Monday, August 10, 2009

Productive Writing

Yesterday I learned an important lesson. Let me spell it out for you: P.R.O.D.U.C.T.I.V.I.T.Y.

Yes, I learned about the importance of productivity. Bear with me for a moment and I'll fill you in on what happened. My family and I were house-sitting for a relative recently, and were kind of on a mini-vacation. It was great - totally relaxing and just what we needed. But then we came home, and it all kind of hit me at once - all the writing projects that I left behind for the week, my husband's homework had piled up (he's currently in a Master's program), as well as laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc. Trying not to get overwhelmed, I created a To Do list, and then proceeded to tackle each item on the list in order of importance.

The good thing is that I did get a lot done. The not-so-good part about it is that I felt bad for not spending much quality time with my children. In fact, I confess to allowing too much TV time for my munchkins while I tapped away at the keyboard yesterday. Usually, I schedule my writing projects for the kids nap times or after they're tucked into bed at night. When the occasional crunch time arrives and I absolutely have to work when they're up, my hubby earns his Father-of-the-Year award by handling EVERYTHING, including cooking, cleaning, and playing with the kids...mind you, this is after he comes home from a long day's work.

Unfortunately, it was crunch time for me yesterday...but it was crunch time for hubby, too. He had two major assignments due by Monday morning. Long story short, we made it work by taking turns playing with the kids, and then getting Grandma to come babysit for a while.

So you're probably wondering what the point is of all this. Well, here it is: while I was furiously typing away on my keyboard, wishing that I was spending my Sunday afternoon laughing and playing with my son and daughter, it occurred to me that if I changed just a few things in my usual routine, I wouldn't have to be missing out on time with my kids. For example, spending just 10 minutes per day on Facebook takes up more than an hour of time every week. Knowing that I was going to be on a mini vacation and let my work build up, I could have planned ahead and cut out Facebook time during the previous week, which would have meant at least one hour less that I would have to spend working on my weekend.

This got me thinking, and I realized that latelyI have not been nearly as productive as I would like to be. So I came up with a few ways to help increase my productivity:

  • Only check Facebook once a day.
  • Only check email three times per day (morning, noon, and before I wrap things up in the evening.)
  • Set aside a specific amount of time for research, and stop when that time is up (this will prevent me from wasting time surfing the web when I already have the research I need to complete the article.)
  • Schedule "writing slots" in my day, and stick to them.
  • Start each writing slot by writing (not getting online, checking email, or researching.)
Today is my first day of implementing these productivity strategies, and so far it's working great. Do you have any tips for remaining as productive as possible in your work? I'd love to hear them!

By the way, check out this post over at The Renegade Writer Blog. It's all about the importance of productivity, and it lists some interesting productivity tricks that might work for you.

Well, my blogging time is up, so it's back to work for me now. :)

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