Productivity Tips for Writers

With summer over, I can no longer claim that my life is just ‘too busy’ to write. Because, in reality, we’re all too busy. There’s always going to be something that gets in the way. That’s life. And I feel like it’s no longer an excuse to not make things happen.

So, how does one do it? I have a full-time job, three kids and often feel like I’m pulling myself in too many directions. But I’m also at a point in my life where I’m tired of watching other people make their dreams come true, while I have all the best intentions and plan on ‘getting to it’ eventually, but never do.

I’m done with that. I know I have to make myself more productive, and here’s how I plan on doing it. (I hope you find this helps you a little as well. Also – can you please hold me accountable??)

Okay, so here are a few ways to be more productive each day.

Carve out time before your day gets interrupted

Once I open up my emails, or start taking care of my kids, or get the laundry going—that’s it. All hell breaks loose and my life is no longer my own. (I’m being dramatic, but it’s kind of true!) If I want to dedicate time to writing, I’ve realized I need to do it before the day really gets started. Because I leave for work at 6:15 am three days a week and go for a run the other two mornings (which I feel like I really need right now), I can’t really do the 5 am Writer’s Club thing.

Instead, I’ve decided to do nothing but write on my morning train commute into work. That’s at least 45 minutes of uninterrupted time I get three times a week. However, if I didn’t have to commute in, I would still get up at 5 am and spend at least an hour writing. You’d be amazed at what you can do when the world is quiet, and people aren’t up and moving about.

On the other two mornings, I plan on writing from 6:30-7:30 am before I have to start working at my full-time job and before I have to get the kids off to school. It really is the only time I can carve out for myself.

If you’re really opposed to the early morning thing, try carving out an hour or two of time when the world kind of stops—like late at night. But if you leave it to “some point during the day”, life is most likely going to get in the way.

Change your habits

Do it daily. Make writing as natural a part of your day as checking your emails. Once you start writing regularly, you’re not just changing your habit, you’re also practicing regularly. And practicing is one of the best ways to get better at what you’re doing.

Even if it’s just a small piece of writing, even if you’re just typing something out on the notes app in your phone, making writing a habit is a great way to increase your productivity and get better and better at it.

Have a dedicated workspace

I really do believe that having a room of one’s own is a great way to make yourself more productive. It goes along with making writing a habit. Have a place where you write, uninterrupted, every time you sit down to write.

Yes, sitting in bed or on the couch is comfy and lovely. But, if possible, I think giving yourself a little office or a corner of a room with a proper desk and chair and other things—like noise-cancelling headphones, or warm, soft light and a few of your favourite notebooks and coffee mugs—will create an inviting space for you to hang out. You’ll want to make time to write.

Put your phone in another room

This is one I have to start trying immediately. Having my phone near me makes me want to constantly pick it up and look at it. I find myself mindlessly picking it up and scrolling through apps that don’t even have any new notifications on them. There is nothing so important that I have to have my phone on me at all times of the day. And it can seriously affect my productivity.

If you’re nervous about not hearing a phone call, put the phone just outside of the room where you can still hear it if it rings. But otherwise, out of sight, out of mind. Oh, and you should really close all those tabs on your computer, too. 

Set a daily goal

I heard someone say that your brain gets a little hit of dopamine every time you achieve a little goal or check something off your list. Choose a small goal for every day. When you’re able to get it done and check it off your list, you’re chipping away at your goals, you’re making progress, and you’re feeling better about yourself. Which will encourage you to keep going.

 

So that’s it. What else would you add? Good luck with your writing, guys. And check in every now and again in the comments so we can keep one another accountable!