The Importance of Balancing Productive Writing Time with Downtime
Similar to the idea of creating a schedule, even if you are a busy stay-at-home parent juggling your writing with taking care of the kids, is the idea that break time must be integrated into your content writing schedule. There are a few ways to do this, and the break does not have to be longer than a few minutes. Still, giving your mind a free minute or five to refuel means the creativity has the opportunity to come back strong to finish the project at hand.
Take a Vacation – Okay, Just a Mental One But Still…
Have a photograph of a place that calms you or a postcard of a location you have enjoyed visiting or even one you want to visit. In those moments when you are tired of being at your desk, go to that location – in your mind. This method of travel is less time-consuming, cheaper and guaranteed not to lose your bags (even though you may be hoping to drop some mental baggage). This is a method used for decreasing stress, calming anxiety or a million other issues people face in a regular day.
Guess what? It works great to get you away from that work in front of you, for a short enough time that you can still get back to it and have it done before deadline.
Find Time For Fun, Even If That Involves The Dreaded Television
I recognize what a double-edged sword the television can be. It has been shown in studies to be bad for children, it shouldn’t be a babysitter, it squashes creativity… I’ve heard and read all about how bad television is for everyone. I still sit down with my kids to watch their cartoons once in awhile, and I still have my favorite shows to watch in my downtime.
Taking a half an hour or an hour to catch a television program in the middle of the workday does not have to be detrimental, according to Deidre Rienzo and The Marketing Mix. Rienzo says she fits her break in as a 15 to 30 minute window at lunchtime. This makes sense to me. You get the tasks completed you set for your morning and are taking time out to eat and recharge a bit. What harm is a bit of television at that time going to do?
Now, I recognize that once that 30 minutes turns into an afternoon of watching all the soaps or the SVU marathon (that one has drawn me in previously, I will admit) there is a problem. However, that is more my own time management to blame than a bit of time spent watching television.
Have A Word Calendar And Use Your Word Of the Day In a Sentence
This method may work for some but not all. If a mental workout is what you need, but a new direction has to be found far from your current topic, this may be your newest trick to add to your bag of distraction techniques. It is beneficial in two ways: it takes you away from the project on the computer screen and helps incorporate the new word into your vocabulary. Reading the word, thinking about the meaning and putting it into context are reliable ways to commit the word to your long-term memory. Therefore, you distracted yourself by doing something that may benefit you for the next project you have on your to-do list or one a month or year in the future.
Stuck On The Next Sentence In That White Paper? Brainstorm
Most freelancers have more than one project going on at once. If you are stuck in the middle of something and the deadline is closing in, the last thing you may think of is to stop and start brainstorming for another one. However, according to a writer for Copyblogger, that is a very opportune time to do that brainstorming. For those stuck in a rut or having an idea repeat over and over with no additional information getting through, it’s a great time to brainstorm with random word generators or exercises that bring in out-of-the-box ideas.
Brainstorming for one or more new projects gets those creative juices energized and flowing. Then, it is a minimal effort to switch them back to the partly-finished task. This means success on multiple levels and inspiration for the future.
When In Doubt Or Mired In A Moment of Writer’s Block, Exercise
Exercise triggers a release of hormones that make you relax, make you feel better and change your perspective on life in general. If you are at a crossroads and think you’ll never get that project done, what better time to get up and moving than that moment? Make yourself feel better, work out frustration in a way that improves your health, and you will be surprised how quickly the ideas start flowing again once you sit back down.
For some, the ideas start when the exercise is in full swing. Hopefully, you can keep them in mind until you get to a pen and paper if your exercise methods are swimming or running a mile.
Any successful schedule is about balance. Some executives take sneakers to work to walk or run on a lunch break. The luxury of a freelancer is that the exercise can be fit in at any scheduled break throughout the day, or as an impromptu distraction as suggested here. Make it work for you. That is what is important.
The thing about content writing, particular from your home office and on your own time schedule, is that working in breaks only enhances creativity by not drawing on it constantly for the entire time frame you planned to work that day. Giving the creativity a break and the mind a chance to focus elsewhere is important to the success of future creative endeavors. Don’t wear yourself out by forcing a schedule with no breaks. Instead, work in the breaks so they benefit your work schedule and keep you moving forward with the tasks at hand.