothing seemed to get finished.

My sense of panic that I wasn’t going to get it all done and be able to leave on my vacation was rising each day.

Then, one day, I decided to try something else.

For just one day, I would only work on one assignment.

To start, I chose to focus on the posts for this blog. All day, I wrote posts for this blog. Nothing else.

When the day ended, I couldn’t believe what had happened.

I had written the entire month’s remaining blog posts. I cranked out eight different blog posts, found their photos, got them all linked, posted and ready to go. In one day.

Wheee! I was elated. Now, I had several weeks ahead where I didn’t have to worry about getting my own blog written. That really cleared my mental decks.

The next day, I assigned myself the task of writing another client’s pieces — and nothing else. Done! Another item checked off my list.

They say we never really multi-task. Our brains need to focus on one task at a time.

I’m a believer now. This was so much more time-efficient than my usual do-a-bit strategy, I couldn’t believe it. Soon, I was off on vacation with all my deadlines met.

I have a new motto when I get into a crunch with my schedule.

One day, one client.

The other problem with my old strategy of trying to work many accounts within one day is that I thrive on a sense of completion. My old method left me feeling nothing was complete. Day after day, I didn’t finish anything.

Now, if I can block out a day where I can complete a project and check it off my list, I do it.

Obviously, many assignments can’t be completed in one day. But by devoting a whole day at a time to one client, all the projects got done a lot faster and with a lot less stress.

It makes me a little nervous that nothing is happening on the other assignments that day. But as projects get turned in, the remaining assignments feel more doable.

I know now I can knock them out, too. One day at a time.

What’s your time management tip? Leave a comment and tell us how you get more writing done.

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  1. Tamara

    This is a great idea! I’m the same when it comes to ticking off things from my to-do list. Love it!

    I hope I remember this when I have a pile of projects to get done.

  2. Louise

    Great post Carol & a great example of how focussing on one thing at time really does increase productivity!

    Another technique I use when feeling overwhelmed by the number of projects or to-dos on my list is to pick one, set a timer (kitchen timer or on screen) for 30 minutes, and go full steam ahead on that one project until the beeps. It’s amazing how much progress can be made in just half an hour!

  3. Jim Donovan

    Great tip. I needed to hear that particular message today, since I’m feeling overwhelmed looking at too many things all at once.

    By the wary, this is also a technique used by many high level executives, probably because it works. They complete one task before starting on another.


  4. Karen Cioffi

    Carol, great post. I’ve actually come to the same realization: focus is key. For February, I wrote and preposted my blog posts and newsletter emails. Feeling overwhelmed and worrying about what you have to do can become crippling.

    I’ve heard of the timer trick, but haven’t tried it yet.

  5. Anita Cooper

    Thanks Carol, just the advice I needed. I thought I was the only one with this issue…whew! 😉

    • Carol Tice

      Oh, I am the worst with this — if I don’t watch out my head is into 10 different things in the course of a day…without actually getting any of them completed.

  6. Carradee

    I have 3 main tips:

    1. Use a timer to keep you focused for 10–50 minute increments (and to remind you to get back on-track when you get distracted). Different types of projects (and different days) work better with different increments, so experiment.

    2. If music helps you focus*, play a specific song, artist, or music style on repeat for a while when working on a specific type of project or on a specific client’s project. Your brain will start automatically entering the “zone” for that project when you hear that song. Grooveshark can be a good resource for this, letting you play a specific song of your choice on repeat, produce your own playlists, or listen to a site-created associative radio station, whichever works best for you.

    *Note: It can make a difference if you know the song or not, or if the music has lyrics or not. You also probably don’t want to do this with a favorite song.

    3. Keep track of how long you expect projects to take, and how long you expect them to take.

    Minor tip:

    Before you start your day, pick both a primary and secondary project to work on that day, in case you hit a road block or mental fatigue with the primary project. Don’t expect to get anything done on that secondary project, but know that you have something to do.

    These tactics work great for me… when I remember to use them! ^_^

    • Sofie

      About the music: I prefer working in silence, but when there’s noise around I put on focus@will. It has a free plan and you can choose different types of music, all optimized for work!

  7. Caroline Leopold

    One project per day is exactly how I work. I usually crank out emails, marketing, prospect client query work in the early morning or late at night. And then my workday is free to work on one specific project. The system works great and allows me to apply my best thinking and writing to a specific client.

    Some days, I don’t feel like doing anything or I’m burnt out. On those days, I do housework, organizing my files or errands. Getting a bunch of little tasks done is great even if I haven’t done any writing. And then I can tackle the writing on the following day.

  8. Stacey Herbert

    I just had a situation like this. I had a client job which was taking far longer than I had originally thought and qouted. I had bits and pieces missing for other clients. The pressure was piling on and I didn’t want to let anyone down. One client who was becoming more and more demanding, well I decided to cut my losses with him…he still owes me for work done. The other clients…I took the approach you just mentioned. Hardcore grafting on one project per day. Unfortunately it was not all completed before I went on my hols…but there was far less to do than before!

    I also what to say thank you. After reading a few posts here, I took the steps to increase my price…by 50%!
    I was scared that no one who commission any work, and whilst there has been a decrease in enquiries, I now have 3 clients all paying the higher rate. Thanks for giving me the kick and confidence to start charging a fair price for my work. xx

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for sharing your success story, Stacey! I know so many writers who are afraid to ask for more, but I’ve heard many stories like yours, and even of writers who doubled their rates with existing clients and got a ‘yes.’ You never know how underpriced you are to the market until you start raising the bar.

  9. Erika

    I am doing this – starting right now! Thanks Carol.

  10. Dianne Morr

    Great post! I started focusing on one project at a time in December and I found the same type of satisfaction. It feels so good to finish a project that it gives me energy to start the next.

  11. Rick Barry

    I applaud your post. Many of us succumb to the temptation to juggle too many literary balls at one time. I’m sure your advice will be a boost to many writers. Blessings to you!

  12. John Soares

    This an excellent productivity technique and one I use whenever practical.

    The term for this is “single handling.” As you do a certain task like writing blog posts over and over, you get more efficient at it.

  13. Sarah Kolb

    I do this too! I’m a freelance editor, sometimes with three or four projects on my plate in a month (in addition to my day job!), and the ONLY way I can handle more than one project at once is to just take them in order. If the last project I was assigned sits in my inbox for three weeks before I finally have time to address it, then it does — at least this way I can tick things off as they’re completed instead of, like you say, split up my time evenly and find that nothing is being completed!

  14. Marylane

    This is one of the best strategies for success! I needed this reminder to live my work and personal life one day at a time.

    Perfect post.Thanks, Carol.

  15. Kerrie McLoughlin

    Brilliant! I tried this over the weekend when I had too many things going on as well as the 5 kids and the husband who has been working 16-hour days for weeks. I finished one thing at a time, and it felt good to get it out! Also, instead of trying to sneak away to work (yes,I know, I have a special challenge of not having regular work hours), I set a timer and worked in 15-minute increments. My goal is to make $100/hour lately, so it was nice to know that at the end of 4 incrementsI had made $92!!!! Then I sent it off and concentrated on the next project a teeny bit at a time. With kids, it’s easier to do this also b/c they can be happy for 15 minutes at a time, so we all win

    • Carol Tice

      I have no idea how you write anything with the 5 kids hanging around…I can’t do it with only the 2 I have left at home.

    • Crystalee Beck (

      Wow, wonder woman. You go girl!

  16. Clara Mathews

    Thanks for this great advice. As a new freelancer, I often feel overwhelmed when deadlines approach. I have been struggling with time management and tried a few different ideas. But this one seems like the best of all.

  17. Cathie Ericson

    I go back and forth with the two strategies depending on the deadlines and nature of the writing.

    One thing I would add is that even if I have finished a project for a client one day, I always force myself to put 30 minutes into the next day’s project, even if I know it’s going to need major editing. Starting the morning or project with something down already, instead of nothing, makes it easier to get going.

  18. Debbie Kane

    Just coming out my deadline craze long enough to read this and say “duh, what a great idea!” I find it helpful to set my own deadline on a task — for example, I’m going to work on my blog from 9 – 11 — and then actually schedule that on my daily calendar. I’m working on setting a monthly schedule, then breaking it down into weeks and days. Easier said than done. And I’d die without my to-do list; or, at the very list, blow a lot of deadlines!

    • Carol Tice

      I think setting up a schedule a month in advance is a complete waste of time…too much is going to change. It just gives me a chance to feel more ‘behind’ and like I’m failing.

      I look at my deadlines and then I set up today’s schedule. Before I leave the office tonight, I set up tomorrow’s. That’s about as far as I’m going.

      I have one other productivity tip — think I’ll do another post on it in a few weeks.

  19. Virginia

    Hi Carol,
    Have you been reading my mind? Have you seen what my desk looks like? It feels like you have, because after reading your post I realize that I have created something of a multiple-deadline gridlock in my own working life. I’m going to re-order my to-do list around the client per day principle right now. Thank you for writing this post just for me! ~Virginia

  20. Jackie P

    You could always try outsourcing some of your work. Personally I find it very hard to write all day. I have to have regular intervals or else I’ll lose my mind hehe.

    • Carol Tice

      If you mean outsourcing the writing of an assignment I’ve taken on, that’s never going to happen. I can outsource the errand-running, bill-paying, and other administrivia, but my clients are hiring me because of my experience, and because they expect me to write it.

  21. zahib

    I wanted to do this one day but I wasn’t confident that I would accomplish much. We have that fear of not getting all your to-do’s done . But it seems if it is done right that actually you can get alot done. Tonight I will plan and tomorrow will be my day to do such as thing.

    Great post.

    • Carol Tice

      Well, that’s me all over — I think I’ve got to do SOMETHING on each of these pending assignments today! But you get an amazing amount more traction if you can put everything aside and do the one thing that day. I’m still blown away by how many posts I can crank for one client, if that’s all I’m doing all day.

  22. Rekaya Gibson

    Thank you for sharing. I am going to try this. I’ll let you know how I do.
    Like you, I feel as though nothing gets done when I finish my day. At this point, I’m willing to try anything. Thanks again.

  23. Missy

    Hi, Carol:

    I can totally relate to the time crunch and the (self imposed) deadline looming overhead. Personally I have been taking on too much and now am feeling a tad overwhelmed and we all know this is all too common and can happen to any of us. However am now looking at my work load and seeing how best to prioritize and get it in the pipeline. Not the easiest task. Lol.

    Glad to hear of your energy spurts and getting that client work done, I too am in the process of getting my work orders in sync and getting it done. Onward and forward we move.


  24. Beti Spangel

    This was VERY helpful… I suffer from terrible analysis paralysis and I love the idea of delving into one project heart and soul, and not feeling guilty about the other children clamoring for my attention.

  25. Joanne

    You have a great insight here, truly indeed. Thanks for sharing with us those ideas regarding with productive writing.

  26. Pinar Tarhan

    I always thought I was a multi-tasker, and a good one at that. But last week, I tried something different, the same thing you tried. I worked on my novel one day, writing assignment on the other and on my blog(s) the next. It amazed me see how efficient and satisfied it made me feel. Sometimes I still get carried away and get lost in my multi-tasking ways, but I’ll do my best to stick to this tip more often. It is better for the work, and the soul:)

  27. John Wright Shaw

    This is such an inspirational post. I’ll definitely remember this when I have pile of works to do and find it hard to complete them.

    Thanks for sharing.


  28. Courtney James

    You mean writers have to sit down and actually write things? Haha.

    Focus is sooooo key.

    I remember when that dawned on me. I was sitting on a pile of work that I had been putting off for a couple of weeks and then a relative passed away…

    I found myself lost and overloaded with work because of procrastination. I snapped at my girlfriend because I was so stressed out about everything.

    Then I realized it was all my own damn fault…

    Now, I sit down with a timer and I write no matter what. After three years of writing first thing in the morning I find that I don’t even worry about putting things off anymore.

    It doesn’t matter if I throw out everything I write. What matters is sitting down and writing it. I almost always find something I can as long as I write.

  29. Linda H

    This is a great post and really holds true. I have faced similar situations with multiple tasks, looming deadlines, and the feeling of getting nothing done. I did this switch and got so much more done! I followed the same pattern as you, Carol. Instead of juggling thoughts and tasks, I spend one day working on one task and can concentrate on one topic. My tasks were completed, crossed off the list, and moving toward the next task left me feeling satisfied and content. Sleep was much better, too.

    Thanks for sharing this information and your personal experience. It always adds so much credence to something when you see another professional struggling with the same issues and the way she overcame it through shrewd thinking and good time management.

    Love how many others have benefited from this post.

  30. Katherine Swarts

    I also had “did you read my journal?” thoughts as I went through this post–not to mention a lot of the comments. The bigger challenge, though, is to keep the list from getting unmanageable in the first place. I do well enough with anything that comes with a set deadline, but with more open-ended tasks (not only blogs but marketing, networking, e-mail, et al.), my brain accumulates “this is a great idea; I’ve got to try it” To-Do items like a wool garment collecting hair in a house full of Persian cats. Written priority lists quickly grow to twenty pages; choosing the TOP priority becomes a search for a needle in a mountain of hay. (Or maybe, as far as my brain is concerned, the entire list is a unit and the only REAL priority is finishing EVERYTHING.)

    Having such an uphill battle over knowing when to stop, I wouldn’t plan a month in advance either–perhaps not even a week. The longer the time period you’re looking at, the easier it is to convince yourself you have time to do much more than is actually reasonable. Even the “one focus a day” approach has some pitfalls, given that not only tasks but also days are created unequal. (Obviously, you’re going to get less work done if you have a bad cold, three outside appointments, or four unexpected calls from prospects–especially if they intrude on the peak-energy period of your day.) In keeping with those who mentioned 30-minute increments, etc., I suggest a new work-organization acronym: STU, or “Significant Time Unit,” which you can define as whatever length of time it normally takes you to hit an “I’ve accomplished something” feeling of satisfaction.

  31. Marcy Orendorff

    Excellent topic, Carol! I, too, would stare glassy-eyed at my computer, mentally juggling things I had to do.

    Until I bought the most useful book I have ever owned. And committed my long-term goals to paper.

    My assist is a journal. I use it each morning to write three major tasks for each day and a few subtasks. And, I recheck to make sure I am on task several times per day.

    I use my daily problems to assist my small business clients. Each time I find myself frustrated with a business task, whether it’s understanding FB changes, or compressing marketing tasks, I know my clients may be having similar problems. So, when I get stuck, I have a new blog topic, and a find a great link that I can share. From my own time-management crises, I have created a two-hour SMM plan for myself that I will share with my clients.

    Every problem is an opportunity in disguise!

  32. Joshua Monen

    This is a great tip Carol! I practiced it yesterday and already noticed a difference. I’m good at starting projects but finishing them is where I struggle. So this advice helps me FOCUS and finish the project at hand!

    • Carol Tice

      Well, I almost didn’t post this because I thought my little productivity thing was sorta dorky, but I’m certainly glad I did now! I had no idea how much discussion this would inspire.

  33. Carol J. Alexander

    I’m in this same situation right now. Thanks for reminding me to stop running around like a headless chicken and to focus on one thing at a time.

  34. edna

    I agree, another really timely topic. I’ve been getting new projects in and have several deadlines which are all different, of course so I’m feeling my usual overwhelm. And the worst feeling for me is often things don’t feel finished as you mentioned. I did spend the afternoon yesterday on one client, doing multiple event listings for a fundraiser this weekend. Checked each one off as I went through her media list. I’m about 85% done but it feels great and I’m no so rushed today.

    I’ve also considered listing my current projects with deadlines and breaking them down on a dry erase board, checking them off as I go but keeping the board where I can see it just to keep my on track. Has anyone tried that yet?

  35. Tim Bradley

    I’d love to have too many writing assignments!

    • Carol Tice

      Ask my family members, Tim — you wouldn’t. Goodbye, work/life balance.

      That’s actually my big problem — I’m always skating the edge of the most assignments could humanly be done in a time period, and then if one thing goes wrong, you’re sobbing, and working 18 hour days.

      But that’s been another great benefit of the Den on my end, and I know for members, too — it’s really empowered me to say, “I just can’t fit you in, but may I refer you someone? I have this community of writers with a job board I could post it on.” That lets me feel good about passing (or at least OK!), and I love hearing that a Den member got the gig, which has happened several times already.

  36. LuAnn

    So true! Multitasking isn’t always the best route.

    Early in my writing career, I would juggle multiple projects and never feel like I was accomplishing anything. I adopted your approach – work on one project until completed – and it has worked for me since then.

    If I take a short break during the day, I may write a few questions if I have an interview coming up, but otherwise, I stick to the one project and get that work done.

    Isn’t it a great feeling?


    • Carol Tice

      I love it. I’m still trying to clear enough time to have another purely one-track day like the one that inspired this post, but each day now I’m doing a lot fewer things, and getting more done.

  37. carrie

    Thanks for these tips, Carol. I have always found that grouping similar tasks together always helps in getting them done more efficiently. By the way, 3 seconds after I finished reading your post, I stumbled upon “the Pomodoro” technique, involving an egg timer. Name derived from Italian tomato shaped one, no less. Go figure!

    • Carol Tice

      Lots of people use that Pomodoro approach, Carrie. I have a different method for getting more writing done in less time, which I’ll be posting about in a few weeks.

  38. Steph Sikorski

    Did you read my mind?!?!
    I got a ga-zillion things due to different folks !!
    It seems so overwhelming that I often don’t focus on any one thing because I know I don’t have time to delve into any one project. So I end up killing thirty minutes here and there never really starting on any project.
    I will certainly try this!

  39. Diandra

    This sounds great, and I’d love to do exactly that… alas, with an office job taking up my schedule without asking (I do love this job, and it pays my share of the rent, but still…), there is only so much I can do. I’ve got fixed appointments for writing each day (first thing in the morning, getting up early to do so), my office hours, afterwards an appointment for exercise, housekeeping and dinner. And if there is still any energ left at all in the end, I write some more.

  40. Girlie Blogger

    This is great advice. I need to try this.

  41. Abishek Rana : The Blogger's Way

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for this ‘simple thing’. I had been looking for it all these months, and didn’t figure it out, until I read this post.

    I don’t know how much of pressure it has taken off my shoulder.

    I was having problem juggling between different writing assignments, and now this simple technique, doing one task per day, makes sense to me. And I am going to use them from now on. Thank you for sharing.

  42. Luana Spinetti

    Hi Carol! 🙂

    I appreciate your advice here, and I’m glad it got you out of the stress circle. I do multi-task when I feel energetic and lively, but there are days and days, and when I hit the “migraine” or “anxiety” day I do what you do too: start and finish one thing. Only one. Once that’s complete, if I still have some energy and time to do more, I start another assignment (or switch to a new topic when it’s university subjects). That way I plan my schedule day by day, without having pressure piling up from the previous days.

    It took years to find a balance, but I can finally say I’m enjoying what I do, instead of running after the clock minutes. ^^

  43. Social Media Writer

    This really is a great idea! I know you have dozens of comments already saying the same thing, but it really is. I guess it’s like the concept ‘batching’ in time management – doing similar jobs all at the same time.

  44. Zia Courtney

    I am doing like this and I became more productive.This is really an inspiration for me and thanks a lot for sharing!

  45. Sally Bair

    Great post! I used to be a journalist for a daily nsp, where I learned to finish one story at a time — with deadline pressure. I got away from that habit until recently, and now I’m back to following your technique and find that I do accomplish more. On Mondays I write my weekly column and one memoir story. Tues, Wedn, and Thurs, I work on my current book, and Friday is the day to concentrate on writing an article or short story. It gets to be about 3 PM before I shut down the writing and work on the marketing. Even then I try to finish 3 marketing tasks, some as simple as a phone call. For breaks, I either walk, exercise, or do gardening any time of day I feel the need. It all seems to get done! Thanks for encouragement and confirmation about day-planning.

  46. Sandy Green

    Great post! Thanks for taking the time to write it! I try to walk everyday and carry my phone which has a voice recorder in it. I can use it while walking if something relating to my writing pops in my head and then I don’t waste time trying to remember it.

    • Carol Tice

      Nice! Thanks for adding this tip.

  47. Dr. Catherine Al-Meten

    Dear Carol, Thank you for this article. It makes so much sense, and I know it works when I’m working on a big project, but see how important it could be for doing a month’s worth of blogs, and online articles. Thanks for the good idea.

  48. April Schroader


    Great post!

    Would you be willing to share with us where you get your great photos from?

    Thank you,
    April Schroader

    • Carol Tice

      Hi April –

      These days I mostly buy them for $2 or so apiece from istockphoto. I also do check free MorgueFile and Stock Exchange sometimes, and occasionally Flickr.

  49. HP van Duuren

    Great Post I also don’t like Multi Tasking, however I also usually enjoy a certain variety, only for that I still aim to do things one thing at a time.

    Or devide a goal into specific phases, and work on those specific phases one thing at a time, like for example with writing a – Book Review – I first had a phase where I asked in a Forum about what book readers had as their most important reasons for reading a Book.

    • Carol Tice

      OK HP…we get that you write book reviews. One more post like this and I’ll be removing your comments.

  50. Glen

    I have always found that working on one thing at a time is the best way to get things done. We are not good at multi-tasking! By focusing on one thing at a time you are dedicating your focus to that sole task.

  51. Susan

    This is great. I love things that are simple to implement, but crazy effective — and this seems like it’s going to be one of those things!

  52. Brenda Cooper

    Thanks Carol for the sound advice!
    I’ll be trying this over the next 3 days because I have so, so much to do over the next few days; the most pressing work is finalising my self assessment tax return. eugh, groan…awful job and it’s my own fault for letting it drag on for so long.

    I’ll be giving your technique a try….watch this space!

  53. Kathleen

    Hi Carol,

    This article was exactly what I needed to read today. “I feel overwhelmed and unproductive.” This is the phrase I wrote in my journal this morning as I’m juggling several client projects as well as other assignments I’ve received.

    So, for the rest of the day, I will work only on one thing rather than trying to be “fair” to everything that is waiting for my attention. So long multi-tasking!



    • Carol Tice

      As someone who juggles a lot of balls, I can relate! When you do a bit on each of 10 things, if feels like you’ve done nothing.

  54. Donna

    Great article! One day…one client. The solution was right there all the time. Thanks!

  55. Roy

    Agreed. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

  56. Shan

    Hi Carol

    I wondered why I’m not getting a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. It’s because I’ve got too many items on my ‘to do’ lost. I like your idea about focusing on one project and getting it done. I’ll start using it tomorrow.


  57. Glenn Meade

    Hi everyone ! I am new to the blogging, tweeting, Freelance writing. I do not even have a web site. I do have time though to write. Out of work from elbow surgery. Looking for help to get started and maybe even making a few extra bucks. The workman’s Comp checks do not cut it. Back to main topic, I get up early and get the day started early. Thanks for reading. Glenn

  58. Julie

    I don’t know how many comments/links we are allowed to post on your blog in one day. However, I have to say something about this entry, too.

    For me, it depends on the day as far as how I tackle projects. If I have a hard time concentrating on my client work, I might take a break and pour out the words to use on my own blogs. However, I may not decide to work on/publish my blog posts right away because I need time to let the racing thoughts settle on “paper.”

    Still, if I take a break from work for other peole, and do journaling for future blog posts, I then have a clearer mind to work on my clients’ projects. Once the priority projects are complete, then I return to perfecting my personal blog posts.

    • Carol Tice

      Julie, I’ve never had to set a comment limit!

      However, you did post one that didn’t have a name attached but instead used a post name, so that one got spiked off. You have to be a real person to post here on the blog, that’s our main requirement. 😉 And no link-stuffing in comments. And be respectful — we don’t tolerate abuse around here. That’s about it!

  59. Sofie

    Timely post.
    I’ve actually applied this tactic before, but not consistent and I did find that it works really well.
    I’d get some small things out of the way in my first hour of the, then start on one task until I can’t go no more (sort of) and then I do some more little tasks in the evening.
    However, there’s always SO many different things to do that I tend to really run from here to there in my internet browser, my files directory, my posts list…

    I’m going to do this again.
    The only thing I find is that there are some things that I just can’t concentrate on for an entire day, like looking for new sites to post on.
    May have to split some days in two.

  60. Greta Boris

    Yikes!!! Thanks for this. I needed a reminder.

    I recently read Jack Canfield’s book on success. He suggested setting a day a week for each different type of project you have. I was doing that. I was focusing on fiction on Mondays and Thursdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were for non-fiction projects, my blogs, etc… and Friday was for connecting, researching, thinking about the future and drinking wine with hubby. It was working.

    But, then I read something by some creative writer – maybe Stephen King – about how you must work on fiction every day or your characters will grow stale or miss you or some other awful thing. It has completely screwed me up. I’ve been so much less productive.

    I’m returning to my former method with added wisdom from you! I’m going to attempt to hone that down even farther. I love the idea of writing a month’s worth of blog posts for one of my sites while my mind is in the game.

    Thanks again!

  61. Sabita Saleem

    I never tried dedicating a whole day to one project. I got hooked to multitasking from my office days ( I am an HR Professional)but with us as writing artists, it backfires at times as far as I have experienced.

    I am working with a client who always asks for daily submissions and I never thought to negotiate with him on these lines. Also my other client expects 2 submissions per day but sometimes I miss out on even one because I get exhausted by working on three projects every single day. And I have to make up for it during the week to keep my weekly payment intact.

    It’s a wonderful practical advice that I am definitely applying.

    Thanks Carol.


    • Carol Tice

      Working in batches on client projects is the secret of my success, Sabita.

      But I’m troubled that you’re talking about clients who you have to write for every day or even twice a day…my experience is those never pay well. You’ll want to be looking for client situations where you can get paid more for fewer posts — the kind that need expertise not every writer has. Maybe for you, in HR?

  62. Sabita Saleem

    You are right; I am falling short on having great (high paying) clients. I took this writing thing 2 years ago just as an experiment to see if I can get paid assignments; which I did. But I did not attempt to realize the value of my writing and didn’t charge high simply because I kept worrying paying my bills at the end of the day and I never wanted to lose the paying gigs I have. These existing clients are acting to fuel that. (I just recently asked for a higher rate with this client I talked about. But the negotiated rate is not that significant).

    But honestly, I am exhausted now. I did check up with Carrie Smith (joined Careful Cent’s Club) and she is the first person encouraging me to ask for high rates. I researched and found a number of websites that pay well. I in fact came across a website (through Sophie Lizard) but that is asking for HR experts having 10-20 years of experience and it’s a paid subscription due to which I can’t have an idea of the kind of content they precisely want.

    I came across which is really enticing and I saw the Copywriting Course which I intend to take but I simply can’t afford it right now.

    As per my understanding, the viable choice is to set up a blog that showcases my work and I being in HR can put up career advice on it. But then I think so many are already doing it. What can set me apart from the rest? Or describing my freelance journey is yet a similar deal. Isn’t it?

    So it’s sort of backing me off from taking action though I am in the planning stage of it. I have signed up for your Audit the Blast-Off class. I hope to gain from it.

    I look forward to your word.


    • Carol Tice

      Hi Sabita — cool, the Blast Off Class should give you some good ideas about blog design & layout from the writer website reviews — much of the same basics apply to blogs.

      Yes, there are a million blogs…yet always room for one with a fresh point of view and valuable information. This post might help you:

      You might also take a look at my ebook How to be a Well Paid Freelance Blogger for a lot about how to niche your blog and use it as a sample to get clients. Hope those resources can help you!

  63. Sabita Saleem

    Thanks for your advice Carol.

    I am closely looking at your posts and I will craft an action plan after I complete all modules of blast off class.

    Thanks for being there.

  64. Patrick

    Carol Awesome post. Focusing on one task at a time makes sense.

    I just read this -> When you’re trying to accomplish two dissimilar tasks, each one requiring some level of consideration and attention, multitasking falls apart. Your brain just can’t take in and process two simultaneous, separate streams of information and encode them fully into short-term memory.

    When information doesn’t make it into short-term memory, it can’t be transferred into long-term memory for recall later.

    If you can’t recall it, you can’t use it. And, presumably, you are trying to learn something from whatever you are doing, right? Instead of actually helping you, multitasking works against you. It’s making you less efficient, not more.

    Thanks Carol for the simple advice.

  65. Sherry

    I agree, Carol. Every time I set up a schedule farther out than perhaps a couple of days, the impending “falling behind” angst looms over my head.

    Thanks for the reminder to tackle one project until complete. Now, if only I could apply this to updating my freelance resume.


    • Carol Tice

      Ugh, I am plagued by that “behinder” feeling! It’s so awful. Anything we can do to realize we’ve done enough. We’re doing OK. It’s enough. Because there is always more…but it’s OK to stop.

  66. Liz

    I love how you are so generous with your tips on writing for a living…I feel that I have a future here, having loved writing since I was young. I was always keeping inspiring quotes,thought-provoking articles,favorite literary pieces and quirky notes.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and the wisdom you gained through the years. God bless your gracious heart!

  67. Emily McIntyre

    Great, great post. I’ve read it before I believe, but it is much more relevant to me now1 Thank you for sharing!

  68. Rut A. Baston

    This is exactly what I do and I feel like something’s wrong!
    I have always tried to work on as many projects I as could, usually dividing my day in halves: morning time for articles, afternoon, after break, creative writing/fiction. So far, I haven’t managed to complete anything from the fiction half, as I’m always fretting over uncompleted projects from the morning. And I have often sensed something was not going well with my strategy, but now I know. IT is my strategy.
    Funny how reading about the same problem others have makes you feel lonely no more.


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