As writers, we are always looking for ways to improve our output. We resort to many ways to keep us motivated, writing and ensuring workflow.
There are many productivity hacks out there, and you’ve probably heard of all of them. It is likely you’ve put them in place to help with your writing.
I doubt therefore that my post will suddenly reveal some hidden productivity hacks plucked out of Mass that nobody has heard of before.
That said, it is always important to keep certain hacks in mind, because with everything happening around us, all at once, in some cases, we lose sight of what matters and spend so much time trying to get back on track.
Here are 45 Surprising simple steps that will make you more productive as a writer.
1. Wake up at a time that works for you. Some people say 4.30 or 5.30. I say, depending on your family and life commitments, wake up when it works for you.
2. Drink lots of tea. If you live in England you will understand that drinking tea is not to be scoffed at. Tea makes everything better. For example, when somebody dies, gets married, cries, boy meets girl, divorce, all you will hear is put the kettle on. Tea relaxes you, which in turn, makes your work easier.
Famous writers who drink tea include Charles Darwin. If coffee does it for you, good. A friend of mine says coffee makes him nervous and jittery. No surprise there. He drinks buckets of it. You can’t be productive in that state. I favour green tea.
3. Take long walks. Walks are relaxing and give you an opportunity to take in your environment for inspiration. It also makes thinking through projects easier. Famous writers who made long walks part of their writing routine include J.K. Rowling and William Wordsworth.
4. If walking doesn’t do it for you, take up another form of exercise, like swimming, yoga, or pumping weights- whatever rocks your boat.
5. Eat the right food. Eat energy giving foods like vegetables, Avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, oily fish and dark chocolates to support brain function. Don’t reach out for that packet of crisps or popcorn. They are full of empty calories, which can sap your energy. Keep snacks like nuts, apples, and blueberries within reach for when you are running out of steam. They will boost your energy.
6. Some writers swear by music when they are writing. They could never be productive without a certain kind of music playing in the background. Use whatever method that works for you to boost your productivity.
7. Stop overthinking your projects. Be courageous, write and hit publish.
8. Don’t succumb to urgent distractions. It plays havoc with your productivity and creativity. Granted, work needs to be attended to, but are they important? The unimportant tasks will compromise your productivity. The key to your success will depend on your ability to separate urgent and important tasks.
9. Celebrate small victories but don’t be too comfortable. Remain focused on the big projects. Don’t let the small victories stand in the way of the big ones.
10. Block out time wasters- at least people who don’t encourage you to achieve your goals. Leave the mindless chats for your rest times.
11. Guard your time, zealously. Don’t let anything you can avoid come between you and the time you have allocated for your work.
12. Not every work is productive. Get rid of them.
13. Schedule time to grow your presence on other social media platforms.
14. Tune your mind for tasks. What is your mindset for particular tasks? It is important to fine-tune your mind in order to tackle the task at hand.
15. Form habits to support that mindset. You will achieve more.
16. Get rid of clutter– both mental and physical. Make your bedroom, writing desk, office, kitchen clutter free. Your brain will get the message. Calm and tranquillity will prevail and creativity will become easier.
17. Forget multi-tasking– at least for your writing chores. It is a waste of energy which affects your concentration. Completing one task at a time is the key to productivity.
18. Concentrate on your most important tasks. Narrow them down to say 2 or 3. Then choose one task and give it your undivided attention. Before long, you will complete it.
19. Build momentum. Any progress, no matter how small, will spur you on to do more.
20. Don’t underestimate the time-consuming nature of research. Be specific about what is it you are researching and stick to it. Research has a way of taking us to places we didn’t intend to go. Be aware of that.
21. Form the habit of setting a word or page count goals. I usually tell myself to write 500 words or a page at a time. Sometimes, I exceed these goals, and on a bad day, I’m not even close.
22. Train your brain to focus on the task at hand. The human brain is always looking for new things to do, for example, picking up the phone when you don’t need to pick it up or surfing the internet. Resist the temptation. Be selective in what you want your brain to store.
23. Sleep is important. Lack of sleep equal reduced productivity, errors and poor judgment. Sufficient sleep will keep you calm, refreshed and free from distractions.
24. Get out there. Avoid sitting in from of your computer for long periods. Your brain also needs exercise. Activity stimulates the brain. I am big on hot yoga. When I am not practicing yoga, I take breaks walking or jumping on the old trampoline in my backyard. It is refreshing and I find that I laugh a lot when doing it. Call me silly, but I love that I can laugh out loud sometimes. It is exhilarating.
25. Switch off from social media when necessary. ‘’Sometimes, you just have to unplug from everything to find yourself.’’ So true, Robin Lee.
26. Show up and do the work. You will get nowhere if you don’t write. You will be stagnant as a writer.
27. Form habits instead of setting goals. Choose the good habits if you want to reach your goals.
28. If you must set goals, set realistic goals and track them. This will help you avoid panic, overwhelm and burnout.
29. Look after your health. If you become ill, you will hardly do anything, let alone be productive.
30. To be productive, you must prioritize.
31. Filter out tasks from your list that are not important or critical.
32. Meditate. It is calming.
33. Drink plenty of water. Most writers live on coffee. Remember to drink water too. It flushes out toxins and keeps you energized and healthy.
34. Take a notebook wherever you go. It is essential for capturing good ideas on the go. We can’t always trust our brains to do this for us.
35. Use productivity tools such as Evernote, Scrivener, Dropbox, and Noisli for relaxation, Hootsuite, Feedly, and LastPass if you want to keep track of all your passwords. It is time-consuming and frustrating to have to reset your passwords.
36. Don’t underestimate the power of breakfast. It sets you up to tackle your tasks in a productive manner.
37. You need your rest. Sundays are traditionally known as rest days. Use Sundays to regroup and connect with your inner self and your family. Relax and have fun.
38. Don’t get lost in the idea of perfectionism. It is okay to suck sometimes.
39. Don’t say yes to all the invites to eat out, parties or go to the movies. It is okay to be selfish sometimes and say no.
40. Don’t lose hours simply because you are commuting. I write when I commute, that is, when I find a seat in the crowded trains, otherwise I listen to podcasts. You can listen to podcasts too if you’re driving.
41. Be kind. Thrive to help others. It will make you happy. Happiness equals productivity.
42. Hold yourself accountable. Set deadlines to accomplish tasks.
43. Write from a different location. Write in the garden or park sometimes. Sunlight is good for you. It also promotes restful sleep, which in turn improves productivity.
44. Time management is key to productivity. Allocate your time effectively to your writing tasks.
45. Take stock at the end of each day. Tick off completed tasks and reposition yourself for tomorrow.
Bonus and take away
46. Take a break. Reward yourself. You deserve it. Turn on the TV, your phone, chat when with your friends, lose yourself on the internet if you must.
There are many productivity hacks which can boost productivity. The secret is to know which ones work for you
*This article was originally published in Medium.
The school break started today. I have been frantic, trying to ensure that I meet my writing schedules. If you are like me, with my children in the house for two weeks, there will definitely be a disruption with my writing.
I will try to remember some of these hacks to help me stay on track.
I hope you find them useful too.
Thanks for stopping by.
WordPress Prompt: Frantic