by- Tom Kubrak
You’ve been working on that article all night. You’re tired, but you need to finish this story! So you pour yourself another cup of coffee, you end up staying up all night and have to push the deadline to the next afternoon…
Has that happened to you? Most likely you were extremely tired the next day. It’s time to get into a better habit.
Getting behind on a project as a deadline is approaching can be horribly horrifying as that deadline comes closer. But now we have to ask ourselves… “Why are we falling behind?” You had a month to work on it; what’s going on! Why have you been staying up until midnight 6 nights in a row one week and then not making any progress the following week. If this is you or has happened to you the constant up and down can be demoralizing. This post is for you to get yourself into a consistent routine so every week you are on point and hitting your deadlines.
Why Strict Cut Off Times?
Well… when you’re freelancing, other than hitting deadlines, it’s important to be ready every day for the opportunities . You have to figure out when your business operates. Because, you’re a business and business’ have opening and closing times. Unfortunately you don’t have round the clock employees to keep the doors open for you while you rest. So you have to try your best to stick to a consistent cut off time so you’re consistently up working when you need to.
If you’re schedule changes than you may have to consider changing your cut-off time.
If you’re looking for writing projects, and not a full-time novelist, then you most likely have or are searching for multiple projects to give you multiple streams of income. With that being said, it’s now important to figure out when those potential clients are open so you can contact them. It may not happen right away, but now you’re in their time-frame and are ready when the opportunity does arise. If you’re on a writing schedule of 11p-5a in the morning that potential client will be sleeping when you’re working! That’s a disaster. How are you going to talk with them?
Go to Bed
At some point you’re going to have to go to bed right? Why not sooner rather than later? It’s just not worth it to stay up all night and be groggy half the day not producing when you could get to sleep and produce!
The Day Job
Even if you had to pick up a part time job, because clients and business is slow, while you work on finding the income you need, keep the cut off times you have created. Feel free to make adjustments accordingly.
For Example: If you’re working a 9-5p maybe that means you allow yourself a few hours to recharge after working and then write until 10pm. Going to bed around 11 or 12 so you can wake up at 7. But find the time that works best for you to cut off your work.
This will allow you to maximize the time you have and to wake up everyday recharged and ready to go.
If you’re in that boate of having a part time job while you’re working on building your freelance, business, like me, then from my experience, you have to make a lot of sacrifices. Including; weekend getaways, vacationing and so on.
It’s okay to take breaks but don’t over do it. That’s the point here. In the first 3-5 years, as studies have shown, are the toughest years for any start-up. Staying on point is crucial during these first years and you can’t afford to kill the momentum you have in the early stages of freelancing. Or, you will have to start all the way back from the bottom.
Even if the checks aren’t coming in. Staying vigilant and consistent is your #1 priority if you want to make it in this game. It’s one opportunity that can lead to something great. Until then, you can’t afford to go to Maui or somewhere to far away for too long.
Stay local and stay hungry. You’ll be able to go on the trips you’ve dreamed about going on soon enough. But write now it’s a labor of love and you have to learn to love these early years of struggling and pushing yourself.
Cut off times will keep you honest and asking yourself while you are winding down the night…
“Did I maximize the time I had allotted today? Or did I have some lapses of judgement where I could have done something different to get more writing in?”
Reflect and Fix
Cut off times allow you to reflect and fix the mistakes you made. Learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them and get into bad habits.
Recognizing this in the early stages is crucial, because failing to recognize your mistakes in the beginning makes it so much harder to change later on. Change is hard but change is easier in the beginning.
I used to write until the wee-hours of the morning. After 3 months of this I didnt write a single word for weeks. I found myself in a long unexpected depression. The momentum I had was suddenly gone and the prospects I had were also LONG gone while I was in this state of mind desperately trying to get out of it.
I started out in business before I started to write, so one way I got out of it, was by taking it slow; ten minutes a day and creating these cut off times and giving myself a wind down period of 2 hours.
Slowly I was able to progress in how much I wrote, but I credit the cut off times as one of the biggest factors in getting me out of my depression and of course, into a good routine during the week so I can get adequate rest. I believe a big reason for the depression I found myself in was lack of sleep.
‘But what about that project? The one that I have to finish in a few hours! It’s due by midnight, and my cut off time that I set is 9pm!’
Well … you should have gotten it done earlier that day or earlier in that week. We’ll go over this more in. Next week’s strategy… Accepting Failure.
“A well spent day brings happy sleep.” — Leonardo da Vinci
By- Tom Kubrak
IG & TWTR @tomkubrak