A Simple To Do List Tweak for More Productive Writing

When you work as a writer -- especially a freelance writer -- your schedule can feel a bit scattered. You don't have one job that you go to, where you follow a basic plan under one boss. You instead have to balance (or is that juggle?) multiple projects and multiple clients.

Bouncing around from one project to another isn't the most efficient use of your time. And overall, it can slow you down. But there's a simple tweak you can make to your to do list that can help you be even more productive in your writing:

Group similar tasks together.

By grouping like tasks together in your schedule or to do list, you minimize the "bouncing around" so common in writing work. You don't have to constantly change your frame of mind, where you're working, or how you're working.

Need some examples?

How Writers Can Group Like Tasks Together

Here are some ways you can group similar writing-related tasks together to increase your overall productivity:

  • If you plan to send out queries, research several publications you want to pitch at the same time. Then draft your queries together. And get all of your pitches sent out at once.
  • If you have a blog post due for each of five different clients this week, outline all of your post ideas one right after the other. Then move on to the drafting phase. Then revisions.
  • Take care of all of your invoicing and payment follow-ups at the same time instead of invoicing right before or after each individual project.
  • Prepare for, and conduct, interviews for multiple articles on the same day so you aren't interrupting your writing time with calls on several days of the week.

While I've used freelance writing as an example here, you can use this same scheduling tip to increase your productivity in any kind of writing. Plan and outline your own blog posts in groups for example. Or group interviews for your next book together as closely as possible.

Obviously there are other factors to consider, such as project deadlines. But by grouping similar tasks together, you can squeeze more productive working hours out of most days. Other than the examples I've given here, how else might a writer be able to group like tasks together? How do you do this when planning your own writing schedule? Share your scheduling hacks and to do list tips in the comments.

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has over 20 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 17 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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2 thoughts on “A Simple To Do List Tweak for More Productive Writing”

    • To that I’d simply add, make sure those small goals all help you work towards your larger ones. One problem writers sometimes have is that we forget about the end game and focus too much on the day-to-day.


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