How do you approach your work?
Do you do the same thing every day or do you switch it up, to keep it interesting?
Jack Welch once said, “Time is the single best indicator of competitiveness — Quality is a given”.
As writers, we must produce quality work. Period.
But, we also have to remember that our time, or our efficiency, determines our competitive edge.
Our efficiency, the ability to accomplish something with the lowest amount of time and effort, is critical.
A high level of efficiency can improve our income.
How do we find our highest level of efficiency?
By using an awesome process containing only the best set of steps to do the work.
And if we aren’t continuously working to improve that, we are leaving a lot on the table.
1) A Process Can Improve Production Time
There are some of us who are able to crank out articles faster than Flash Gordon. The rest of us take a little longer.
But, writing is not the only step in freelancing, so there are many other ways to improve production times.
Setting up a process to follow will reduce the total time we spend on a task, from idea to send off.
How? It eliminates the ‘interesting’ in-between steps. Specifically, the variation.
Here’s the thing-variation causes delay. Delays decrease production, and eventually income.
A process (even a simple checklist) can improve our production time and can mean:
- Getting a pitch to an editor sooner than our competitors
- Having time for an extra client
- Error-proofing our product delivery-making our work even more valuable
- More time to promote/market our writing
Expect to find at least 5-10 minutes of time savings in each process created.
These time savings can really accumulate. Therefore, we need to continuously improve the steps of every process we have.
2) A Process Can Maximize Prioritization
We should also have a process for how we spend our overall work time.
If we follow the 80/20 rule in business, we should spend 20% of our time working for our future.
But we need revenue now. How much of the other 80% of our time is actually on revenue generation?
To find out: time and record each step of each of your tasks.
I know, I’m rolling my eyes (ok gagging) just like you are.
But, these times are incredibly valuable to help us know:
- Where to spend the bulk of our time to generate revenue
- What tasks are efficient and should become a daily process
- Where to work on reducing our times (where to learn shortcuts, find software/apps)
A time study of processes may justify paying for software/automation/VA so we can spend time on revenue generation tasks.
3) A Process Eliminates Mistakes
Not only does variation cause delay, it causes mistakes.
Yes, it causes them.
A good process catches them. An awesome process prevents them.
Shoot for awesome.
Have you ever sent off an article and then noticed a typo? Realized you forgot to put your image credit into your article? Didn’t follow one of the specifications? Lose a client?
Shoot for awesome. It will increase the value of your work.
4) A Process Reduces Stress
Freelance writing is wonderful on some days, and other days are so overwhelming we may wish we were back at the old job we hated.
While there will always be last-minute changes or demands in the freelancing world, a process is a great tool to bring order to that constantly changing and chaotic environment.
Ever get interrupted?
An awesome process can quickly get us back on track again.
Who doesn’t want that?
Following and continuously improving processes can bring several benefits and should always be a part of our work strategy.
The benefits of a process; improved production time, identified revenue generating tasks, eliminated mistakes and the reduction of stress can help us be more efficient, thus more competitive to earn more income.
Do you have tried and true processes you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! What new processes can you put in place today that will move you towards a stronger competitive edge?
Lisa is a Writer and Virtual Assistant for hire and a business consultant. She has 24 years of experience as an RN in a variety of business settings. Lisa enjoys helping clients with cost analysis and process improvement and finds joy writing health and medical articles and about her nursing experiences. When she is not working she loves to sit down with a good book, a chai tea and a few (or several) fresh baked cookies. See more at mylifenurse.com
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