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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 November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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