Tuesday, 29 April 2014

How To Be More Productive

A few weeks ago, I remembered how back in 2009 or 2010, I managed to write around 12,000 words in a single day. Mind you, this was during the holidays and I was younger so didn't have very many commitments.

I eventually gave that name a day. Yes, I named a day.

I call it Epic Day of the 12k.

And I came up with that name when I was in the shower.

I spent a total of 9-10 hours writing that day. I was tired after it and had a lot of rubbish but I was proud of myself.

Since then, I've tried doing it again it but it's so hard. The highest I've managed since then is 7k which is still pretty huge. And I noticed a few months ago that even if I set aside an hour for writing, I'll only spend a small portion of that time writing and only manage a few hundred words. I spend too much time on the internet.

So I'm now undertaking the task of figuring out how to increase productivity levels and write more and I think I have it figured.

Get necessary things out of the way. If something really needs to be done, like make lunch or call up your mobile network, do it first. Then you can focus on your work without things nagging you.

Plan for distractions. Unless you can find a sound proof room with nothing but you and whatever you need to get your task done, there are going to be distractions. Especially if your task requires internet access or a way to communicate with anything in the outside world. So make sure you know what your distractions are and find a way to deal with them

For example, if you need to write a paper and need to use the internet, your distraction will be e-mail and social networking and well, the whole world wide web so block all the offending sites that you won't need.

Another way to deal with distractions is to allow yourself to get distracted by them. For every 25 minutes of work you do, allow yourself to get distracted during a 5 minute break. This requires so much self-control.

What I like to do is to load all of the pages I need on the internet and then I disconnect so I can't look at anything else.

Organise your time. For example, if you have six hours to finish your paper or story or whatever you're working on, take a piece of paper out and draw a graph on it, a bit like this.

What needs to be done?
Have the tasks been completed?
Hour 1
Make a plan for essay

Hour 2
Gather research for essay

Hour 3
Write body of essay

Hour 4
Write introduction and conclusion

Hour 5
Insert references

Hour 6

Or you can do this in a word processor.

This will help you know what needs to be done. If the task hasn't been completed then write it down in the third column and then edit the second column for what extra stuff needs to be done.

It doesn't matter if you don't finish everything during the slotted time. Just make you're keeping track of things. If you keep track you're less likely to get lost.

Have a single, clear goal in mind. I know some people suggest splitting your goals down into more achievable goals but you also need your ultimate goal so you are actually working towards something. I always like to have 2 or 3 smaller goals (sometimes more) and then my single goal. I write the single goal down on a post it note and I stick it somewhere on the wall or desk so I can see it clearly. Thus, every time I get off track, I know I need to get working again. This just reminds me of what I'm working towards.

Have a reward/punishment system. Okay, I don't mean literal punishment like a whip or something. I mean something that you aren't too happy about. It could either be eating vegetables or throwing away something you like.

I tend to have chocolates or ice cream for a reward and for punishment, I have to listen to a Law lecture on YouTube for 5 minutes.

You can use whatever system you want. Just make sure your reward is simple, like a cupcake and your reward can't be something like watch television or internet surf. Your reward cannot be a distraction or have the potential for distraction. Also, your punishment needs to be something which you really don't like and it also cannot be a distraction. I find YouTube lectures fairly helpful. They're dull and when my 5 minutes are up, I really don't want to continue.

Don't work in your bedroom. This is pretty much only an option if you have another option. I live with my family and so my bedroom is the only place I can work without be disturbed. I can go to the university library but then I'd have to travel to get there and I'd rather not waste time on trains.

Local libraries are a good idea but I personally find them too distracting. And I end up leaving early anyway. And when your library is right next to a bright, new cafe, it's even more distracting.

Do not have your mobile phone next to you. They're so small and yet there's so much on there that can be a distraction. I often find myself going through all my old photos so I make sure I keep my mobile away from myself that I have to go up to get it. I'm lazy so even if it rings, I just leave it. Lol.

Plan for failure/disaster. Don't allow yourself to fail or walk into the disaster but make sure you have some options if you fail such as continuing for an extra hour or asking your professor for an extension if possible. You might have to do an all-nighter. If you're studying, you may have to do one of these. They aren't fun but when they're necessary it's not that bad. Just keep snacks and drinks with you.

Just don't aim for failure/disaster. Otherwise your productivity is going to be bleurgh.

Reward yourself after. With anything. A day out shopping. Going to the beach. Going to a theme park. Holidays. Anything you want. But if you don't complete your task, don't reward yourself.

And finally, avoid too much pressure. Unless you work well under pressure. If you feel you're under too much pressure, get up, walk around, do something random and return to working when you feel better.

So I hoped this helped. And I would also like to point out that writing 12k in a day is insane and I wouldn't advise it. Most of those words were terrible, just saying.



  1. I'm sure there was some good stuff in the 12k! I know what you mean though, regular, sustainable amounts is the way to go. Some great tips here. I find feeling rubbish is punishment enough if I wasted time etc!

    1. Thanks.

      I never feel rubbish about wasting time lol!

  2. Great tips! I'm too easily distracted by the internet, too. Luckily, I'm usually able to avoid it while drawing/inking, but since I need the computer to color my art...um, yeah. Hello, distractions! XD

    I really like that chart for organizing time. It can be way too easy to lose track of time doing pointless things, so I can see how this could help make you use your time more wisely! I may have to try it someday... (Or, y'know, today, since there are heaps of things I should be accomplishing right now, haha!)

    1. Thanks!

      That must be very difficult as you pretty much can't get away.

      Lol Maybe you could try it today. I love making tables and charts. Great way to procrastinate and feel like I'm getting things done.


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