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7 Writing Tools to Make a Writer’s Life Easier

7 Writing Tools to Make a Writer’s Life Easier

Writing isn’t easy.

Especially getting things done. Not only does a writer need discipline and skill, he or she also needs tools to help him hone his craft and to make his life easier.

Times have changed.

Modern writers don’t work with just pens and notepads anymore. We need tools to keep up with the times and readers. That’s why we need tools to help us write AND get in front of readers.

Here are some tools that can help make your life as a writer easier.

1. Your Own Website

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WordPress

    Your website will help you establish your online presence. Use an email catcher to help you connect with your audience.

    There are a lot of email marketing tools that you can use. Aweber, Mailchimp and GetResponse to name a few.

    Most successful authors have a huge email list of subscribers that are waiting for their book. But you don’t have to fret yourself if you have only 12 subscribers at the moment. Act and write like a pro and treat your subscribers with respect. With proper marketing, your email list will eventually grow.

    If you don’t want to spend money on having your own domain and hosting, you can use WordPress.com or IMCreator to start with.

    2. Scrivener

    scrivener2

      Scrivener is a writer’s best friend. There is a learning curve in using Scrivener, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back to Word again.

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      The ability to convert your file in one click into .mobi, .pdf, or .epub to name a few, is one of the best features of Scrivener that makes it worth it.

      You can also set your word count goal and keep track of your progress.

      The ability to edit and insert scenes, chapters and character names with ease is also worth noting.

      3. A Private Blog

      750 words

        Aside from your official website or blog, have something where you can free-write. You can vent out your emotions or thoughts here that you don’t want to publish. How could a private blog make your life easier you ask?

        It will provide writing-practice and stress relief so that you’ll have more confidence in growing your audience. A private blog lets you exercise your writing muscles.  750words.com and Penzu are worth checking out.

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         4. Pomodoro App

        Tomato Timer

          You can time yourself and set a goal for a word count that you need accomplished for a certain period of time. There are a lot of free pomodoro apps out there. For starters, try using Focus Booster or Tomato Timer, also free.

          5. Write or Die

          writeordie

            Write or Die is a cool website where you can kill writer’s block, literally! Or else you die. Ha! Just kidding. It will blast off an annoying sound if you stop writing. You can set your “grace period” or choose the sound that it will play if you’re successful in your target word count. You can also choose which annoying sound will blast off your ears if you don’t reach that goal.

            6. Pen and Notepad or Journal

            Yes, the old fashioned pen and paper is a must. You’re a writer after all. Writing by hand promotes creativity. Just because we’re modern writers doesn’t mean we should forget our good ol’ pen and paper.

            7. Evernote

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            evernote

              If you want convenience and, you can use Evernote to write down your story ideas. The Evernote app automatically syncs to your Evernote.com account so you don’t have to worry about losing files. You can also use Evernote and Scrivener for your writing projects.

              So there you have it: six tools that will make the life of a modern writer easier.

              As writers, we’re no longer expected to just write every day. We need to find our readers, too. So go now, write and start sharing your stories to friends!

              Featured photo credit: jamelah e. via flickr.com

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              Last Updated on January 21, 2020

              How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

              How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

              We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

              So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

              While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

              Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

              What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

              How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

              But what does being productive actually entail?

              Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

              Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

              It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

              Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

              9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

              1. Avoid Multitasking

              Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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              Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

              If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

              2. Turn off Notifications

              According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

              Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

              The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

              Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

              3. Manage Interruptions

              There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

              Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

              If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

              By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

              4. Eat the Frog

              Mark Twain once famously said that:

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              “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

              What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

              We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

              Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

              5. Cut Down on Meetings

              Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

              You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

              The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

              But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

              If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

              6. Utilize Tools

              Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

              If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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              And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

              Some examples of tools that could be used:

              Communication
              • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
              • Samepage for video conference software.
              • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
              Task Management
              • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
              • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
              • Wekan for an open source option.
              Database Management
              Time Tracking
              • Clockify for a free tracker.
              • TMetric for workspace integrations.
              • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

              You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

              7. Declutter and Organize

              Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

              Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

              Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

              Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

              8. Take Breaks

              Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

              As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

              Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

              Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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              9. Drink Water

              Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

              Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

              Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

              A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

              If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

              You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

              The Bottom Line

              The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

              After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

              In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

              A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

              Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

              More About Boosting Productivity

              Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

              Reference

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