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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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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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