Denise at Freelancing Journey recently tagged me for a group writing project on productivity. The writing project was started by Ben Yoskovitz at Instigator Blog to compile the “Ultimate Guide to Productivity.”
As I indicated in Memes and Gotta Get Goals!, I am selective about which of these kinds of projects I participate in. Although there are many fun and interesting memes/group writing projects, I decide whether to participate based on whether the project furthers my goals for this blog.
A discussion of productivity certainly fits in with giving writing advice to both professional writers and “non-writers” who write in the course of their everyday lives. None of us ever seem to have enough time to accomplish everything we want to accomplish.
I talked about this in Focus and Organization. Since I work on such a variety of projects, I have to focus on what I’m doing at the moment. I do multitask – reading blogs while backing up my computer or reading e-mail while I’m on hold on the phone. However, when I’m writing or editing, I need to focus on the project. I don’t get much done if I don’t concentrate on what I’m doing. Research has shown that multitasking slows down most people rather than making them more efficient.
Setting priorities is also important. I keep track of deadlines and try to schedule tasks to complete projects before the deadlines. Since I get a lot of must-be-done-immediately work from business clients, I have to leave plenty of “free” time in my schedule to handle them between working on longer-term projects like book editing.
Although most time management experts recommend working on the most important tasks of the day first, that advice doesn’t work well for me. I am a slow starter, so I’m not at best at the beginning of the day. I start out with e-mail and small jobs, then move to the projects that require more concentration. You need to find your natural rhythm and focus on your most important projects when you are most alert and productive. That may be doing your most difficult tasks first thing in the morning. Many part-time writers get up early before the rest of the family and write before going to their day job. Others stay up late and write after everyone else has gone to bed. Some work on their lunch hour and breaks. None of these schedules is better than the other, but one is better for you.
Taking care of my health is important to my productivity. Becoming overtired can cause severe neurological symptoms and put me in bed for several days. Even if you are in good health, you will be more efficient and productive if you eat right and get adequate rest and exercise.
My suggestions aren’t profound, certainly not the “ultimate guide to productivity.” But I hope they make your think and help you focus on your own projects and your own productivity.
Rather than tag specific bloggers, I encourage any of you who would like to share to write a post on your productivity tips. Let me know about it and be sure to link to the original post to be included in the compilation.
[tags]productivity, group writing project, Ultimate Guide to Productivity[/tags]