Saturday, July 25, 2015

5 Mind Tricks Writers Can Use to Increase Their Productivity

When you spend day after day living inside your head, you begin to create ways to trick your brain into being more productive. Here are 5 tricks all writers can use to increase their daily productivity levels.

1. Put No More Than 10 Items on Your Daily To-do List

Don’t fill your daily to-do list with a week’s worth of work. Instead, choose up to ten things that must be done the next day and write them on your daily to-do list. Keep a separate list of things you would like to get done and only work on these items after you have completed your daily must-do list.

For each item on your daily to-do list, give yourself a realistic time limit. For example, on my to-do list right now, I have “blog post - 1 hour”. I know I can write a blog post in well under 1 hour, but I have a 2-year-old to care for so I plan on there being at least one potty break for her, getting her snacks, and other interruptions. If I still manage to get the blog post done in under an hour, fantastic! I can move on to the next task on my list and, at the end of the day, maybe there will be time to do an item or two on my would-like-to-do list.

2. Keep Daily Tasks Simple

Simplify your daily tasks as much as possible. By doing this, the tasks become easier to finish. Example: For today I plan on writing 3 blog posts, doing 1 rewrite, and work 2 hours finishing up my book. On my to-do list, this is written as:

  • 1 hr. blog post
  • 1 hr. blog post
  • 1 hr. blog post
  • 1 hr. rewrite
  • 2 hr. book

I singled out each blog post so that, instead of having to tackle 3 blog posts, I am only tackling one blog post at a time. It is easier for my brain to handle one simple task than to try and tackle three tasks at once.

3. Do What Must Be Done Right Away

Keep your to-do list by your bed and read through it first thing in the morning. The first few items on the list should be the most important things to get done that day. Begin your day by tackling what must be done first. If you dread the task, don’t spend the rest of the day dragging your feet in despair. Instead, do it immediately and get it out of the way.

4. Most Tasks are Time Wasters

One of the biggest complaints writers have is that there isn’t enough time to write. Fact is, most of what we do each day wastes our time.

Do the coupons really need to be organized? Is Facebook and Twitter time that essential to your success? How about all that time you spend worrying or having negative thoughts about yourself or others? All of these things are time wasters.

Reevaluate how you spend your time. Make a checklist of things you need to do each day and give yourself a time limit to do them. Download a free timer. For my Mac, I use Apimac Timer and I track my working time.

5. System of Rewards

Set up a system of rewards for yourself. For example, I do not watch any television during the day, but if I finish all the items on my to-do list, namely my writing work load, I allow myself to settle down at night and watch an episode of one of my favorite shows before going to bed. It is something I look forward to and I will force myself to get the day’s work done just for those 50 minutes of relaxation and enjoyment.

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