By Sarah Clachar
What’s the secret ingredient to a successful freelance writing business?
It’s not brilliance and creativity.
It’s not even good grammar.
It’s energy, and the ability to get down to work and stick with it.
But what really makes the difference between someone who wants to write for a living and one who does is whether you can get stuff done.
For many freelance writers, a cup of coffee is about the only productivity-booster they keep on hand.
As someone who ditched my espresso machine 17 years ago, I’m here to tell you the best stimulants are inside of you. It just takes some effort to tap into them.
Here are my five favorite tactics for making your workday more productive and energized:
Booster #1: Take breaks
It may seem strange that the first tactic I offer for getting more done is to take a break, but nonetheless it’s perhaps one of the best. By planning to take breaks, you can also commit to getting work done.
To use these breaks strategically, structure your work time in two ways.
· First, allot an amount of time to work in a focused way and set a timer for this. I like to set my timer for 30 minutes. But some people do an hour, some do 15 minutes.
While the timer is going you have to work without stopping. No checking email. No surfing on the web. No snack break.
When the timer goes off, stop. Just stop cold. And take a 5-15 minute break away from your work. Do something completely unrelated to writing like wash some dishes.
Or you can use the break for my next favorite tactic . . .
Booster #2: Exercise
Now before you groan and say you don’t like exercise, hear me out.
Exercise is not only a waist-trimmer — it’s a brain-charger.
In fact, research has demonstrated that simply by walking on the treadmill for 10-minute spurts, women solved problems faster.
Better yet, exercise is best done in short bursts – not long slogs. So in this case – while I heartily recommend a good hour-long bike ride – that’s not what I’m talking about.
Simply do 5-15 minute bursts of exercise throughout your day. Ten jumping jacks, jogging in place for 60 seconds, a few rounds of sunrise salutations . . . not much.
Not only do these short bursts wake you up and recharge your body, they add up. Over the course of the day, if you keep sneaking these in, you’ll find you’ve gotten a full workout.
And you’ll discover how your mind hums after moving more!
Booster #3: Drink
I’m not talking caffeine, I’m talking water.
Your body depends on water to move nutrients around and to move toxins and waste out of you. Every cell in your body needs to have enough of this special liquid to provide room for the essential chemical reactions performed within them.
When you drink water, you give your body exactly what it needs to perform at its best.
During one of those breaks I just talked about, go fill up an 8-oz. glass and drink it down on the spot. Then fill it up again and take it back to your desk.
You’ll be amazed at how a little hydration can regenerate you and get your writing flow going again.
Booster #4: Nap
One of the problems with depending on caffeine is that we learn to ignore our body’s very real needs for sleep. If you’re tired, you probably need sleep.
Now this doesn’t mean you won’t have to give yourself a lecture sometimes and plug on through. I’ve conquered many a deadline mixed with family crises on a 4-hour night’s sleep.
But overall, you’ll benefit more (and get more done) by listening to your body and doing exactly what it’s telling you. Even if I lose 30 minutes-1 hour of work time to sleep, I make that up with the level of productivity I enjoy when I wake up.
Booster #5: Eat right
When I get stuck on a project, my mind inevitably wanders to the kitchen and the goodies stored up in the snack cabinet.
Bad news when it comes to energy – since most of these goodies I fantasize about are starches laced with sugar.
These may give you a little momentary spark. But soon they’ll leave you feeling more like a slug than when you started. Carbs and sugar put you to sleep.
And they make you crave more until you end up on a roller coaster of energy highs and lows.
When I get low on energy, instead of snacking on muffins, I’ve taught myself to reach for protein or fresh veggies or fruit. On days when I’m really pushing it (remember those 4-hour nights) my favorite lunch is a salad with roasted chicken.
For a wakeup break – if I’m not chugging water – I’ll take a few moments and savor a refreshing piece of fruit. While the fruit has sugar it also gives me fiber which slows down digestion.
A scoop of peanut butter gives me not only a little protein but some energizing magnesium. And protein-rich hummus (or any other bean dip) boosts my B vitamin intake to fuel my metabolism.
Get more done and feel better
By using these techniques, you’ll have more focus, energy, confidence, and creativity.
And yes, you might even get tedious tasks like bookkeeping done.
Do you have some productivity tactics to add? Share your tips in the comments.
Natural health writer Sarah Clachar has combined her experience as a business owner and healthcare writer to create a unique resource for home business owners — a FREE report on a simple move that can revolutionize your day. To add it to your productivity tool chest, click here.