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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 6, 2020

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Let me guess.

You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

2. Use Red and Blue More Often

Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

3. Create a Break Agenda

List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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5. Take It Outside!

Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

6. Become Productively Lazy

Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

9. Prepping the Night

Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

11. Set-up Mini Tasks

If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

13. Redecorate Your Room

Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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14. Ready Your Nibbles

You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

15. Schedule Your Chores

Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

Reference

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