Diana Kelly Levey

8 Ways to Find One Extra Hour in Your Week for Freelance Writing

busy schedule find time in week calendar

October 28, 2020

All of us are trying to find more time for the things we love to do, whether that’s finding an hour in your week to write, shoehorning some time in your schedule to get to the gym or a workout class, or finally finishing that book that’s due back at the library (guilty!).

Here are a few quick ideas on how you can find at least one more hour in your week to do the things you love–like start your freelance writing side hustle or full-time career.

8 Survival Freelance Tips to Help You Find More Time to Write

  1. Cancel a meeting.

There’s at least one meeting on your calendar that could be pushed back a week, addressed over an email, tackled on a  5-minute phone call, or, it’s really not necessary and could be deleted from your calendar forever.

2. Make plans by sharing calendar details.

Use a calendar sharing app when trying to determine a day and time that’s best for you and a friend to meet up. There are ones like Upto and Skedj—more in this article—or, make some suggestions when you reach out. I’ve been doing this lately and it’s saved me interruptions from 10 emails about where to meet, what time, who has suggestions, etc. Now I’ll say, “How about this bar/restaurant at 6:30?” and most people are happy to have someone else decide and plan for them rather than research things themselves. This is also important to do when setting up a business call.  After rescheduling a call with a friend, she gave me three time frames that worked for her the following week. I selected one and responded to her with it. Two emails. Time saved!

3. Get groceries delivered.

You’ll save time driving to and from the store, waiting in line, and perusing the aisles. You’ll probably also save money when you aren’t tempted to impulse shot. Make life even easier by ordering from the same list you made for the service last time. Here’s how freelancers can build their business in 15-minute increments.

4.  Ask yourself if a phone call would save time.

I’m guilty of emailing questions and follow up concerns to sources, writers, family, etc. Rather than starting an email chain that will keep the conversation pinging back and forth, ask yourself if a quick phone call with the person would resolve the issue faster. Chances are, it will.

Learn 4 ways to find time to start a side hustle.

5.  Set up Gmail canned replies.

When I’m receiving something in the mail from a publicist or book publishing company, I often say, “Thank you” and provide my home address. I could set this up (and other responses) as canned replies in Gmail to save time. This article on Laptopmag.com walks you through how to do it. I also like using Gmail Smart Compose to help me write emails faster when reaching out to potential freelance clients and sources. Need to respond to customers similarly each time? This will save you time.

6.  Pause your inbox.

I’ve addressed time-suck problem before on this freelance writing blog but it’s worth mentioning again. I get sucked into 1, 2, or 3 emails at a time when I’m checking my inbox frequently. If I waited one to two hours for the inbox to unpause, I’d have spent less time being interrupted and can quickly work through these. Here’s how freelancers can find potential clients and freelance writing jobs in their inbox.

7. Listen to a book or podcast during commutes and errands.

I listen to books on  Audible and catch  up on freelance industry news by listening  to podcasts. I’m able to complete books while doing things I am doing while on the move anyway—walking the baby and dog, folding laundry, cleaning, driving to the gym or working out.

8. Hire someone to  do menial tasks.

You’ve probably heard in business that  you  should outsource those things others can do and spend time on the  work that only you can do. I occasionally use a  transcription service like Rev.com or TranscribeMe.com. After I’m done an interview I recorded, I send the file off and someone else can type up the notes while I’m busy writing, marketing, and finding new freelance clients. This service allows me to get towards my goal of a six-figure freelance writing income.

How do you save an hour? Please share your tips below!

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Diana can help with:

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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.