The freelance life is complicated. You can get to the end of what seemed like a productive day, and realize that you achieved nothing of major importance. Deadlines are looming, you're not making as much money as you feel you should be making, and you wonder what you're doing wrong.

Professional writing used to be much simpler. You got clients, completed projects, and collected the money. When the mail arrived, on a good day you received several checks. On a bad day, the mailbox was jammed with rejected manuscripts.

All these years later, email eats your time, as does social media. You're tired before you start writing.

There's a solution. Focus on your goals, rather than simply on whatever the day brings.

Goals are specific; they have deadlines. For example, "I want to get a content writing job for weight a loss site which pays a dollar a word by August 1," is a goal. "I want to get better writing jobs which pay more" is just an idea.

Once you've created a goal, create a list of tasks which will lead you to accomplishing the goal.

Create Tasks from Your Goals, and Schedule Those Tasks

If you want to get a job writing for a weight loss website, your tasks might consist of: finding several weight loss websites for which you want to write, assessing the content on these sites, deciding what you could write for them, and then approaching these sites with queries.

Make a simple list of tasks. Then use a calendar program like Google Calendar to schedule your tasks.

It's easy get sidetracked. If you're a full-time writer, you start your writing day reading email, and then spend the next three hours sending client quotes, answering client questions, and blogging. While all these activities may be essential, they're not important. You need to get them done, but get them done later in the day, when you've completed your writing for the day.

Email is usually the primary culprit for getting sidetracked. However, if you're on the social media sites, it's entirely possible to get sucked into Facebook or Twitter and waste hours.

Do the tasks which lead to the accomplishment of your goals first. Then manage your email, create client invoices, and do a few minutes of marketing.

Here's a tip if you're a full-time writer: exercise daily. Writing is a sedentary activity; it's not good for your health. Exercise relieves stress, and you can use your exercise time to think about your goals and to create plans.

When you create specific goals, with deadlines, and schedule tasks to achieve your goals, you'll not only be productive, you'll also increase your income.