Today marks the start of our new Freelance Fitness series here on All Freelance Writing. This is where I'll be sharing some of my own workout-related updates to show you that you're not alone in trying to beat the bad health habits freelancing can sometimes lead to. Once per month we'll talk about workouts tailored to freelance writers, and once per month we'll share recipes for things like healthy snacks you can keep around your desk all day.
Multi-tasking can be a dirty word. Trying to do too much can definitely be bad for you. It's a surefire way to eventually burn out. But sometimes multi-tasking can be really useful and actually result in your having more time to kick back and relax later. Combining a fitness routine with your freelance writing work might just be an example of that. I plan to find out this month.
Tools of the Trade
I've been looking at digital voice recorders for months. I just found one at Target the other day with a deal I couldn't pass up. It's a 1 GB Sony digital voice recorder with a USB connection so I can easily transfer things to my laptop for editing.
I wanted the recorder originally so that I could take notes in my car. I always seem to come up with ideas when I'm on the road, but I forget them later. Having a recorder next to me that I can quickly switch on before I start babbling to myself seemed like a natural fit.
Now I think it might be a better "fit" than that even!
Working on the Road
Now I can work "on the road" in more ways than one. Not only will I always be able to capture my drive-inspired ideas, but I can take this with me on workouts. I try to get up early enough to squeeze in time on the exercise bike before work each morning. I skip it far more than I should these days. When I do get on it though, I use that time to listen to NPR, so I can get a dose of morning news in me (not as important as a dose of coffee, but definitely worth it). When I can't work out in the morning (meaning I stayed up late and therefore slept in a little late), I try to get on the bike later in the evening. Then I also multi-task -- I workout while I'm watching a movie or something.
One of the reasons I don't workout as religiously as I used to (used to walk, jog, or hike 4-8 miles nearly every day just about two years ago) is that I feel like it's cutting into what should be my "free time" to enjoy myself a bit. I have so many other commitments that sometimes I feel like there's nothing left for me. Yes, I know workouts technically qualify as being "for me," but you know that's not what I mean.
Here's what I'm thinking though: why not take the recorder with me on "working walks" in the early or mid-mornings? I can squeeze in the workouts during my work day and still be as productive as ever. For example, that might be a part of the time I allot to working on my book each day. Or I might use it when working on Freelance Theater shows when I need to brainstorm dialog. You could use one when working on client projects too -- especially if you use something like Dragon Naturally Speaking so you don't have to manually transcribe your "writing" from scratch.
I don't expect to do this every day (I'll still do my bike workouts when I can). But when it's a nice day and I want to go out but feel like I can't because of work, well, now I have less of an excuse. Work can come with me! As I mentioned in the series' opening post, I'm aiming to lose a whopping 50 lbs before the end of 2010. When it's time for next month's check-in, I'll let you know how much this little potential productivity booster helped in getting me there.
Do you use a voice recorder or similar tools to let you workout while working? If so, tell us how they've worked for you in the comments!
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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