I’m writing this post on my commute to work. As a master’s student with two jobs and a thriving freelancing career, I’ve got to multitask and that includes making the most of my commute time. Adapting your commute to allow for content services work can help you accomplish more work every day, and may even lead to a better work-life balance. How?
Your mode of commute dictates what you can accomplish. Typing while driving would certainly be dangerous! Writers on public transportation can use commute time to write articles; those with commutes that offer Wi-Fi can also research content. If you have no Wi-Fi, as I do, pick an article or blog post that is in your area of expertise, spend 15 minutes researching the topic before you leave the house, and leave the research on your Internet browser so you can write while in transit. Your background knowledge plus the targeted web research should help you write most or all of your content! By the time you reach your destination, you’ll have a working draft of an article and can perform more research, proofread, or submit your article to a client. If the idea of writing while commuting makes you nervous, try proofreading content you’ve already written. After a couple of rides grammar-checking and revising sentences, you may be ready to tackle a blog post.
Crowded rush hour transit leaves little room to type, but you can still plan. Make that checklist, or brainstorm ideas to pitch to existing clients. Use a notepad or smartphone app to keep track of your ideas. You can also sketch out notes for your website or e-portfolio while you commute, as well as brainstorm what needs to be researched so you can jumpstart your workday.
Drivers can even perform some tasks while commuting. Use that time to make client phone calls, so long as you abide by your state’s laws that regulate talking on cell phones while driving. Make a mental checklist in your head of freelance goals for the day, or think aloud and record yourself using a tape recorder or smartphone app.
On slow days, use your transit time to learn. Freelance writing podcasts offer writing tips and that sense of collegiality that freelancing, by its nature, lacks. Industry-specific podcasts help you keep up to date in your areas of expertise. Educating yourself about the craft and business of freelancing, as well as about topics you cover, can boost your work. You might learn about upcoming trends or gain a better understanding of jargon; this can inspire new pitches that help you earn.
Of course, not all content services tasks translate well into a commuting workflow. It’s not a good idea to tackle an assignment in a new genre or subject area. Don’t take transit time for granted by leaving assignments that are near deadline. You never know when the train will be too crowded to work. Staying flexible is key to maximizing transit time and to successful freelancing.
Lindsey D is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.