Monday, October 1, 2018

How to be More Productive When Writing at Home

Please enjoy today's guest post by Margaret Latham :-)

Every parent who has tried to hold down a writing job at home has struggled with productivity sometimes.
I know I struggled with it for months at a time until I made some serious changes. I want to share with
you the changes I made to help you accomplish the same things and become more productive.

I would find myself constantly distracted by the TV shows I wanted to watch and by ads and irrelevant
articles online as I did my writing research. My writing time is spent researching as much as I write,
and it was easy to get distracted when I became stuck or bored. Then I would just browse the internet,
check my Facebook feed, watch YouTube videos or read celebrity gossip. I had to make some changes
to ensure that I wasn’t just wasting my time at home while everyone else was at work or school.

Take Breaks
This may not be the most important piece of advice I can share with you, but it is one that is often
overlooked. You do need to take breaks every so often. It’s good for your eyes to get away from the
computer screen for a while, so if you tend to spend your breaks looking at websites that don’t involve
your research, then you need to find a different way to take a break. Your body needs a break from
sitting in the writing chair or wherever you are sitting while you work.

You need to get up, take your eyes off the screen and move around a bit. I like to take a break like this
every hour or two. Tina from DiamondClean mentions “I will go do some housecleaning, wash dishes,
do laundry or just pick up some toys or trash throughout the house.” This not only gives me a break
from sitting and staring at a screen, but it also allows me to accomplish something that I would have to
do later anyway.

Plan Rewards
A lot of times, writers feel drained after sitting in front of a screen for a long time. The body gets tired
and slows down, and it is easy to tall into the trap of just lazily going from one website to another
wasting time. One way to change up that routine and get out of the rut is to place awards for yourself
throughout the day. If there are sites you like to visit regularly, you can tell yourself that once you get a
project done or write so many thousand words, then you will take five minutes to look at the site.

You can also use snacks as self rewards and take a snack break when you finish something significant
in your writing. You want to be careful about binge eating and overeating, though, so limit your snack
breaks and try to eat healthy snacks.

Keep Your Energy Up
A similar problem that writers suffer from is a lack of energy. Sitting all day at a computer screen is not
good for your energy levels, and it is normal for you to feel like not doing anything. Your motivation
feels shot, and you start to feel depressed. You need to change up the way you eat and exercise to
bring up your energy levels.

Instead of having a soda or something with sugar while you work, you should eat something with
Omega-3 fatty acids or some fruit. Water is a great way to boost your energy levels too, as it detoxifies
your body and hydrates you to keep your body working at optimum efficiency.

You can also take an exercise break every now and then. If you sit down all day, your energy levels
will be very low, but if you spice things up by doing a little bit of exercise every few hours, then your
body will stay active and your mind will work much better. This gets the blood pumping and keeps your
body feeling alert and active, and that allows you to get a lot more work done.

Set Goals
If you have no set goals for the day or the week, then you will feel like you don’t have to do very much
sometimes. You may sit down to work and then not feel like doing much, and since you have no goals
in mind, it won’t seem bad to you to just be lazy. You can change that behavior and stop it dead in its
tracks by making either a mental or a physical list of goals for the day and the week.

You can determine to get so much done each day or even break it down hour by hour. Those people
who are easily distracted need to have constant goals in mind to keep working steadily, so an hourly
breakdown of goals is not a bad thing.

Determine to accomplish a certain amount of work for each of your goals, and if you don’t meet those
goals, then you can skip one of your breaks, take a shorter lunch or work a bit longer that day. Goals
are a reward in themselves, but you need a way to punish yourself if you fail a goal. You can use the
tips we just mentioned or come up with your own creative methods of penalizing failure. The important
thing is that you make it important to stick to the goals. Now, you can revise goals as necessary, if you
find that they are unreasonable as you start to do the work. That’s fine, but you need to keep the goals
in mind and keep working toward something.

If you don’t give yourself set goals, then you are more likely to wander and lose productivity. You can’t
just say that you will work until a certain time. You need to be setting yourself objectives to accomplish
in that time. Otherwise, you will end up doing very little and then quit at your appointed time, having
accomplished almost nothing.

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