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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Your Productivity Road Map

Are the disruptions of daily life getting in the way of your writing goals? These tips will help you reach your destination faster and happier...without sacrificing sleep or sanity.  By Sage Cohen


Most writers want more time. Yet many of us aren't making the most of the time we already have. What gets in our way? Anne Lamott famously said, "My mind is a bad neighborhood I try to not to go into alone." It's our attitudes and habits that can make the neighborhoods of our minds difficult to navigate.

There are 11 steps. 1. Know your destination When you know what matters most to you in your writing life, you can steer the time you have toward getting there.

2. Chart your course. In your writing life, understanding how side errands inform the path toward your goal can likewise help you chart your course. If you want to complete a short story collection and are also building a social media platform, it's important to recognize whether and how one goal informs the other in order to allocate your time in a that delivers the greatest value.

3. Tighten your leash. If you have a tendency to wander off into endless research when you need only a factor two, or you sink an hour into Facebook where you could've left a quick comment, the leash of intention can call you back. Try setting a timer when you need to use designated writing time to tackle an unrelated task.

4. Let your life inform your writing. Have a system for capturing ideas, a recorder for the drive, a bathtub marker for the shower, a notepad in your gym bag. Or I have a HUGE post-it pad on my computer room door, to jot down thoughts, ideas.

5. Put a squirrel on the wire. When a dog, who is old, who can barely move, sees a squirrel, they'll go after it. Discovering what your own irresistible motivations are will give you the most value from the time you invest in writing.

6. Plant in the parking strip. Are you overlooking any margins of time that could help your writing flourish? It's easy to pass up the sliver available as we yearn for the whole pie and yet, writers often panic, flounder and waste swaths of perfectly good writing time when we have them. A lot of my writing was found when my students were taking a test (PARCC, Star 360), or at a hockey game (really hard, but do-able), in the car or doctors waiting area.

7.Travel in the Off-hours. The less traffic on the road, the faster you'll get where you're going. Same is true for writing in the off-hours. What you can achieve between 5 and 6 a.m. while your family is sleeping and your mind is fresh may be twice what you could accomplish at the end of a long workday.

Leave yourself a trail of crumbs when you have a work-in-progress, particularly in the great, uncharted middle.