This year will be my second in full-time self employment. Last year involved a huge amount of learning as I got the hang of working by myself for myself most of the time. I managed to get and keep a regular contract client but I still needed to keep finding other clients and ensuring that I make the most of my available time. I spent some of the quiet time over Christmas and New Years thinking abut 2011 and what I could do to build on the success.
It’s easy to look back and only think about all the things I didn’t do well. However, I think that it’s easy to look at the negatives and create a list of things to do and improve upon that’s too long to do and that distracts you from your main business. this year, I’m going to focus on two things and two things only.
Managing my time remains my biggest challenge. While there’s an emphasis on the “free” in freelance I need to work harder at creating and maintaining good work habits. That means making better use of my time.
I have a whiteboard on the wall in my office that I use for jotting down notes and reminders. This year, I’m going to draw a five day plan on the board and divide each day into three slots and allocate a specific activity to each slot.
The idea isn’t to totally regiment all my time but to provide some structure. One of my weaknesses is that I can be easily distracted. By creating a regular schedule I can make sure that I make the most of my office time.
Improving my Craft
My main task is writing. I believe (and am told) that I write well but that’s not an excuse to rest on my laurels.
In order to improve my writing I need to do two things more than I have been recently. I need to spend more time reading and more time writing. This ties in nicely with my time management objective as I’ll be setting aside part of my week to write in different styles.
Like all journalists, I’m a slightly frustrated novelist so I’ll put some focus on writing fiction. I don’t know if I’m any good at it but I have some good critics at home and I’m sure they’ll provide honest feedback. My plan is to put at least one three hour block aside each week to write some fiction.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading more than I have in some time. I’ll continue that, endeavoring to read outside my comfort zone. That’s always being a challenge for me as I know what I like.
So, what are you going to do to makem2012 evenbetter than 2011?