Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Be Productive

I think most of us today have trouble being productive. There are so many shiny things that grab our attention. And some not so shiny. For those of us that work from home, it's especially challenging. The Internet is a black hole that sucks us in. Piles of laundry and dishes stare us down. The phone rings, the mailman arrives, and the kids ask for a snack or drink or toy every other minute.

My key to productivity is Out of Sight, Out of Mind!

The Internet: There are apps you can install on your computer that block the Internet when you need it to. I haven't gone that far yet, but I know they are helpful for a lot of people. Luckily, just closing out the browser is enough for me. If the browser is open, it's very easy to just flip over. If it's not, I have to actually click on it, wait for it to open, go to the website I need. It only takes seconds, but still...it's a lot more than it being open already.

Household Chores: This one I have no problem ignoring! Piles of laundry and dishes bug me, but for some reason, during the day--my work day--I can ignore it...just as if I had left the house and was at work in an office. But I can't have clutter in my line of vision. I currently work at my dining room table. Which sucks. I can't wait to have an office. But if the table is littered with junk and I can see it on either side of my laptop screen, it bugs me. So I need to take  a few minutes to clean it up. But the rest, if I can't see it while I'm working, I'm good!

Interruptions: Hard to put some of these out of sight, especially the kiddos. Mine are a little older, so most of the time, they don't need me for much. If the hubby is home I will go work in the bedroom and close the door. That helps. The phone is easy. Shut it off and put it out of reach...out of sight. Mailman and other deliveries...not as easy to ignore. Especially when you have a dog that goes nuts whenever anyone comes within 200 feet of your property. I don't have solution for that...anyone? But usually those interruptions are short and then you can get back to work.

Writer's Block/Lack of Inspiration: I grouped these two because I think they go together, and I wanted this post to be more generic...not just geared toward writers. Many don't believe writer's block exists. I don't know for sure, but I know there are times I come to a scene and I just don't know how to write it. I think it has more to do with inspiration. And I think we can all relate to having a lack of inspiration at times, regardless of our task. And the only way to work past is to push through. I take whatever is giving me trouble and put it out of sight...out of mind. If a certain scene is not working for me, I move on and tackle another. Usually the inspiration comes back. And I think that trick can work for anyone in any line of work.

New ideas: Kind of the opposite of the last problem. Many of us in a creative field are often tantalized with a shiny new idea, mainly because we're getting sick of dealing with the current one and it's problems and challenges. The new idea sounds so fun and exciting. My solution: get it out of sight and out of mind! When I get new ideas, I know I need to write them down or I will forget them...gone forever. If I don't write them right away, my brain won't stop...trying to remember every detail. So I stop for a minute, jot down my ideas, and continue on. I get it out of my head (out of mind) and then close the notebook or close the computer file (out of sight).

Good luck with your productivity in 2016! Got any other tips on staying productive???