Procrastination is our lifelong, unwanted companion.
Many authors have full-time jobs. Some have families to raise and other obligations. Finding the time to write is difficult, and when you do, you may be challenged to muster the energy to stick with it.
I’m trying a new way to get 3 hours of productivity, which includes breaks. I invite you to try it.
Distractions destroy your productivity. It is hard to concentrate and stay focused when the mind wanders. Squirrel!
Anyone who has ever met me knows that I strive to learn best time management practices. While different things work for different people, many practices have not worked well for me. Even something that started out strong lost effectiveness over time.
I’m attempting a useful new time management practice and invite you to try it.
Once you’re figured out your available time blocks to work during the week, write them down. Here’s how to make the most out of a 3 hour time block when you’re stuck with a short attention span.
First – Get rid of the greatest distractions.
Phone – silent or off.
Email – closed.
Door – closed.
Social media notifications – whatever beeps, bleeps, peeps, rings or signals, put it away with the volume down.
Advanced: Put your phone away in another room and close the door. You can do it!
Second – Set a timer.
There are timers online, your smartphone, an egg timer. You can even use the microwave timer if you need to.
Once you’re ready to start, set the timer to 30 minutes. No more!!
Third – practice a little discipline. It’s only for 30 minutes.
Why is this effective? It’s effective because you’re going to take a forced break for 5 minutes once your 30 minutes of work are up.
Your 30 minute is not a long time. So don’t stop working! You know a break is coming fast.
Fourth – when the timer rings, you must take a break.
Get up and get the heart moving. Do a few stretches.
Use the bathroom.
Grab your water/tea/coffee/whatever your poison
You should be able to do this all within 5 minutes.
Set a timer for your breaks as well.
Fifth – Rid the clutter occupying your mind.
Before you start again – clear your mind.
Grab a post-it notepad and write all the things that are on your mind – 1 item per sheet.
Then stick each sheet on the wall beside you until your mind is free and clear to start again.
If something is bugging you while you’re in the middle of the 30 minutes. Fine! Write it on the notepad and stick it to the wall. You’ll deal with it later and get it off your mind now.
Now rinse and repeat. Put 30 more minutes on the timer.
With my work schedule, the longest I’ve gone for is the 3 hour block. If anyone tries this for a full day, let me your results. Do you find this effect? What works for you?
The Month of November may be tied to Movember (non-folically challenged men grow beards to collect for prostate cancer), but it also has another purpose. For many, November is NaNoWriMo month.
From November 1st to 30th National Novel Writing Month participants will write in a fury to finish a novel in 30 days. The goal is to write 50,000 words by month’s end, a solid first draft.
Why Participate in NaNoWriMo?
You may have heard the saying “there is a novel in all of us”. For some, there is an unwritten library. NaNoWriMo supports participant to focus on writing for thirty days to start, stick with it and finish their novel.
NaNoWriMo is not about creating a literary masterpiece. Its focus is to complete the first draft by the 30th day (roughly 50,000 words). There are a million unfinished novels in the world. Let yours not be one of them.
On twitter use hashtag #NaNoWriMo and follow @NaNoWriMo. There are organized local gatherings to meet and write together. When attending meeting I offer only one word of warning. As with any writers group, some people talk instead of write. Writing is not the same as telling everyone your story. Discuss, ask for feedback, but do not tell your story, write it.
How To Participate in NaNoWriMo if You Are Not Writing a Book?
Are you not writing a novel? Don’t let that stop you from participating? We are all writers, and writing comes in many forms. Use this time and guidance to:
• Write 4 short stories in 30 days
• Write 4 White Papers in 30 days
• Write 30 blog posts in 30 days
• Write 15 articles in 30 days
• Write 30 poems in 30 days
Let’s support each other so that we all win.