Last week we discussed increasing creativity – perhaps even more important is productivity. You can have all the creativity in the world, but if you don’t know how to be productive, well… It probably isn’t likely you’ll put much on paper.
1. Set a Timer
This one you’ve probably heard before, but it works. Set your kitchen timer, or use the online stopwatch, put in the amount of time you want to work on your writing or task at hand (45 minutes work focused work is usually best to preserve your creativity), and GO MAKE! Don’t let yourself be distracted by anything around you!
If you really have a problem beating procrastination and have a tough time tuning out the distractions, start with a short burst of focused energy, a “dash“. Set your timer for 8 minutes, and start doing what you’ve avoided (this can be applied to writing to be sure, but also all sorts of other tasks you’ve put off). You’ll feel relieved and more motivated if you’ve made at least a little progress on your task!
2. Turn off the Internet
Man, the internet can be a pain for those easily distracted (like me). Turn off your internet connection for the time you want to work (same time as you set on the timer, if you want). Unplug your router, if you need to.
3. Keyboard Shortcuts
Not loving the RSI? Perhaps you’re using your mouse too much. If you move your hands out of their relaxed position on the keyboard a lot, you strain your wrists, hands and arms more than necessary. Learning the shortcuts of your computer will help to decrease the strain – and we writers do have to save our work often, right?
My favorites for Windows 7 are CTRL+s (save), ALT+Tab (swapping between programs) and my favorites in Google Chrome are CTRL+T (new browser tab) and SHIFT+CTRL+T (opening the most recently closed tab).
You’d do well to look up the shortcuts of your browser (for your operating system) too! It really does increase productivity, because you’ll become a super fast computer-user!
4. Solar Flaring
Named for the astronomical phenomenon – you start small, but turn into a massive explosion of productivity! This productivity technique can be used for all sorts of tasks, but also for writing.
The trick is to use the word “just”. You’ll “just” write or you’ll “just” do some research. You’ll “just” do the dishes. You’ll “just” clean your inbox. This will help you get started. This way you trick yourself into work mode. Be careful though, because this trick can easily be used to waste time. Don’t “just” play a game, or don’t “just” browse Pinterest, or don’t “just” vacuüm, while you should be doing something else, because you could easily “just” be doing those things for hours.
5. Make a “Don’t Do”- list
My list would look something like this:
- Don’t browse 9GAG
- Don’t shop online for books
- Don’t turn on the TV
- Don’t start packing (our move is getting close now!)
- Don’t paint your nails
- Don’t go see whether the mail has arrived yet (I do this all the time when I’m expecting books!)
Extra: Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret
Jerry Seinfeld has shared with the world his productivity secret: he puts a big one-year calendar on his wall, gets a red marker and puts a huge red cross through each day that he wrote – and after a few days you’ll have a chain and you’ll want anything but break that chain. This trick can be used for more than writing – for instance, exercising, eating healthy, studying… You name it.
Well, that should get you started and productive! Good luck writing and doing your tasks everyone!
If you have any other tips and tricks, please share them in the comments section!