Writing Advice: Productivity

Artist: Yumi Sakugawa

With everything else you have going on in your life, it can be difficult to keep up writing productivity. This is a topic that has been on my mind lately because National Novel Writing Month — the ultimate test in productivity — is fast approaching. In about a month I’ll be embarking on this crazy endeavor yet again. I couldn’t be more excited, honestly, but it’s still a rather daunting task. Even if you’re not attempting anything as crazy as NaNo, though, productivity might still be a concern for you. Sure, you get your homework done and maybe even work a part-time job, but you may be finding it difficult to fit some writing time into your day. When you’re busy typing out an essay or you’re simply tired after a day at work, writing can seem unappealing.

Recently I found a cute illustration that suggests some ways to be productive and I thought I’d share it with you. This infographic includes tips and tricks such as focusing on three tasks per day, setting specific times for specific tasks, and understanding what your personal habits are. All of these things can help you be more productive, but there are two other items on this list that I think are especially important and helpful.

The first item is using a timer. The infographic suggests setting a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone for 30 minutes and focusing solely on one task during that time. This can work for any task, obviously, but I think it works particularly well for writing. If you know you only have to write for 30 minutes, that can make the task less daunting. Knowing that you’re under that time limit can also push you to make interesting choices while you’re writing.

The other item is called “productive procrastination,” which is an intriguing name. The infographic suggests that when you’re procrastinating on a certain task, you should do something else that’s productive. In the case of writing, if you’re procrastinating on your daily writing, go for a walk or do some cleaning around the house. Do some kind of busy work that will let your mind wander. Chances are you’ll think of something that will renew your enthusiasm for whatever you’re writing, and then you’ll be itching to get back to work.

I hope that these tips and tricks help you out, no matter what the size and scope of your latest writing project.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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