I read an article a while ago that gave a pretty good explanation of why a copywriter’s output varies between different days: it’s not that writers can’t manage their time; they just operate on a completely different schedule when it comes to producing great content.
The article explained that copywriters (as well as programmers) are “doers” in an organisation and they divide their time differently than a sales representative or SEO specialist, for example, would.
Let me explain: A sales rep sees the day as an eight hour work day and he or she can work out how many clients they can see, how much admin they can do and how many hard-hitting pitches they can give within this specific time frame. Copywriters (and other doers) on the other hand, divide their time into two big blocks: morning and afternoon. Distractions and interruptions in the middle of one of these blocks can actually lead to zero work produced during an entire morning or afternoon.
What happens during disruptions?
Writers are renowned list-makers and before they even switch on their computer, they already know what four tasks they are going to complete before lunch, except when you land a meeting smack-bam in the middle of this block (at 10am).
As a writer, this disruption causes a doer to reassess the first part of the day: now I can write one article in the morning (maybe), attend a meeting and then I’ll have less than an hour to write another article, so I would rather browse the internet, check e-mails and read the news until the second half of my day starts.
Distractions are inevitable, especially in creative environments. To avoid completely unfruitful days, this is what can be done when something or somebody breaks your flow of writing:
- Break it down. Some articles take 40min and others require 3 hours. Start your morning and afternoon with the time-consuming jobs and leave the smaller tasks to fill in the gaps between meetings, lunch and breaks.
- Have set times. Let some team members know that meetings suit you better if they are arranged back-to-back from 2pm (that way you can get at least six hours of writing in before you go to meetings).
- Save web pages. If you were doing some intense research before you got interrupted, bookmark the pages instead of closing your tabs immediately so that you can continue where you left off and don’t have to start researching from scratch.