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3 Steps to a More Productive Day

3 Steps to a More Productive Day

November 18, 2021 | By Bridget Gleason | 2 Comments

I reached my limit last week. Just over the top. Not working for me at all. I felt as if I had so many balls in the air that I was going to drop something really critical… I was not having a productive day at all.

Have you ever had that experience? How did you handle it?

I went out for a walk.

That might sound like avoidance, but I know that getting away from everything gives my mind time to settle and all those feelings seem to just sort themselves out.

Getting out in the fresh air, in the trees and the sun, is part of that centering process. And the physical act of walking, moving, is key as well. Just sitting outside doesn’t do it for me.

When I got home, I was able to step back and look more objectively at what was making me feel overwhelmed.

 

3 Organization Steps I’m Implementing

I realized that three main areas have been getting in my way and making me less productive:

  • My workspace needs better organization.
  • I need to have an upgraded system for organizing notes and reference materials.
  • And finally, my daily schedule needs a makeover.

I had all of those things functioning well in my previous career. They were organized in my corporate office, and they translated pretty well when I began working from home during the pandemic. But what I need now, for my freelance writing career, is a little different and I hadn’t quite recognized that.

First, My Workspace

I’ve been clearing out and moving everything around in the room that will ultimately be my home office. I’d thought it would be done soon, so I’ve been making do. But I’ve finally recognized that it’s going to take two or three months. It will be great when it’s finished, and I’ll get to work on the beautiful mahogany, leather-topped desk that my father used during the last years of his writing career.

But for now, I’m at the dining room table. It’s a perfectly workable space, but it needed some rethinking. It needs to be my Power Writing Workspace. My PWW.

I found Michele Peterson’s article in the AWAI archives: Setting Up Your Writing Workspace for Success. Exactly what I needed.

I went through her checkpoints and cleared everything off the table except the sewing machine. That, I moved to the far end. So it has its own space and my writing business has its space. I moved bills, snail mail, and other paperwork to a completely different corner of the room. Out of sight while I’m writing or zooming. My PWW is just for my business.

Okay, fixed location and dedicated space, accomplished.

Chair, okay for now. When I move into my real office, I’ll be adding a better one.

Window with sunlight. Check that off. And I added flowers as they make me smile.

I always need notepads, markers, Post-it® notes, and pencils right at hand and there is a convenient set of drawers next to my PWW. Perfect.

And I love colored file folders (recycled, of course) for organizing client projects, networking, etc., so I have those labeled and in an upright holder where I can now easily find what I need.

Coffee is just a few steps away.

And I just found a great sign for my future office door — J. K. Rowling’s “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” It goes up tomorrow.

Electronic Organization Is Next

This is going to take much more exploration. I’m considering an iPad or the ReMarkable 2, a very snazzy paper-like tablet. And I have to upgrade my computer as well. So there is considerably more research involved in this area.

There are lots of cool software programs I’ve been hearing about but I just don’t have time right now to sort through all of them. I’m dropping notes in a folder so I can go back and review them in a few weeks.

What I have done is started using Excel to track websites of companies in my niche and various contacts from LinkedIn and networking meetings. Simply getting them all down in one place gave me an enormous sense of relief.

 

Better Time Management Is Step 3

Mornings.

I’ve never been a morning person, except twice. I rowed crew for a year with a local women’s team — out on the creek at 5 a.m. I remember the quiet stillness, just the swoosh of the oars hitting the water, as we glided through the dark. And then the sun rising through the San Francisco Bay Area fog.

And the year I lived in New Mexico, I had a 4 a.m. newspaper route that was a two-hour meander through the outskirts of Santa Fe. Spectacular all year, but during the winter, as the sun rose and the dark red adobe walls were outlined with gleaming white snow, it was truly stunning.

Actually, I seem to have good memories of mornings.

Perhaps I could become a morning person?

What I’ve realized recently is that I am much more focused and productive in those early hours and so I’m experimenting with being a morning person for the next few months.

Meditation.

I do know that when I meditate in the morning, my whole day seems to run more smoothly. But I’m a pretty sporadic meditator, so perhaps it’s time to get back to this. AWAI has a program on meditation specifically created for writers and I’ve pulled it out and start tomorrow.

Procrastination and the key task.

And then there’s the big one — procrastination.

Do you struggle with it like I do?

It’s so easy to put off a boring or uncomfortable task for my business or a personal chore that needs to be done but will be difficult or complicated or just unpleasant.

And sometimes, if I procrastinate long enough, the problem resolves itself. But usually not!

Because pushing it off doesn’t mean I forget about it. It weighs on me, making me less focused, and eating away at my time. And that eats away at my productivity and my business.

So I’ve made a commitment to myself to identify one task each day and make it happen. It’s non-negotiable. I’ll build the rest of my day around it. But this one task simply must get done. It can be something I’ve been avoiding or simply the most important task of the day. I commit to myself to get it done. At least that key task each day.

I’ve been trying this out for the last week and it’s going great. I actually dealt with something that had been preying on me for three months. And it’s now solved! And the amount of mental and emotional energy that freed up was remarkable.

Which gives me more time and focus for my business. And that’s what it’s about, right?

 

The Total Package

So I have my temporary PWW set up and a schedule for completing my actual office. I have a plan for improving my electronic/virtual workspace soon. And I’m testing out some different time management ideas.

I’m excited to see where this will take me.

What ideas might you incorporate to improve your productivity?

About the Author

Bridget Gleason

Latest in B2B Copywriting

2 Comments

  • Thank you for these helpful tips. It’s funny, during these hectic days, I don’t even recognize some of the challenges that you mentioned here. However, now that I reflect on these in my own life, I certainly experience them. Yes, I especially struggle with procrastination. I look forward to implementing the “task of the day” this week and seeing how that goes.

  • Thank you for this simple, straight forward yet very insightful article about being more productive. I’m going to put some of these ideas into action.

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