With three book projects, family obligations and teaching, I needed a system to account for my time and maintain productivity. Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot success implementing these ideas:
+ I’m meditating – Ever since I finished the 21 Chopra Center summer 2011 meditation challenge, my life has completely changed – with deep thanks to Deepak Chopra. I’ve conditioned myself to start the day with intention, and focus more on actions – not so much on the outcome. For us book writers, it is very easy to get stuck in our heads and become overwhelmed when we aren’t making progress we want. These small “meditations on-the-go” will be your sanity saver. No matter how crazy it gets outside, it is so comforting to know you have a safe haven to quiet your thoughts and gain clarity.
+ I designate days so I know what to write and when – I can’t tell you how much time and energy this has saved me. I take advantage of the “light” teaching days and schedule the research and heavy writing for my book on teacher collaboration, which is under contract with an educational publisher. I’ll spend part of the afternoon playing “catch-up” with two other two creative non-fiction projects. The same goes when I have part of a weekend free, which is usually rare. I use a whiteboard to block off the hours and days I realistically have for each book project. For the smart and time conscious writer, include an “X” where you left off so you don’t spend valuable time looking for it later.
+ I’m keeping track of my progress using a success journal. I find a few quiet moments to evaluate my weekly progress and plan the following week. I am using the following questions:
- What worked? What did I do that allowed me to accomplish my book writing goals or at least took me closer to accomplishing those goals?
- What didn’t work? What did I do that really didn’t take me closer to accomplishing my book writing goals?
- What’s next? Based on what worked and what didn’t work, what do I need to do the following week to accomplish my book writing goals?
+ I’m getting into the habit of celebrating daily and weekly successes, even small ones that will lead to BIGGER ones – To help me realize that I AM making progress towards my goals, I’ll spend a little bit of my Friday afternoon to make note of all my accomplishments and then decide how I will celebrate these successes over the weekend even if I didn’t have a great work week. I’ll also celebrate how I have improved at something related to my book writing whether it was small or big. For example, this past week, I finally figured out what I needed to do to nail the “voice” in one of my books. Whether you had a great work week or a not-so-great work week, take some time today to find at least a few things to celebrate. This will help you realize that you probably ARE making progress toward your goals, even if it might not seem like it.
+ I’m making the most of an online writing buddy to hold me accountable for my time. My writing buddy, who is also juggling multiple book projects and lives overseas, understands the challenges in staying focused and motivated from time to time. Regardless of our time differences, we check in at the beginning and end of our writing “date.” She sets the timer, we write and then check in at the end of the designated hour with our little progress report. We also aim to do an end-of-the-week progress report. If we’re both having a bad day, we will offer each words of encouragement. Sometimes we swap writing plans via email every Sunday night or Monday morning so we can both see what we have planned for the week. I try to give my buddy a few suggestions if it looks like there is WAY too much stuff on my plan and she’s setting herself up for disappointment or if she needs to add more things to challenge herself.
So there you have it – five tips in claiming your time and increasing productivity. To your success!
Dorit Sasson is a thought leader to teachers, coaches, and artists who want to uplevel their teaching and their writing. Her signature workshop, “One Life, One Story” is custom-designed for multiple audiences including teachers and artists who want to empower and uplevel their own writing or the writing of their students. If you are ready to take your teaching and writing to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at: http://www.DoritSasson.com
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