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Beyond Busy? 20 Ways to Boost Productivity

hourglassWith more than ever to do these days, writers have to work smarter to survive.  The following 20 tips can boost your productivity.


1. Develop routines to dispatch mundane duties. As you complete one task, you won’t have to stop and think about what to do next.

2. Get the most difficult chores out of the way first so you can free the rest of your day for more pleasant activities.

3. Set an ending time for each activity. If you don’t, even a simple task can take hours.

4. Allow yourself breaks when you need them. You’ll do better work when you return to your desk.

5. List all interruptions to your workflow as they occur. In a quiet moment evaluate why they happened and brainstorm for solutions.

In the Office

6. When you’re tired of sitting, set up your computer so you can stand while working. While you’re at it, do a few simple stretches now and then. You’ll improve your circulation and think more clearly.

7. Make sure the room where you work is well-ventilated or you’ll struggle to stay awake at the computer, which won’t help your productivity.

8. Your office chair should be comfortable. It’s hard to focus when your legs cramp or your back aches.

9. Drink lots of water. Dehydration makes it hard to think.

10. Remember to feed yourself even while in the throws of creative passion, but don’t fill yourself with junk food and expect to be sharp.

11. Leave the Internet off until you’ve completed all writing for the day.

12. Invest in a smart phone which lets you read news, emails and ebooks at odd moments or while doing mindless tasks that leave one hand free (like stirring).

On the Phone

13. Turn the phone’s ringer off when you need to concentrate.

14. When you take a phone call, set a timer. When it goes off say your break is up and end the call.

15. Before you make a phone call jot down what you intend to cover, and don’t let yourself get sidetracked.

Email Tips

16. Don’t set emails to pop up when they come in. Instead, handle them all at once after you finish writing.Check email when other chores are done. That way you’ll have less time to dally over them.

17. Tell yourself that you must get through all emails you received that day but that you can’t go beyond the time you allot. You’ll be more choosey about what you read. Set a timer if you need help stopping in time.

18. Unsubscribe to one email list every day until your email inbox reaches a more comfortable level.

19. If a phone conversation rather than an email would save time, schedule the call.

20. If you receive blog posts by email, consider whether reading them in a feed reader would be more efficient for you. I use Google Reader.

My list is by no means exhaustive. If you have more tips to share, please comment.

Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

© Janalyn Voigt
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I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.

4 thoughts on “Beyond Busy? 20 Ways to Boost Productivity”

  1. One method we use is “batching.” We’ll take daily tasks (like preparing lunches) and do them at once. For example we set up snack bags of veggies for the full week rather than each night. Because of setup time it doesn’t take much more time to do ten bags rather than two. Then each night we just toss things together for lunches rather than doing it from scratch. Also works for bills, email, laundry, etc.

    1. I’m glad you mentioned that, Dennis. I batch my duties all the time and should have included the technique in my post. I guess familiarity made it invisible to me. I like your lunch strategy.

      When time permits, I hold a batch cooking session on the weekends to take care of us much dinner prep for the upcoming week as possible. I wash lettuce, chop vegetables, make salad dressings, assemble casseroles, and even pre-cook a meal or two. Another thing batching benefits is the processing of emails. In my gmail account, I filter them into folders that I then go through on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on the topic. This helps me better prioritize.

  2. Thanks Karin. It was wonderful to meet you in person. Best wishes on carving out more time from your day. I’m making a renewed effort toward that end myself. Let me know how it goes for you.

  3. Great ideas for scheduling my day. I feel constantly swamped. Hopefully applying these ideas will make things run more smoothly. 🙂 btw, it was great to see you at the conference this weekend. I hope you had a great time and sold lots of books!

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