Tackling Time Management

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I really thought that I was well equipped to handle time management as a freelance writer. I have been to time management trainings and I have read many, many great posts by my fellow freelancers on time management. Plus, I was really good at this in my previous full-time job, so naturally, I thought I would be good at it right off the bat. Well, sadly I’m not. Here are some reasons off the top of my head as to why I may not be succeeding at time management:

  • I don’t have a set schedule yet. Why? I’m not really sure, but I’m working on getting into a schedule. For some reason, the gym seems to throw me off and I get less accomplished on the days that I go workout before I start working.
  • I can’t yet decide what is more important to spend my time on. For example, I need to make a certain amount of money a day to meet my goals, but I also need to apply for higher paying jobs in order to give me time in my day to focus on other aspects of freelancing like accounting, networking and looking for other jobs.
  • There are a lot of “time stealers” that I keep getting distracted by. When I say time stealers, I mean things like Face Book, Twitter and various household chores that I sometimes find myself doing when I should be working.

The point is, I need to come up with a schedule that works for me and that I can stick to. If I want to meet my goals, I have to become more efficient and productive with my time.

Also, I really want is to be done working at a decent time, so that I can spend my evenings with my husband. Lately I have found myself working late into the night because I wasn’t efficient with my time during the day.

I’m working on developing a plan to help my time management issues and hopefully I’ll have a good plan in place next week.

What are your time stealers? What do you do to manage your time efficiently?

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Week Two Roundup

It’s been a pretty decent week of writing for me, aside for my rant yesterday, sorry about that! I got much closer to meeting my goals. Mind you, my writing goals start out small and move up by the month as I hope to gain more clients or better paying jobs each month. I made myself apply for many more jobs and I ended up applying for over 25, which is over double what I applied for last week. I did get contacted for two that I am very interested in, so we will see how those turn out.

I couldn’t keep myself from working on my Web site last weekend, so it was pretty much finished by Monday. Here is the link to it if you want to check it out: www.RaechelConover.com. Any feedback would be great, and I’m sure I will be constantly making small changes, but there it is. I have to say that if you are thinking about creating a Web site, and you don’t know HTML, Karen over at Want To Freelance has some excellent information in her posts: Why Freelancers Should Know HTML and HTML Tricks for Freelancers. HTML is not hard to learn, but can seem daunting. Knowing something about it can help you immensely.

I finished my current series for the astrology Webinar I was working on for AltGlobe. Here it is if you want to take a look: Astrology Signs Webinar. If you want to read up on your astrology sign and the astrology elements it’s a great place to look, if I do say so myself.

I had my first experience of working out of my house. I was forced to go to the library because my neighbors were getting their roof replaced today and my dogs were barking at the workers every minute. The library was pretty uneventful, except that it was much louder than I remember libraries being. Note to self, take headphones next time.

My goals for next week include hopefully, fingers crossed, actually landing one of the many jobs I apply for online. I have also been keeping a list over the last few months of local companies that have shown interest in hiring a freelance writer and companies that I think might give me the time of day. Next week, now that my Web site is up and running, I plan to at least start sending my information to the companies on this list that I have a direct contact with. I also want to order business cards and I need to set up an email to my domain name. One job that I applied for, but didn’t get was nice enough to give me some feedback and said that this would make me look more professional. Well, if it will help me land a job, I’ll do it!

On a personal note, my husband and I have decided that we are way overdue for a vacation – we haven’t been anywhere since our honeymoon four years ago. So, we have been looking at exotic places to go this fall. We don’t have a ton to spend, but we should be able to swing some sort of all-inclusive Caribbean vacation. Hopefully I will start making a little more and I can always pick up more Demand Studios work so that it doesn’t take too much of a dent out of our savings.

Enjoy your weekend! I’m off to look at tropical beaches!

Um, Seriously?

Overall, I really try not to complain. I love that I have the opportunity to pursue my life dream of being a freelance writer. I love that I have friends and family that support my decisions. I love that I can work from home. And I love that I have already gotten a few clients. But…..

This week I have been applying for jobs like crazy, mostly off the typical job boards and lists. Among some of the responses I got, one completely shocked me. Mind you that this job advertised for a “Professional Writer” with a college degree. So you would think, anyway, the ad went on to request a resume, three samples of work, a summary of my work experience and why I think I am qualified for the job. All in all, thanks in part to my new Web site, applying for the job took me about five minutes. But five minutes of my precious time, only to be told that after reviewing my resume and samples, they felt that I was very qualified for the job and they were willing to offer me, wait for it, wait for it…. $1-4 dollars per 500 word article depending on the exact length, plus a whopping $2 for editing other people’s articles. WHAT!?! Seriously people. Do they really think that I went to college, put together a resume, collect perfect samples of my work and take time out of my day to seek out opportunities only to be offered that? What an insult.

Now, I know at this point you are probably thinking “welcome newbie”, but I have heard the horror stories. I know that some places really do offer writers this measly wage; I just haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it firsthand. So thus ensued my first moment of weakness. As I sat there dejectedly reading the email again, I just felt my self-worth going down the drain. But I didn’t let it keep me down long, soon I was able to brush it off and move on.  However, later that night as I was telling my husband about it, it dawned on me that somewhere out there, someone will really accept that offer. Which truth be told is what is going to drive down the rates for all of us freelance writers. Oh the injustice.

How can companies really think that it is okay to offer someone that amount for their precious time? In my previous full-time job, at least they had the decency to compensate me well for my time. No way in the world would they have thought to offer an employee $1-4 for an hour of work. That is why we have a minimum wage in this country, so people can actually support themselves. And, what so called freelance writer would actually accept that wage for their precious time? I think the minimum wage should apply to freelancers of all fields too. Can’t we all join together, not accept these crap jobs and demand at least a minimum wage for ourselves?

Do you have any horror stories about searching for jobs?

A Busy First Week

I can’t believe it’s Friday! This week has just flown by. I guess the saying is true, time flies when you’re having fun.

This week I have been so busy, it’s not even funny. I decided that this was the week I would get a web site up and running. I researched several free web site building programs and after a few days of messing around with several, I finally decided that since I already know WordPress (WP) to go ahead and give it a try to see how it works as a portfolio web site. I have been presently surprised at the usability of it as a portfolio web site, since it’s mostly designated for blogs. There are still some kinks that I need to iron out, but I think it is almost ready to be revealed. I also had to research and select the best hosting service, which once I decided on WP, was quite an easy decision. WP strongly recommends several and I went with the option that got the best reviews from WP users and it ended up being one of the cheaper hosting sites.

Once I got started with the actual creating of my web site, then things moved rather slowly. I tend to be a little particular when it comes to design, and most of the kinks that need ironed out are more design issues. I don’t know HTML that well, so the going is slow and is more of a trial and error thing. The good news is that once the site is established, there is virtually no HTML needed. So probably sometime next week the site will be ready to be viewed.

On other news, I got a new client. Well, technically a client that I have worked with before that would like me to start working on another project for them. It looks like it could turn out to be a long term thing, so that’s good.

Unfortunately, since I was obsessed with my web site this week, I didn’t quite meet my writing goals, but no worries there. My old employer is paying me my vacation time on my last paycheck, so I should be fine for this month and not have to use any of the money I have saved up to get started freelancing.

On the financial front, I have not as of yet had to use any of the money I have saved, which is great! Next month will be the true test to see if I am making what I truly need to make without using my saved up money. After that I should be able to determine if I need to step it up looking for new clients.

I did search for new writing jobs this week and applied for about ten. Not much, I know, but it’s a start. I hope to apply for much more next week and hopefully it will be even easier with my web site up and running.

Overall, this getting started full time freelancing thing is a slow process, but a process that I have carefully planned for financially. Plus, I can’t complain, everything seems to be going as planned and I have truly enjoyed my first official week working from home full time. More on that later, but for now I have to wrap up a project and get ready for happy hour.

Oh yeah, I changed the look of this blog again. I think I really like this look and may stick with it, but then again, I am a classic Gemini and can never make up my mind!

Have a great weekend!

Feeling Better and Setting Goals

Happy International Happiness Day! Just saying that makes me happy!

Last night Jason and I took the dogs for a long walk and had a lengthy discussion about all these emotions that had popped up. He once again reassured me that we were going to be fine. We also for the first time discussed what was going on with my mom and how I can handle it best. It was a good talk to say the least. When we got home I vegged out on the couch, got a good night sleep and today I am feeling much better about things.

This morning I set my daily goals for the rest of the month in order to meet my writing income. Next week I will begin incorporating into my day’s, time to work on my website and time to look for other gigs, I have goals set for these two things too. There is something about setting goals that makes me feel settled, while helping me stay on track.

I have returned to Demand Studios after a few months off from them and am currently relying heavily on them. I don’t like to rely too much on one source, especially Demand Studios, but I’m not too worried, things seem to be going well there right now. I have a new post at AltGlobe on earth astrology signs, check it out if you get a chance.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend – I am staying low key. I need to catch up on things around the house and relax. Tonight, one of my friends is coming over for a “patio night” where we just sit on the patio, drink wine and gossip. And then tomorrow Jason and I are going to hit a movie. Can’t wait!

For now, in celebration of International Happiness Day, I will leave you with a few pictures of my two adorable dogs who make me smile daily.

Happy Friday!

Bella and Coco

Bella and Coco

Coco

Coco

Bella

Bella

Emotions

Today was my last day at my job and I am wrestling with a bunch of emotions right now. On one hand I am relieved and excited to start this next chapter of my life, but I am also nervous. I thought I would feel nothing but pure and utter joy to be done working full time, but I am a little sad. They threw me a party and they were truly upset that I was leaving, but more surprising is that I realized that I will miss parts of my job. However the most overwhelming feeling is that this is for real now. Now I have to try to make my own path in the freelance writing world and all of a sudden that task seems daunting.

Up until now I have never had an ounce of doubt that I could do this. Now all of a sudden, I am hoping I can do this, but not as sure as I once was. Mostly this is my fault. I have yet to look for gigs. This summer has been a whirlwind, with my mom’s diagnosis, weddings, the holiday, you name it and I was involved. I have kept up with my current (very light) load of clients, but I never went out looking for new clients to prepare me for when I was actually done working. To be honest, it felt like I would never be done working, well, today it all sank in. I am completely dependent on myself now and that is a little scary. I know what I have to do, I know that I can do this, but there is just a little insecurity there and a little fear of the unknown.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally pumped. This is what I have been working towards forever it seems like. I know in my heart that I will never look back at this as a mistake, I know that I will live a happier life and I know that I am completely ready for this. I just didn’t expect to feel so emotional about things.

I think I need to take this evening off and digest everything. Then starting in the morning I need a game plan based on where I am right now and where I want to be in the next month. Little by little I know I can make this work…..see, just writing about it is making me feel better already.

A Busy Week and a New Gig

I have had to work full time at my job this week training the new person and as a result, I have neglected my writing a bit. That makes me sad, but no worries, next week is my last week and then it is time to scrounge up some new clients and get back on track towards meeting my goals.

This week I have started writing for a website called AltGlobe. It is a green, sustainability website that discusses many things I find hugely interesting! I am joining the group as their astrology blogger, which is so different from my normal writing topics, but something I have always had an interest in. Now I will get to learn more about it and write about it! Here are my first two posts, check them out!

Fire Zodiac Signs
Zodiac Sign Compatibility and Your Relationships

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!