7 easy time management tips for copywriters
Time management isn’t something they teach in school and it’s not something most copy gurus talk about.
So even if you’re the most brilliant copywriter on the planet, you won’t get very far if you’re piddling away all the hours in your workday.
Here are some time management tips specifically for copywriters:
Eliminate distractions. Turn off the radio. Tell friends and family to not call you when you’re working. Turn down the volume on your computer so you can’t hear the *bing bong* chime when email arrives. Even little interruptions can throw you off-track.
Stop goofing around online. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You turn on your computer and check Facebook, right? Then you visit your favorite news site. Then maybe watch some funny cat videos on YouTube. Before you know it, you’ve burned a couple hours and have nothing to show for it.
Knock it off. Do personal things on personal time and business things on business time.
Say “no.” This is a skill you must learn because it’s the best way to prevent filling your schedule with time wasters. Say no to yourself. Say no to clients. Say no to colleagues. Be nice but decisive. The busier you are, the less time you have for all those little favors, pointless meetings, and endless freebies people want.
Use a calendar. Copywriting works on deadlines, so you need to get those deadlines into a calendar. A paper calendar is okay, but I recommend a computer calendar with programmable reminders, such as the one built into ACT!, a contact management program. If you juggle many simultaneous projects, you could also use project management software.
Write up a daily to-do list. If you’re not doing this, start immediately. Make a list of each thing you must accomplish today and start working through the list. At the end of the day, every item should be crossed off. Before you leave the office, make a list for the next day.
This seems obvious, but I am always astonished at how many people don’t use lists. They rely on dozens of disorganized sticky notes or piles of paper or often nothing at all. I suppose some people can track everything in their head, but I’ve found that the only way to be SURE you get everything done is to make a list and work through it each day.
Stop being a phone slave. I screen calls with caller ID and voice mail. I never answer the phone if I don’t recognize the caller, and sometimes don’t answer even if I do. I check messages and return calls once a day when it’s convenient. I recommend you do the same.
Deal with email twice a day. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are ideal. This is a hard one for me because I have email filling my inbox all day. And yes, some email is urgent. But by processing messages in clumps, you can save a lot of time.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to answer every message. The delete button is your friend. When you do answer, don’t turn it into a writing project. Keep it short and to-the-point.
Being efficient with your time is really about organization and prioritization. These are just 7 ways to organize and prioritize. Do you have other tips you’d like to share?