Unique Hacks For Writing Productively
'Productivity' is an overused and misunderstood term and yet thrown by everybody. It has become like religion, where everyone has their say on it. While it is one of the major source of imbibing discipline, there is a biggest misconception, which destroys its essence, i.e. Being Busy is Being Productive. The real meaning of productivity is very simple and minimalistic- creating/doing something in minimal time possible. It is not doing a lot of things and ending up being burnt out, but it is about doing few things in minimum possible time without distraction.
There are various personal traits one needs to possess to write successfully. Talent, creativity, commitment and patience are top on the list. While these attributes are important and play a significant role in your writing journey, there is one essential thing that every writer needs; an organized and writing routine.
The most effective way to become a productive writer is to keep writing. Yet ironically many of us spend a disproportionate amount of time generating ideas or plotting out stories rather than getting down to the real work of writing. While ideating and mentally working on a plot is important, writing them down, however haphazardly or in a raw form is as crucial.
Before we dive deep into the productivity steps, I am dividing it in a 3-step process:
1. Mindset Shift- Journaling & Self-talk
2. Planning & Action- Working on monthly weekly and daily goals by breaking them down and taking actions.
3. Tracking- through time blocking and time spent
Listed below are fewnever-heard-before steps you can take to create a highly effective writing routine that will help increase your productivity:
Journal to know the depth of why you are not productive. While the common meaning of journaling means recording everything, we as writers can use it as the strongest tool to polish our writing skills and to get out more on paper everyday.
If you feel unproductive, messy or distracted then sit down and journal and ask specific questions like- what is it which I want to accomplish? What is stopping me? Why I am unable to do it? Can I solve this problem? If yes then how?
By answering these questions honestly, not only you will understand the thinking pattern of your mind, but also you will remain conscious for the next time.
After listing down all the reasons, it is time to plan out the solutions.
2. Mindful Self Talk- Ever thought what is the biggest problem of this technology driven era?
We are connected to the whole world except ourselves. That's where we need to rethink and introspect. The kind of self talk we all do, is mostly derogatory & sabotaging.
Talking with oneself consciously and choosing the right kind of words can impact our mindset a lot.
So instead of saying- I am never able to complete my tasks. Keep repeating, I am able to finish tasks in my best of the capacities and see the magic.
Stop saying, 'I don't have time'. Because we all have time, but instead of managing time, we forget to manage our focus and prioritise.
So list down your distractions- social media, TV, Netflix and cut them down and churn out time for your priorities. Always remember- If you are not going to take writing seriously as your profession, it won't give you similar returns.
3. Make monthly, weekly and daily goals- Write monthly goals on a big sheet to glue on wall, so it is never out of sight and out of mind.
Write your monthly writing goals- eg: 40-50 k words/month
Break them down in weekly goals- eg:12 k words/week
Further break it down to daily goals- 1500-2,000 words/day
Don't add too many goals. It will save you from being the victim of productivity guilt.
4. Take Action- Stick to your goals. How?
Tick mark them daily to boost will power.
Don't miss them for more than a day consecutively (except severe emergencies).
Keep an accountability writer friend to keep a check on you.
Share your small wins and reward yourself weekly with something
Journal about your daily achievements and remember that finishing off all the tasks of a particular day is also a win. Big or small, should not matter, because small becomes big with consistency.
5. Time Block- When you plan, decide a time limit.
Eg: I will finish 1500 words everyday in 1 hour.
Use toggle in laptop to track how much time you took, so if at all you get distracted and switch to other window, your total time will be recorded.
Tick off the timer only once you are done and check the total time spent.
Write down how you could have done it in lesser time.
Don't multi-task. It reduces focus and creativity.
6. Track Progress- Since you are keeping a record of what all is on the cards, tracking the time and blocking the time, it will be much easier for you to track your monthly and weekly progress and celebrate it.