I woke up at 4am x 5 days this week to build momentum (Freelance Writing)


Momentum — strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.

You guys, I’m so fascinated by momentum.

Fascinated by its incredible compound effect, how to start it, and why it frequently grinds to a halt.

I have struggled hard the past few months to find momentum in my freelance writing business.

I’ve struggled with mindset. I’ve struggled with finding clients. I’ve struggled with getting the client work I DO have to do, DONE.

I was actually pretty sick in July which had a big impact on my mental and physical health.

Taking any action I needed to progress my business and income goals felt like wading through mud.

Like, really sticky, sucky mud. The kind that slurps your foot in and before you realise, it’s up to your knees.

Momentum had left the building.

Mud had moved in.

I wanted a fresh start for August. I wanted my success buddy, momentum, back.

When I’ve lost momentum, I do one of two things to get it back.

Action stack small wins

For example, if my momentum for healthy eating has begun to slide, I might start with a small change — like making eating a healthy salad mandatory with every meal.

I wouldn’t necessarily change anything else about the meal, it could be a burger and chips, but I have to have a salad. Then, I’d make another small, healthy tweak and so on.

Go big with change

Trying to implement too many positive changes or new habits at once leads to overwhelm. So, the action stacking small wins can be a better approach.

BUT….I do love to go big when things really need a shake-up.

I decided to GO BIG and really change up my daily / weekly schedule and commit to sticking to those changes for the 31 days on August.

Changes I made this week from Monday 1 August 2022

Waking at 4am and sitting at my keyboard starting work at 5am

Usually, I’m up 7.30ish / 8.00ish and start work at 10.30ish.

I was inspired by the YouTube video I tried Haruki Murakamis’s 4am writing routine to begin writing far earlier in the day than usual.

Another change I made here this week was not doing any low productivity actions (housework, showering, etc) before 7.30am.

That gave me from 5.00am — 7.30am to focus completely on client writing working with the Pomodoro technique in 45min blocks. I’d take a quick break at 45 mins to do some banded stretches and then get back to it.

At 7.30, I’d take a 1 hour break to shower, tidy up, and do a 10 minute Pilates workout. Knowing that I already had achieved a nice chunk of work helped me feel momentum for my next block of client work time.

Writing (client work) for a minimum of 4 hours per day

July had been around 1.5–2 hours per day on the days I was actually working.

I was sick / fatigued for a lot of July which resulted in low output so I’m not beating myself up about that. However, the end result — regardless of the reason — was a loss of momentum.

Sending 5 cold email pitches per day

My total pitch count for July was 9.

Go gluten-free

I’ve had so many persistent redness and discomfort issues with my skin (I have mild rosacea) and have been incredibly sluggish (also due to sickness) with brain fog. Not a great combo for summoning creativity which, like momentum, had also exited the building.

I’m trialling GF for August to see if I get a boost in energy levels and reduction in skin issues.

Get back to CrossFit 5 times per week

I’m usually super consistent with fitness but things had slid in July as I was, wisely, prioritising my recovery.

Cut unnecessary trips to the shops or going out and about for ‘stuff’

Running errands randomly is such a productivity killer. In August, my plan is to schedule our grocery shop for Sunday with a “top up” shop on Thursday.

Result of the first week with my fired-up schedule

I’m SO happy to report that I pretty much stuck to all the key schedule changes Mon — Fri! Hooray!

The area I slid a little was pitching, I didn’t pitch on Tuesday or Thursday at all. A client project and a personal project ate into the time I had allowed for pitching. I was still working on high-priority tasks though, I didn’t blow off pitching to scroll Insta, so I’m fine with that outcome.

I shook up my schedule and my momentum is BACK!

It feels awesome.

I produced a bunch of client work this week which nixed the guilt about procrastination I’d been feeling.

My body feels better after reigniting my regular workout routine.

My “I CAN do this” mindset about building my business is back. I had been feeling so overwhelmed and down about my progress.

It’s pretty incredible what just a single week of sticking to positive, productivity-focused changes can do.

I’ve committed myself to this schedule for August, so let’s see how things go in the coming weeks.

How do you pull yourself out of a rut and get momentum back on track?