Have you been getting your writing done? No? Well, neither was I until I took a step back and determined my priorities. Then, I came up with the top five focus and mixed them with these other productivity tips. As a result, I’ve been thriving with my creative writing. So, here are a few tips for productivity for writers, including the top five focus.
How To Boost Your Writing Productivity
Everyone works differently. I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. However, people can work similarly when it comes to productivity. So, maybe there’s a tip in this list that you haven’t tried before, and it might help you.
Find What Works For You
Yeah, it sounds like a lousy tip, I know. But it’s probably the most authentic tip on this list.
As I said before, everyone works differently. So if you’re not being as productive as you think you should be or want to be, you need to try a few different methods and see what works best for you.
For example, are you more productive when you see a high daily word count? Or maybe you get a boost in energy when you write x-amount of pages daily? Or maybe per week?
Ask yourself what looks “productive” to you. Even if you’re writing one hour a day. Daily writing, as much or as little as it is, may make you feel like you write faster. You’re a productive writer because of your writing output.
But again, productivity as a writer looks different to everyone.
For instance, I find myself to be productive when writing at least 1,000 words per day. If I can write my goal of 2,000 per day, it’s a really good day for me (or maybe it’s just NaNoWriMo at the time).
It doesn’t have to be writing, either. It can be editing, research, outlining, etc. You can even write blog posts about writing. No, it’s not your book, but it’s still writing practice. In addition, you can take some time out to read for your work as well.
When working on your manuscript, ask yourself what would look productive to you. Then, find a way to meet that productivity in the middle.
Is being productive to you writing x-amount of words per day? Great. Now how do you achieve that?
Find A Productive Time To Write
Sitting down and writing is the best way to meet your productivity goal. Of course, it’s easier said than done. But it is doable. You’ll need to find a writing time that works for you and your book.
For instance, I write best in the morning. So when I wake up, if I don’t start writing within the first hour or two of me being awake, then I’m not going to get much done if anything is done.
So, find the best time that works for you. This time will ideally be when you’re focusing the best. There are few distractions, and no one else is around to bother you.
The time might be tricky for you to find at first. Give it a good week or two of writing at the same time every day – morning, afternoon, evening, or night. If one doesn’t work after a week, try a different time. Something will come of it eventually.
Find Two Or Three Places To Write
Most people have an office in their homes. They sit at their desk and write. And if they don’t have an office, they use the kitchen table. All of this is okay.
But I say you should find a couple of different places to write because the environment is super important for you to focus and be creative.
For example, if you always write at the kitchen table, where do you go when your kids don’t have school? Or they have friends over? Or maybe the plumber is right there fixing the drain in the sink.
Where do you go? You can try to write earlier or later, depending on the day’s schedule, but I find it best to write every day at the same time (or close to it). But where do you write? That can be flexible.
I find a change in the environment once in a while helps keep the creativity flowing. I’m not sure why or how, but it works.
You don’t even need to change rooms. Sometimes I go back and forth between my desk and my couch in my office. I’m only moving about five feet away, but, for some reason, it tricks my brain into thinking I’m somewhere else, and the focus comes back.
I think it’s easy to get into a rut. You sit in the same spot every day trying to write, and your brain gets sick. So, changing your scenery can help turn your thinking around and give you a nice change of pace.
The Top Five Focus
Three has always been a magic number for me. Three is also probably more doable than five. But we all know how much I love alliteration. And, well, “top three focus” just didn’t have the same ring.
So, when I thought of this idea, my mind immediately went to the number five. Top five focus. It sounds nice, right?
Alright, but enough about alliteration and how cool I think it is. So what exactly is the top five focus?
I made it up. (At least, I think I did. I’ve never heard of it before.)
Basically, I chose five projects that I’ve been working on or want to work on, and I’m going to focus on only those five projects solely. I’m not going to distract myself with side projects or get tired of one in the middle of it and jump to the next without thinking.
I chose five things to work on, and I will stick with them.
How The Top Five Focus Works
First, I made a list of all the projects I have. And I mean all the projects. I included ones that I started and never finished, ones that I had the idea to start and never did, projects I’m in the middle of, projects I abandoned with the intent of “going back to it,” and the list goes on.
When I say “project,” I mean websites I’ve built, content writing jobs, social media platforms, and more.
So, for example, instead of writing this website down as a project and including the social media that goes with it, the email list, and the books I need to write (which technically goes since this is my author website), I listed every one separately.
Because of that, the list of everything I wanted to do or planned to do was 23 items long.
Once I had the list, I decided to check off all the high ones on my priority list.
I Check Off 21 Out Of The 23 Projects
It didn’t work. I scanned my list, telling myself, “this is important,” and, “I’ve been meaning to get to that,” and, “oh, I’ve been wanting to get started on this for a while,” and so on.
When I reached the end of the list, I realized that I had checked off almost every item. But, of course, that wasn’t supposed to be the plan. I was supposed to prioritize, not go through the list and check off the ones I “want” to do or “should” do right away.
The funny thing is, after I went through the list, I realized I had left out two other projects. So I didn’t bother adding them because they are certainly not on the high priority list if I initially forgot about them.
Thus, The Top Five Focus Was Born
I had no idea what to do with myself. So, I told myself to focus on a handful of projects. Thus, I came up with the name “top five focus” and ran with it.
I looked at the list again and forced myself to prioritize only five projects.
It wasn’t easy, but I sat back and waited for some of the projects to speak to me. It sounds weird, but whichever projects caught my attention the most, I knew those were the ones I needed to work on first.
The projects I’m going to work on are the following:
- This website
- My writing (specifically George Florence and the Perfect Alibi)
- The Merry Writer Podcast
- Double Jump (YouTube)
- Pet Simplified
These are all projects that I’ve held close. Some I’ve let go of and gone back to, and I knew I need to be more consistent with them. But on the other hand, I’ve been working on others for years and have been consistent with them. So, therefore, I knew they were something I couldn’t give up.
It’s been a couple of weeks, and, so far, it’s been going well. Focusing on only the five projects has been more manageable and less stressful for me. I hope to return to some of the other projects someday, but for now, I’ll be a lot more productive with everything.
Not to mention, I’ll be happier and be able to take more breaks in the long run.
How I Started The Top Five Focus
Once I figured out what I wanted to work on, I organized everything for a day or two. Then, I made notes of where I was for each project and lists of what I needed to accomplish for each.
Also, I put together a new schedule for myself. For example, I will start dedicating my early mornings to writing again. I’m a better writer as an early-bird. Otherwise, I’ll either skip writing for the day or make no progress with it.
I also decided to add in a planning day for myself, between building two websites and co-running a podcast and YouTube channel, plenty of content creation, video editing, and marketing to be done.
I’m going to spend my Mondays prepping content and making to-do lists for the week and maybe even the month or quarter, depending on what needs to get done.
Then, if time allows, I can get a head start on the week on Monday afternoons.
I’m Limiting My Time
It sounds backward, doesn’t it? But, if you want to be more productive, you should limit the time you work on things.
However, I think it’ll be good in the long run. By only focusing on five projects, I’m limiting my time on everything else. Thus, it gives me more time to work on the five I chose to work on.
Even if I only dedicate an hour a day per project, that’s five hours. A typical work day is seven to eight hours, which would give me a buffer to extend my work on specific projects for the day or have extra time to work on something if needed.
In addition, whatever to-do lists I make for the week, I can solely focus on that and that alone. If I finish my work early, then I can either try to get a headstart for the next day or relax for the night.
I’m also limiting the amount I add to my to-do list. So I can have my evenings back, have less weekend stress, and have more time to relax.
So far, it’s only been about three weeks since I started this. Truthfully, I’m still trying to get used to it and figure out the best schedule and routine. But I think it’ll work overall, and I’ll be better off.
How Do You Stay Productive As A Writer?
Out of all the tips I listed in this article, how do you stay productive and on track with your writing?
I think the top five focus will help me with my creative writing because I’ll free up space in my brain to dedicate time to my mystery novel again. I’ve already had a boost in productivity (and motivation) for it.
Rachel Poli is an indie author, podcaster, and content writer working on her debut cozy mystery novel.
Although she favors mystery, Rachel is a multi-genre author with too many ideas and characters in her head, often experimenting with short stories and flash fiction.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, organizing something, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.