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This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on dominating your freelance writing business and market:
By William Ballard
For years now, I have seen writers and business professionals a like fall victim to the lie of “busy work” being considered productive work. They think that because they are busy doing something in their business that they must have a strong work ethic. However, this notion is completely false.
What you are about to read is one fellow writers plea to persuade you to turn away from this lie and embrace the truth of what a strong work ethic really is.
You see, there is a difference between being stupid and being ignorant. Where there is ignorance there is still hope, but where there is stupidity, hope is gone forever.
Ignorant people have simply not been given the opportunity for knowledge, but stupid people, on the other hand, have been given the opportunity for knowledge and have willfully decided to reject that knowledge and continue down their unsuccessful path.
The article you are about to read is going to empower you with knowledge so that you may become more productive and more successful with your freelance writing business.
Before we can really get to the meat and potatoes of this article we first need to differentiate between what is busy work and what is productive work.
The Difference Between Busy Work and Productive Work
To really put this point into perspective, I want to share with you a brief story of how I moved up the ranks in the security industry fast.
You see, most people have clichéd viewpoints of what a security officer is, but I will impart wisdom to you, and inform you that what you see in comedy movies is far from the truth.
The job of a security officer is to observe and report. They are to be vigilant and always alert for things that are out of the ordinary. A true security officer is someone who is skilled in the art of observation.
There is busy work that a security officer can do to keep his/her job and there is productive work that a security officer can do to advance in his/her particular profession.
When I was working in the security industry I was given many tasks that needed to be done within the eight to twelve hours that I was on duty, and I managed to become a master at completing those tasks within a few hours so that I could put my attention towards more productive tasks and situations.
Many of my co-workers could not figure out how to master the ability to get these least productive tasks taken care of so that they could move on to more fun and more advanced work.
Perhaps, I gained these more advanced skills during my tenure in the Military, but all that aside, I knew that just getting busy work done was not going to advance my career in the security industry, so I started doing my job. I started searching for things out of the ordinary, searching for breaches in security, and started reporting my findings.
When I did this, I started getting the attention of General Managers and managers at our headquarters who then started to offer me promotion after promotion, which also meant more and more work, but because I knew the difference between busy work and productive work, I was able to make a huge mark in the security industry.
For example, I was securing a JC Penny warehouse where truck drivers would come in, drop off their loads, and pick up new ones. During a patrol through the lot, I noticed that there were some JC Penney packages of merchandise that was in the lot and not in the warehouse being accounted for. I then went into action, took pictures of the package that I found (which was dented and looked as if it was tampered with), and reported my findings.
When I did this, I got the attention of the client (JC Penney) and they gave me gift cards because instead of them losing money by losing merchandise, I was helping them save money by retrieving lost merchandise.
This also got the attention of my security company, which then ended up in a promotion.
The reason I share this story with you is because the difference between busy work and productive work in this case would be patrolling (busy work) and discovering a security breach (productive work), and then reporting that finding.
When it comes to your freelance writing business, busy work would be considered doing stuff that is important to your business but that does not bring in a return to your business. In other words, it does not bring in profits, revenue, or more leads.
If you want to succeed at being a freelance writer and copywriter, the key is being able to effectively market your writing business in such a way that brings in hot leads, and the ability to churn out work that is 100% flawless as fast as possible and as much as possible.
Now, you might say that sounds unrealistic, but the fact of the matter is that if you want to be successful in this business you are going to have to make up your mind that you are going to be productive.
You see, history is full of people that did things that others thought were unrealistic but ended up changing the world anyways, such as the Wright Brothers when they created the Airplane, Mr. Bell when he introduced us to a way to communicate clear across the globe (telephone), and the list can go on and on.
These men were considered unrealistic or unreasonable in their day, but they did not allow the viewpoints of others to stop them from achieving greatness.
When you make up your mind to be successful the same way they made up theirs, nothing else matters, and nothing else can stop a made up mind. That is what this series is going to help you do, and so you are going to want to follow this series very closely.
The Truth About Multitask Thinking (Hint: It Doesn’t Exist)
Another myth that most writers end up believing in is this myth about being an effective multitasker. However, science has proven that is it impossible for the human brain to literally remain focused on multiple thoughts. In other words, when one thought has entered the brain, the brain can only focus on that one thought, and when another enters, the one thought previous is now gone.
Simply put, being able to focus on multiple tasks is not possible for the human brain. When you understand and accept that, you can then become a more productive writer.
When you learn to put 100% of your attention on one particular task, you will find that you will be 100% more productive in that area.
However, if you listen to this myth of multitasking and try to put your attention to multiple tasks at once, not one of those tasks will be 100% accurate or flawless.
In order for one task to be 100% flawless, it will require 100% of your focused attention. You must learn to give 100% of yourself to one task at a time until that task is 100% complete and flawless before you move on to another task.
That is why defining your top priority task for the day is most essential. Most newbie writers don’t know this or don’t do this and that is why they put 100% of their attention on least priority or even non important task and fail to be successful.
A Strong Work Ethic Starts in Your Ability to Focus
Sense we know that it is true that our brains can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, why do we put our brains through so much torture, when we could, instead, utilize our brain to its full potential, and really excel in our profession?
How do we utilize our brain to its full potential?
Well, by exercising its main power – focus.
I believe that all writers are in some essence, super heroes. And just as all super heroes have superpowers, so too does writers. Every writer is given the “superpowers” of imagination and focus.
If you want to develop a strong work ethic in your freelance writing business, and if you want to become extremely productive and successful, you need to develop the skill of focus.
I believe that most writers have the imagination superpower down, but what many lack is the superpower of focus.
Resolve to give up the crazy notion of trying to multitask and instead, start developing the skill of focus and put all your fixed attention on one task all the way to its completion and then move on to the next.
When you do this, you will find that you will become more productive and even more skilled at your craft.
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About William Ballard
Freelance Writer, Copywriter, Blogger, Inbound Marketing Specialist, and Author, William Ballard, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs, like you, broadcast their message across the Internet (and offline) and be seen as experts in their field. He has recently been dubbed the Expert Marketer of Writing.
William, a writer and content creator since 2007, enjoys sharing with others his experience on how to become a successful writer, blogger, and author. View more about William Ballard →