Today’s post is inspired by this You Tube video.
It’s twenty-six minutes long, but there are a lot of good tips in it. I’m not going to rehash them. I’m using this video as a springboard.
There is actually a very simple trick to getting more done, but it requires discipline to follow through with it. Ready for it?
Limit how much time you give yourself to doing the task you want to do.
That’s all there really is to it. I tried two different methods. One was giving myself a set word count to finish. I couldn’t stop writing for the day until I hit that goal. On average, it took me all day to reach it. I found if I don’t set a limit on how much time I’ll give myself to write, I’ll actually write more in a shorter amount of time.
For example, I used to give myself 6-8 hours to write 3,000 words for the day. On some days, I would get to 3,000 words, but on others, I would only get 1,500 or 2,500 words. I rarely ever wrote over 3,000. Why? I guess it’s because my mind was fixed on 3,000 words at a maximum. But I also would let myself check social media, emails, You Tube, and do other things with my time while I was supposed to be writing. Then I started giving myself 1 hour per book to write in as much (or as little) as I could for that particular day. I found that I not only got more words in, but I got more time freed up afterward to exercise or relax.
I know this sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it does.
Here’s the key: You have to get rid of ALL distractions AND you have to focus only on that one book for the ENTIRE time you have devoted to it.
You can listen to music if it tends to motivate you for writing. You can even take a drink of water, tea, coffee, etc. You can stretch your muscles if you need it. You can also use the bathroom as long as you come right back to the computer. No cheating on this one.
But you can’t do any of the following: answer phone calls, make phone calls, check the internet, listen to TV, watch TV (even if it’s out of the corner of your eye), listen to the radio, engage with anyone on social media, talk to someone (throw people out if they come into your room, or find a library/cafe/park to write).
The basic idea is that it must only be you and the story. Nothing else matters.
See what I mean? This requires a lot of discipline, and it’s not easy. Some days, you’ll do better than others. I have fallen out of this routine after implementing it, and it’s lowered my progress each and every time. So you have to be dedicated to this method.
It’s really easy to do, and yet, it’s not. The bottom line is how determined are you to write the book? If you want it bad enough, you’ll do this.
So, let’s say you have one book you’re working on, and you’re crunched for time. Give yourself 30 minutes to give your 100% attention to it. When those 30 minutes are up, you’re done. You can’t go back to that story until tomorrow. So, if you didn’t get much done on your first day, you have extra motivation to get more done the next day.
This is a process. It takes time to develop this habit. It won’t always be easy to stick with this. If you fall off the wagon and slip into old habits, give yourself some grace (because we’re only human), and just hop back on the wagon tomorrow.
I used the example of writing for this post, but this tactic works for a lot of other things, too. It can be used for social media, emails, blogging, formatting, marketing, cleaning a room, exercise, etc, etc.