Ever notice how we tend to start dieting on Mondays?
When we want to form a new habit, we try to give ourselves a boost by starting afresh.
The same thing goes for your writing; if you want to increase your productivity, you can give yourself a jump-start by following these three easy steps:
1. Clear the clutter
Before you can hope to get a lot of writing done, you need to clear the physical and mental clutter that’s hindering you. This might include the dirty dishes in the sink, the pile of laundry on your bedroom floor, the paperwork you need to file, or even the argument you had with your partner over dirty dishes or laundry or paperwork.
Whenever possible, try to take care of non-writing-related tasks the night before you intend to give yourself a jump-start. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have less to worry about and you can set your mind to the most important task of all: writing.
2. Get into focus
At night, before you go to bed, decide what your writing focus will be for the next day. Limit your focus to no more than three items, otherwise you’ll become overwhelmed at how much you want to accomplish. Doing this at night ensures you know what’s on the agenda from the moment you wake up.
You might only have one writing focus for each day, but whatever you choose, make sure it takes precedence over all other matters. That includes answering email, tweeting, or other time-suckers that won’t help you accomplish your writing goals for the day.
3. Set a time limit
It’s easy to say, “I’ll work on my novel all day long tomorrow.” Will that really happen? What exactly does all day long mean?
Instead of setting yourself up for failure by expecting too much or too little, decide on a reasonable time limit for the writing you want to achieve each day. For example, you might say, “I’ll work on my novel from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and then again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.”
Schedule some breaks throughout the day and be realistic about how much you can achieve.
Ready, Set, Go
Sometimes all you need to boost your writing productivity is a fresh start. You don’t need to wait for Monday; you can begin tomorrow.
Use today to plan ahead, and tomorrow may be the start of a beautiful new habit.
No dieting necessary.
How do you gear up to increase your productivity? What are your best tips for maintaining focus?
Today’s Challenge: Before you go to bed tonight, list one to three things you will focus on during your next writing session. Tomorrow, do nothing else until you have accomplished the items on your list.
About the Author: Suzannah Windsor Freeman is the founder of Write It Sideways, a blog where writers learn new skills, define their goals, and increase their productivity. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits challenge.