We all want to be more productive with our finite amount of time on this planet, but how do we do that? At heart, I’m a bit of a numbers gal and for me this is a good way to look at my productivity when it comes to my writing. I use two KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as measurables. The first is the number of publications I have in the marketplace – currently 5 incase you were wondering. The second is my daily word count which will obviously have a direct impact on my first KPI. Some people prefer to track their progress on a weekly or even a monthly basis, but I get a buzz out of pushing myself to write something everyday. Every morning (or sometimes the night before) I take into account how much time I have that day, and then set myself a word count. Sometimes its 500, sometimes its 5000, but I always try to push myself. Here are three techniques I use to help me hit these daily word counts.
- Keep a spreadsheet – I know it sounds dull, but it works for me, so it may work for you too. I basically have a column for the date, word count target, words written and then a tick/cross column to signify if I’ve met my target or not. I print this out and then pin my spreadsheet above my desk and fill it in everyday. I know my limitations and I know I wouldn’t bother opening up the file if it just remained on my desktop, so something literally hanging above my head is essential for me. You’d be surprised how motivational even a few consecutive days of hitting your targets gets. The longer my streak gets, the more I don’t want it to end.
- Get a coach – not like a writing coach but someone who’s interested in your writing. Maybe a cheerleader is more apt. Someone who’s happy to get involved and ask you on a regular basis, “how many words have you written today?” For me, it’s my other half. Practically everyday when he knows I plan on writing he asks me how much I’ve done. Believe me, the feeling of not wanting to tell that someone you didn’t reach your target because you were painting your toenails for 3 hours is a powerful motivator.
- The Pomodoro Technique – my author bud Susan May, put me onto this. If you want all the info on this time management technique then I suggest you Google it for more in-depthness, or use the link above. It’s basically a total commitment to whatever it is you’re doing (like writing) for a set amount of time. Sometimes I use this, sometimes I don’t, depending on how well I’ve been focusing. If I’ve got a bitty day and only small windows of time in which to write, I’ll often plump for this method. I set a timer on my phone for however long I’ve got to spare, and then blitz my writing until the buzzer goes off with ZERO distractions. It’s difficult but totally worth it if you want to see results quickly. Afterwards I like to reward myself with a coffee or a little piece of chocolate, but this is optional!
So there you have it – a few ideas to try to increase and motivate productivity. Good luck!