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6 Essential Strategies to Elevate Your Time Management and Productivity as a Writer

Time Management and Productivity

Time Management and Productivity

Time management and productivity is key if you wanna make it as a writer. Whether you’re a pro writer or just starting out, juggling creativity and life means we need to be smart about how we manage our writing time. In this article, we’ll dive into six effective methods that can boost your time management skills and productivity. Use these strategies to be the best writer you can be by setting clear goals and establishing a productive writing routine. Doing that will boost your creativity and improve the quality.

Contents

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Setting Clear Goals

Setting Clear GoalsSetting clear goals involves defining specific, measurable, and attainable objectives for your writing projects. This could mean deciding to write a certain number of words each day, completing a chapter by the end of the week, or finishing a draft within a few months.

Clear goals provide direction and motivation. By knowing exactly what you want to achieve, you can better focus your efforts and measure your progress. Research shows that goal setting can significantly enhance productivity and increase success rates in various settings, including writing .

It also shows that specific and challenging goals can enhance performance because they direct attention to the relevant activities, motivate effort, and promote persistence. Additionally, setting goals with clear deadlines has been shown to improve the effectiveness of goals significantly​ (PositivePsychology.com)​.

Starting with my book, Deadly Sins, I had a deadline for December 2022. I didn’t prepare or started writing until the middle of the year. I underestimated the type of content I wanted to produce and was disorganized. I had to push the deadline to December 2023 and organize better. However, January 2023 was the first year I became a resident manager for a condo. I needed to focus on that while juggling with scheduling to write my book.

It wasn’t until May or June I started organizing myself more to write. It was still a mess because of how unpredictable my job was as it demanded my presence for a certain amount of times. On top of that, I was diagnosed with ADHD around November, so I have to be more organized.

I set up each day to write a full draft of each sin story and then dedicate a week to edit the book. The goal was there as I setup a deadline to finish each story.

RELATED: Writing with ADHD

Recommended Book

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple by S.J. Scott: This book provides a comprehensive guide to setting goals using the S.M.A.R.T. method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). It’s particularly useful for anyone looking to refine their goal-setting practices to ensure they’re both realistic and challenging.

Establishing a Routine and Using Time Management Techniques

Establishing a Routine and Using Time Management TechniquesEstablishing a routine means setting aside specific times for writing, creating rituals that signal it’s time to write, and sticking to a consistent schedule.

A routine can help make writing a regular part of your life, reducing the mental energy required to get started. It also helps condition your mind to enter a creative state more readily, which can improve both the quality and quantity of your output .

Regular review and adjustment of goals are essential as productivity levels and circumstances can change. Tools and frameworks like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) can help in tracking progress and making necessary adjustments to stay on course​ (Fellow.app)​.

Time management techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, or the Eisenhower Matrix help structure your writing time effectively.

These techniques can help you prioritize tasks, work more efficiently, and keep track of where your time goes. They are especially helpful in maintaining focus and momentum during writing sessions .

Employing specific time management strategies like the SMART goal framework can help in making goals clear, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, which are essential for productivity​ (OAKFLOW)​.

To start off, I consider Monday – Saturday my working days.

I start around 10:30 AM to open up WordPress and check for emails or any updates. Around 12 PM, I begin writing a blog post whether it’s Tips for Writers, Genres, Literary Resources, or other blog related articles. This would take me about 6 hours of the day to do. Within those 6 hours, I am also working on graphic art on Canva for the blog and learning newer material that will benefit me for my blog.

I’ll take a break after by either going to the gym or walking my dogs so can prevent any burnout that might occur. Can’t stay in the same environment all the time.

Around 8 PM I dedicate writing or conceptualize 8-bit, my novel that is coming out on December 2024. Since this is a special and dedicated project outside of blogging, I am working extra hours to ensure I have both my blog updated and chapters completed.

After that, I am taking a break and winding down a bit before jumping into any sort of reading. This could be a new book or articles that is related to any kind of writing.

Having a schedule like this automatically becomes a routine once adjusted. As soon as I wake up, my mind automatically feels the need to get read for writing.

RELATED: Combat Burnout

Recommended Books

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey: In this book, Currey examines the daily routines of more than 150 of the greatest minds, from writers to musicians to philosophers. It offers insights into how routines contribute to creativity and productivity, providing inspiration for developing one’s own effective practices.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport: Newport’s book champions the benefits of deep work, offering actionable strategies for cultivating focus and minimizing distractions through rigorous time management techniques.

Measure What Matters: Online Tools for Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships by Katie Delahaye Paine: Though primarily focused on business and marketing metrics, Paine’s principles can be adapted to personal productivity, offering strategies for measuring progress and setting benchmarks in any project.

I also recommend getting the FREE eBook, Ultimate Wellness Toolkit. You can use it to manage your time and establish a routine, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. It’s printable too if you prefer to write out your plans by hand. You can use it to track your progress.

Tracking progress involves regularly reviewing what you’ve accomplished and adjusting your goals and plans as necessary. This helps maintain motivation and provides a sense of achievement. Seeing tangible progress can be a powerful motivator and help identify what strategies are working best for you.

Minimizing Distractions

Minimizing DistractionsMinimizing distractions involves creating a workspace that limits interruptions and distractions, such as noise, social media, and email notifications.

A distraction-free environment allows you to concentrate fully on your writing, leading to higher productivity and better quality work. Techniques like turning off notifications or using apps that block distracting websites can significantly increase focus .

Creating a distraction-free environment is crucial for maintaining focus and productivity. This might involve using technology to manage disruptions or designing physical spaces that help in concentrating on the task at hand​ (Infinity)​.

One of my biggest distractions, hands down, is social media. I feel my hand automatically reach for my phone when my mind drifts off from writing. Next thing you know, I’m scrolling and scrolling, killing lots of valuable writing time for small pleasures. It got to a point that I am not realizing how long I’m on my phone for. No matter how much headache I get, I have my eyes glues to my phone, which is horrible.

Now, whenever I am in writing mode, I put my phone away from me where my hand can’t reach, giving up on the idea of getting distracted and continue writing. However, outside noise also can be distracting and hard to minimize and control. I normally will change up my environment to somewhere more quiet if I feel I need it.

RELATED: Prevent Interruption

Recommended Book

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal: This book explores the underlying psychology of distraction and provides practical advice to help readers develop strategies to control their attention and stay focused in an increasingly distracting world.

Breaking Tasks into Manageable Steps

Breaking Tasks into Manageable StepsThis strategy involves dividing a large writing project into smaller, more manageable pieces, such as outlining, drafting, and revising sections of the work.

Breaking tasks down can help prevent feeling overwhelmed and make the writing process seem more approachable. It allows for clearer planning and easier adjustment of tasks to fit your schedule .

This strategy not only makes large projects more manageable but also provides motivation through the achievement of smaller milestones. This approach can significantly boost productivity by making tasks seem less overwhelming​ (Eller College of Management)​.

Writing my novel, 8-bit, will be considered as my biggest project. It will be around 60,000 to 80,000 words as a goal. However, this is a big number to dedicate time to finish in one sitting. Depending on how big the chapters are, I usually will break apart chapter by chapter throughout the month. If the chapters are going to be big according to my outline, then I will split it by word count around 1000 to 2000 words.

It is essential to break things up, as it will also motivate you to continue and complete your writing projects. This can go for short stories as well by breaking apart the word count. Just make sure you know the word count goal. Unless you plan on writing the short story in one sitting, that is up to you. However, I like breaking things to a more manageable workload as it is less intimidating.

Before wrapping up a writing session, I’ll take a few minutes to plan for the next one. Knowing what you’ll be working on in your next writing session sets the stage for a smooth and productive start. It also helps you maintain momentum and minimizes any potential writer’s block.

Jot down a brief outline of the scene or section you plan to write next, along with any specific ideas or points you want to cover. This way, you’ll have a clear roadmap when you sit down to write, and you can dive right into the creative process.

Planning ahead also helps you stay motivated and eager to get back to your writing, as you already have a clear sense of what you want to achieve during your next writing session.

RELATED: Solutions to Writer’s Block

Recommended Book

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan: Keller and Papasan focus on the importance of narrowing focus to one single task at a time, breaking down larger goals into actionable steps that lead to greater productivity and efficiency.

Prioritizing Self-Care

Prioritizing Self-CarePrioritizing self-care means ensuring you maintain a balance between work and rest, including taking breaks, ensuring adequate sleep, and engaging in non-writing activities that you enjoy.

Self-care is crucial for maintaining long-term productivity and creativity. Writers who neglect their well-being may face burnout, which can halt progress and affect health.

Maintaining a balance between work and rest is essential for long-term productivity. Studies suggest that self-care practices can prevent burnout and maintain high levels of creativity and energy​ (PositivePsychology.com)​.

No matter what, I must have time to go to the gym. Normally, I start going around 6 PM and on the weekend I go earlier, around 3 PM. I spend almost two hours there weightlifting and cardio. It is my break and time to wind down.

Sundays are my days off. However, I use that day to prepare my Pinterest posts using Tailwind. What I do is schedule posts for the week so I don’t have to worry about it later. I’ll check on my website as well, then enjoy the rest of the Sunday recharging.

Saturday is considered a workday for me, but it’s an easier day for me. I basically scroll through articles I have written and check for minor issues or if I should add or take away things. I’ll even make some extra graphics if I need to. The day ends a little early for me so I can work on my novel since I usually go out to see some friends.

These practices have helped me maintain a good standard with my mental health.

RELATED: Building Resilience

Recommended Book

The Healthy Writer: Reduce Your Pain, Improve Your Health, and Build a Writing Career for the Long Term by Joanna Penn and Dr. Euan Lawson: This book provides practical health advice tailored for writers, covering topics from reducing pain and improving posture to mental health tips, all aimed at sustaining a long and healthy writing career.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility and AdaptabilityBeing flexible and adaptable means being willing to adjust your writing habits and strategies as needed based on what is working or not.

Flexibility allows you to respond to changes in your schedule, creative energy, and life circumstances without derailing your writing goals. It helps sustain productivity under varying conditions.

It’s important to be adaptable in your approach to time management. What works well one week may not be effective the next. Adapting strategies based on ongoing results and personal energy levels can lead to better productivity outcomes​ (Infinity)​.

Normally, when I have doctor appointments or meetings, my writing is scheduled accordingly. There was a time when I was working as a resident manager, I got called in for an emergency. It needed hours of my time, so I had to put my writing to the side and handle what needed to be done. What I was saying to myself was I’ll add the lost time to the next day to make up for it. However, I realized that is very wrong to do otherwise I will overwork myself. I considered certain deadlines to see if it’s possible at first.

Then I realized on my way to the building, I would take whatever reading I needed to do on that day and use it while on the train ride. That way, I’ll save the time slot that was dedicated to reading for the lost writing time.

RELATED: Mindfulness and Writing

Recommended Book

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein: Epstein discusses the advantages of a broad skill set and adaptive thinking in today’s fast-changing world. This book is particularly relevant for those looking to remain flexible and adaptable in their careers and personal projects.

Final Thoughts

It’s a never-ending journey to be efficient with time and be productive. You have to plan, reflect, and adapt. As writers, we need to set clear goals, find routines that allow us to be creative, and figure out how to stay focused in a world full of distractions. These practices, even though they’re simple, can totally change your writing life. They make finishing a writing project not just doable, but actually enjoyable. Every writer has their own way, so it’s important to customize these strategies to fit your own schedule and life. These elements are backed by research and real-world applications, making them effective for writers to manage time and boost productivity.

Self-care and flexibility are crucial. Writers must prioritize their physical and mental health for sustained productivity. Being flexible and figuring out what works and what doesn’t are also important for success in writing. Writers who implement these strategies can build a solid foundation for creativity and productivity, making it easier to achieve their goals with less stress and more satisfaction. In the end, it’s about enjoying the process and getting better over time.