Well-known journalist, writer and producer Joel mark Harris in his blog gives advice on how to curb his Muse and make a writer’s work most efficient.
You can say that you are constantly busy. In addition, I am a writer, producer, editor, journalist and scriptwriter. (And, frankly, I’m tired already, even from all this scribbling). Right now, I’m prepared to surrender three books, edited a multi-volume publication, write scripts and prepare to release two films. And Yes — I actually forgot that even working on it.
In my opinion, literary and journalistic work needs in the business approach. If your work provides you, it probably makes little sense to think about writing as a way of earning money. Besides, creative people tend to procrastinate no apparent reason. So I decided to give my tips on productivity for writers. I have suffered many years of practice, and I hope that you are also useful.
I carry a notebook wherever I went. That is, he’s with me everywhere really. If I suddenly remember something I need to do I add this to my to-do list. Sometimes this idea for a blog, and sometimes thing don’t forget to get in the supermarket.
At the same time in my notebook coexists three lists: “writing cases”, “home” and (my favorite) — “when you do not need to think.” The idea of the last list I overheard the coach of productivity David Allen. In this list are such things that you can do when you have no inspiration or desire to write. I are there topics of study that I need to do for writing material, or tasks for writing simple letters. In General, these are the things that do not require strong mental and creative exertion.
You are only human
I think sometimes it is important to remind ourselves that the average person can do in each moment of time only one thing. Even the most productive of us can only do one thing.
If your head is spinning from the number of cases that need to be done (like most people), then you just are unable to clearly allocate tasks and understand which tasks are now most important. The recipe here is simple — just make a list and prioritize.
Plan your day
Once you have allocated tasks, enter them in the schedule of the day. I usually do stuff from the “literary” list in the morning, and try to allocate each task a limited amount of time. For example, 4 hours a day I write 2 hours allocated for the meeting and 1 hour of work in social networks.
Sometimes it happens so that important tasks take more time than you planned. This is normal. Soon you will realize that we all tend to underestimate the passage of time and its capacity for rapid problem solving. As soon as you acquire more practice in planning, you will learn to lay on your objectives an adequate amount of time. I use the timer, and break their internal “deadlines” only if absolutely necessary.
On the other hand, it is important to remember that your energy is much more important than time. I write in the morning because this is the time when I’m most creative. E-mail, meetings at work and mining can wait, because this job does not require any special creative spirit.
Use task managers for teamwork
If you, like me, are working on major projects, you will inevitably need other people to implement them. Reveal the secret — certainly, members of your small team, like you, a huge number of projects at a time. Therefore, we need discipline to work on all fronts was the most productive.
For example, when I worked on the last film, you had to rent a trailer. Someone had to order the equipment, book the Studio, to inform the actors and the camera crew and stuff like that. In order that it don’t go to hell, we used Trello, which we agree, the best to cope with such tasks. If you mark the colors of each person’s task, it is possible in real time to observe what tasks are, and what has been done, and to control the whole process. Moreover, such programs save you from mile-long e-mail correspondences. Very useful when you, for example, an editor or working on a book together with publisher.
The Winners know the numbers
Probably you will never find an athlete who does not exactly knows the number of his matches, he’s scored goals and red cards issued. The most successful people on this planet are always watching the numbers, whatever they were doing.
Honestly, I have sinned what I did not know their numbers — as I have subscribers in my blog, how divergent my articles and where they come from customers. But this is precisely the kind of information that allows you to be as efficient as possible in short time. Through monitoring of their progress, for example, in social networks, you can understand which one is more effective for your work and give it further more time. From my own practice I can recommend for such task Hootsuite.
Schedule yourself at least one day a week when you carefully study the statistics, indicators, money, or other metrics of your performance. Otherwise, it’s like the old parable about the woodcutter had no time to sharpen the saw because of the fact that trees were always cut down a lot.
Turn Off the incentive
I mean, first of all, of course, the Internet. Perhaps this is the most important feature of productivity for writers.
Sometimes in order to get rid of irritants, you need to leave the office and sit in a cafe, you will not touch. Sometimes — on the contrary, you should get a separate office. And sometimes it means to stay away from the office.
Of course, everyone has their stimuli. Someone distract colleagues, some children and Pets, someone — the Internet. But I’ve noticed that when you’re working from a cafe, you’re distracted by far less things than in the office or at home.
And, of course, the biggest enemy to productivity of any writing person is the network. When I write, especially off of a network router and go into the other room so I didn’t have the temptation of going back online. But there are special programs that will not allow you to go online “for a minute”. This, like, just a little advice, at the time, brought me the result in the form of a hundred written pages and a huge number of saved working hours.