Every freelancer has a favourite tool that they can’t work without. Since I’m a professional business content writer, you’d probably think my favourite was a word processor, right? Sounds good, sure, but my favourite business must-have is my planner! I’ve never been without it, and it’s my most important business expense every year. Here’s why.
Why my planner is so crucial to how I run my business
I’m super old-school and still use paper planners. With the world becoming increasingly more electronic, it’s getting hard to find ones that I love. But that’s another point entirely (side note: if you know of good vendors, please post a comment below!). My planner is an essential tool for my business life for a few reasons.
- Colour-coding deadlines: I have many clients that are often all juggling for the same deadlines. When I know who has deadlines on one day, how many, and where I squeeze in a few more from another client, I don’t have to worry about accidentally overloading my queue. My secret to this is highlighter and coloured pens. Since I know how long each client’s work takes, I know what days are available and which ones are blocked out already.
- Take business week by week and day by day: While there are moments where I need to see the month at a glance (which is where my trusty whiteboard comes in), I typically find that overwhelming. Especially when I’m trying to focus on one week’s worth of deadlines or even one day’s worth of deadlines. It helps me take the business in manageable chunks to stay focused and keep the panic at bay (mostly).
- Carry the whole year with you: Firstly, I do take my planner with me everywhere I go. Secondly, I love flipping back through the months to see the monthly earnings quickly. It cheers me up from a day full of frustrating customers and helps me see how my progress is going financially. I also will use that to gauge when I can expect my monthly clients to come “knocking” for new business content since they often work on 4 or 5-week cycles.
Paper planner or die
Seriously. I gave electronic planners a try multiple times, but they just don’t do it for me. I need my classic planner with highlighters, coloured pens, sticky notes, whiteout, and coffee stains, or I feel like I’m lost. Plus, they’re pretty neat keepsakes when you want to feel nostalgic, too!
I prefer the weekly view calendars since I can keep an eye on upcoming deadlines and reminders. I will sometimes make daily to-do lists for each day, too, so I can move them around from one day to another on my sticky notes.
I really do believe that organization (in a way that works for you) is essential to success as a professional freelancer!
What about you? What’s your most essential tool for business? Any fellow paper planner lovers out there?
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Kelterss is an experienced freelance business writer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creating Writing. Having served over 1100 customers while maintaining a 4.9/5 star rating, Kelterss is looking to focus her professional services in writing product descriptions and blog posts.