As I contemplate and research a writer productivity and scheduling workshop I’m hoping to teach next year at the RMFW conference (maybe even as a YouTube video if they decide they aren’t interested in my proposal) I wanted to share a few things I’ve found helpful to boost my productivity, and I want to share a powerful quote from another productivity expert because it had a profound impact on me. If you’re as serious about being a productive, prolific writer like I am, these things might help you, too.
Recently I was listening to a motivational speaker named Brendon Buchard who helps entrepreneurs and creative folks like you and me. He was talking about how you should wait to check your email until after you’ve woken up, done your exercise, and planned your day so you’re more focused and not as reactive. I actually agree with him because I’ve found that to be true myself. I wait to check email for at least 1-2 hours after I’ve been up and started my day because I find I get more accomplished when I do this.
But he also said this:
“Beware your inbox. It is nothing but a convenient organizing system for other people’s agendas.”
How true is that? I don’t know about the rest of you, but that was VERY true for me. And *that* right there completely changed how I view my inbox. Since hearing this, I have been trying a system where I only check the inbox once a day, about halfway through the morning. I answer all the mail that absolutely HAS to be answered (the people I need to contact to further MY agenda), and then I save the rest for answering on Sunday during what I’ve dubbed “email time”. Am I perfect about following it to a T? No. Sometimes you have to answer an email immediately if it’s something you need. But most email can wait. Especially requests from others, because if you allow it, some email can act as a detraction to your productivity. The same goes for chatting and instant messaging!
There are some people who will usurp your time for their agenda if you allow it. This is especially true for authors who have readers or aspiring writers clamoring for your attention. We are tempted to drop everything to talk to our readers because we want to be seen as approachable and helpful. The problem is – it can derail your day. So schedule a time for answering *that* kind of email, but get back to your editors and business associates immediately, because they help further your projects and productivity. (As a side note – for those of you who work in customer service, the needs of others take precedence, so you would have to ignore this productivity suggestion because other people’s agendas and needs would be your priority. Nonetheless, you should still schedule time to answer those emails daily so you’re not being detracted by requests so much that you’re getting nothing else done.)
Social media is also a huge time suck. Unless you have an event taking place on social media, only check your social media twice a day. Once at 11am and once at 4pm. Make use of social media aggregate dashboards like Hootsuite and schedule posts for your FB profile, twitter, and FB pages a week or month at a time. You’ll be happy you did. Of course, there are days I break this rule myself. I am trying to get better, though. When I stick to this rule- my productivity soars!
So there you have it! A few tips for better productivity. What are your favorite ways to stay productive during the day?