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7 Strategies To Help Boost Productivity As a Writer

7 Strategies To Help Boost Productivity As a Writer

Productivity is a major issue in any workplace. This is especially true for writers. For a lot of writers that get paid per output, improving their productivity means getting a bigger paycheck. The problem with writing is that working hard doesn’t always mean that you are making the most of your time at work.

The reality is that a lot of writers find it difficult to maximize their productivity because of so many factors. From writer’s block to distractions, these are things that could hinder a writer from maximizing their performance during working hours.

So how exactly do you boost productivity as a writer? Here are seven effective strategies that you can apply to your writing process.

1. Make a list of things you need to do

Ever wondered how the simplest pen and paper activity of listing your activities can help boost productivity in the workplace?

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It is a common problem for writers to forget and miss out on things that they need to finish. By simply making a list of things you need to accomplish, you can eliminate this problem. You can cross each task off as you complete it.

2. Have a schedule for the entire day/week

Next thing that you need to remember is that it is important to plan things ahead. For writers that have the luxury of working any given time of the day, it is a common scenario to forget about the time.

It is important to schedule your entire day/week to prioritize tasks that need to be accomplished. This is especially useful when you deal with deadlines. Approaching the workday or workweek in an organized manner will help prevent moments of panic wherein you compromise the quality of work just to meet the deadline.

3. Wake up early and end at a specific time

Aristotle and Benjamin Franklin are proponents of starting your day early. Unfortunately, a lot of writers stay up late just to finish tasks that they should’ve done in the morning. According to experts, you accomplish more when you work in the morning than at night. And it can be explained by the body’s programming to want to sleep at night.

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If you are not a morning person, there are morning routines that you can do in order to energize the body. This way, you get to feel ready for work even without caffeine. Tony Robbins is a proponent of doing a morning routine that can help the body to perform for the entire day. Exercise, breathing habits and meditation are just some of the things that you can do to feel energized in the morning.

And of course, it is also important to set a specific time for when to stop working. There’s a reason why workplaces only implement an eight hour workday. Setting the time when to finish, not only prevents burnout but also creates a habit.

4. Have a schedule for when to check emails

Now that you can receive emails and private messages not only on your computer but also on your phone, it is important to have the discipline to minimize distractions. In order to boost productivity, it is important to have a schedule for when to check and reply to emails and private messages. This is a great way to minimize disruptions when you are writing. Limit checking your emails and private messages to two times per day.

5. Close unnecessary windows on your computer

Multi-tasking is common in today’s society. But before you open multiple windows and decide to work on different tasks at once, keep in mind that there’s a reason why it is considered dangerous to text and drive. This is because of our inability to focus on multiple tasks at once.

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In fact, people who multitask think that they are actually saving time. Instead, it is the complete opposite. Make it a habit to commit to finishing one task at a time. As rule of thumb, close all unnecessary windows. This helps eliminate distractions and helps you focus on the task at hand.

6. Read all you need to know first

It is a reality that for a writer to write effectively, he or she needs to do some research. One problem that writers have is switching back and forth between writing and doing research. This can be a problem, especially when you want to get the most work done.

It is highly suggested for writers to read all the information first before proceeding to write. How does it help? It gives the writer a clear picture of what the topic is all about. And once he or she has a complete understanding of the topic, writing will be the easy part of the job.

7. Break down broad ideas first

A common problem that takes up a lot of time in the writing process is considering how to discuss ideas. There are some topics that are just too hard to write down on paper. Though you fully understand the discussion, making a well written finished product may seem difficult because of the details and intricacies that you know you shouldn’t miss.

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A solution to this type of problem is to start with general topics before getting into the details. This helps the brain to have an idea of where to start from and go afterwards. To organize your thoughts, you can start making a mind map of ideas. From this diagram, you can then proceed to writing.

Conclusion

Writers all over the world face productivity challenges. In the age of highly advanced technology, writers have to deal with so many distractions to get to the final output. With these tips, writers can potentially boost productivity and also improve on the quality of work they deliver to their clients.

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Published on September 25, 2018

The Careful Art of Delegation

The Careful Art of Delegation

Do you find yourself constantly feeling busy? Or, maybe you feel like you have too much on your plate? Perhaps you have a to-do list with no end in sight, or many responsibilities to juggle on a daily basis at work. When you get home, you have household responsibilities to take care of, too, and it just seems like you never have much time for a breather.

Being busy is good, it’s better than not having anything to do and letting time slip away. But, what many people don’t realize is, being busy doesn’t always mean you’re being productive. The more time you take to complete something does not equal to more success. Many people end up falling into this trap as they pack their day with tasks and errands that may sometimes produce little outcome or output for the effort that they’ve put in.

For example, let’s say that your washing machine at home broke down and you need to fix it. Instead of calling the handyman to come, your husband decides he’s going to fix the machine. He ends up spending half a day figuring out the machine, and does eventually fix it. He did however have to make a trip to the tool shop to buy some extra tools and parts for the machine. Now, if you had called the handy man, it would probably have taken the handyman much less time, and he would have all the necessary tools and parts already, because that is his job. So in this instance, was your husband’s time and effort worth it? Oh, and because he took half the day fixing the machine, you now had to take over his duties of dropping the kids off at soccer and swim practice.

We Need Not Be That Busy

I hope you would agree, that it would have been ideal to delegate this task to the handyman. That would have saved you time and effort, so that you and your husband could focus on doing other things that were more important to you, like being there for your kids or spending time with each other. This is just one example of how we often impose busyness on ourselves without us even realizing it.

But, I’m going to show you just how you can gain quality time from external sources. Whatever big goals or ambitions that you may have, it’s normal for them to involve a lot more of your time than you first expect. I’m talking about things like starting a new business, changing careers, perhaps even moving to a new city. New challenges often involve things that are outside of our experience and expertise, so covering all the bases ourselves is sometimes not feasible as it takes too much time to learn and do everything.

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You Are Just One Person

At the end of the day, you are just one person, and you have a limited amount of time. So, you have to do things that are meaningful to you. While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones needed to get there may be meaningful. Because we all have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, not every task will be enjoyable or all fun & games. Some simply require pure willpower and discipline to grind through. And that is where delegation comes in.

What is Delegation?

You may hear this term a lot in the business or corporate world; it’s an effective way for managers to distribute (or sometimes avoid!) work. But, that’s not what I’m referring to. Instead, delegation means leveraging time from an outside source to give you opportunities to increase your quality time. By outside source, we simply mean that it’s not your own time that you’re spending.

What Should You Delegate?

To delegate effectively, it has to be done with deliberate intention. So the aim of delegation is to create more quality time for yourself. There are 3 types of tasks that you should generally delegate, called the Delegation Triangle.

The first are tasks you don’t enjoy doing. These are things that you know how to do, but don’t enjoy. Second, are tasks you shouldn’t do. These are things you know how to do and may even enjoy, but may not be the best use of your time. Third, are tasks you can’t do. These are things that need doing, but you don’t have the skills or expertise to follow through with them at this moment.

Have a look through your daily tasks and responsibilities, and see if you can fit them under these 3 categories.

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Pitfalls of Delegation

Using the Delegation Triangle, you can decide which tasks are worth delegating. In theory, it might look easy to sort actions at first glance; but often, it’s actually harder than you think! 

One such example, is diverting time on tasks you shouldn’t do. Let’s go back to the washing machine example. Your husband decides to fix it on his own instead of simply getting an expert to fix it. Why? Because it’s probably a challenge he enjoys, and it’s an accomplishment that would bring him satisfaction. However, if the value of the task is too low, you really ought to delegate it to others.

Sometimes, when you have a larger goal in mind, you might have to sacrifice some actions in return for making progress. Always think about the bigger picture! One thing that can help you avoid this pitfall is to keep your deadlines in mind whenever you set milestones for a project or task.

Deadlines are a commitment to yourself, and every bit of time is precious. So if an activity you’re focusing on is taking time away from progress towards your goal, it may be time to let go of it for now. You can always decide to pick it up again later.

Then there’s the other extreme of delegation. And that’s when you start delegating everything you dislike doing to external sources.Sometimes it’s tempting to abuse delegation and get carried away outsourcing everything on your “don’t like doing” list.

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Some people are too picky on what they’re going to do. But sometimes, if you don’t like doing so but you’re the only one who can do it, you still need to finish the job. At the end of the day, it does take your own hard work and effort to achieve the success you want.

So if you find that you’re constantly running into this problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation, or reason for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

Ask yourself, “Is this task contributing towards a meaningful objective that I want to achieve?” and “what kind of progress do I make each time I carry out the task myself?” If the task is both meaningful and creates progress, then the next step is to ask yourself questions that can help you create actions.

What obstacles are causing you to avoid this task? Is it because of low confidence in your ability? Do you think someone else can do a better job? Is it your level of focus? Or is there an alternative action you can take that can produce the same results?

Take Action Now

Take a look at your current tasks or to-do’s that you have planned this week. Which tasks are possible candidates that fall under the Delegation Triangle? Are there any that fall under the pitfalls mentioned above? Which tasks can you immediately identify that should be delegated out right now?

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I hope this exercise helps declutter your tasks and responsibilities a little and allows you to see how much more time you can be saving for more important things. But, this is not the end of delegation. After you’ve sorted out the tasks that can be delegated, the next step is to determine who it should be delegated to. Besides people like your co workers, or spouse/family members, did you know that there is a whole delegating industry out there?

If you’re keen to learn more about this delegating industry, and find out how you can decide who’s the best fit to do your delegated tasks, subscribe to our newsletter today. We will help you discover many more skills that will boost your productivity by leaps and bounds!

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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