Author Talk:  Productivity

Author Talk: Productivity

The IT people at my day job hate it when I complain about screen slowdowns.  Do you know why it annoys me?  Because seconds add up.  Seconds turn into minutes and minutes turn into hours.  When I’m in the “zone” whether it be at the day job or in my personal life, I HATE INTERRUPTIONS

I always thought I was a good multi-tasker and until a few years ago I believed science had proven that some humans are good at multi-tasking.  When I went to college, I majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology.    Back then, cell phones did nothing more than make phone calls.  You had to get to your computer AND have internet access to use the newfangled Google.  Even though I graduated college in 2001, I barely remember the times when I didn’t have the magic, always on box known as a cell phone.  In high school I remember using my Britannica encyclopedias to write my papers. 

The point?  I think technology and science have moved to prove that humans suck at multi-tasking.  Just consider the explosion of on demand videos, tech, and cell phones.  How many people cause wrecks texting and driving?  If we were good at multi-tasking, wouldn’t we be able to do that and not have accidents? Can you really listen in a meeting and text? Probably not as well as you think.

There is a great article written in 2014 at Psychology Today about how neuroscience studies discovered there is no real thing as multi-tasking.

There are a lot of great articles about multi-tasking over there, but I liked this one b/c it was in 2014, after what I see as the explosion of personal smart phones.  I know I got cozy with smart phones in like 2012 when there was more than an iPhone available and the data plans became cheaper.   By 2014 I was texting, tweeting, and Googling like the world was ending.  And today?  My phone is a mini-computer, I have an unlimited data plan, and I am connected to my electronic device 24/7!

I guess by now you are wondering what my point is and how this relates to authoring?  I am telling you not to multi-task.  Block out time.  Give yourself X amount of time to do something and be MORE productive than you are right now.  Check out this article on a time technique:

As an author with a Psychology degree who has also struggled for years with Attention Deficit Disorder, I kind of feel I have a unique perspective.  For me, it’s so hard to concentrate.   I have good days and bad days.  Luckily for me, it’s mild enough to control with some things I made up.  For instance, I must “shut off my ears  Noise cancelling headphones with music.  Not music from a speaker.  I can’t concentrate if it isn’t being pumped directly into my brain.  Sometimes when I am parking the car, I even turn off the radio because it distracts me…call me a weirdo but that’s just how it goes!  Anyway, shutting off my ears.  That’s how I made it through college.  When I am unable to play music?  I literally plug my ears with my fingers.  That’s how I made it through high school essays and open-ended tests.  

When I’m in the “zone” or trying to “understand” something difficult, I need to be left alone.  I’m self-taught on most of my techy and artsy endeavors; so, I have to read a lot of tutorials.  ANY interruption just derails the hell out of me.  I FEEL like every time I have to stop; I’m bleeding out time.  It takes me so much longer to get back to the zone.  Quite frankly, it makes me cranky too! 

Try having a kid and concentrating when you are wired like me.  You think it’s hard as a normal parent?  Multiply it by 5 for the ADD factor.  I love the hell out of my daughter, but she’s come in here like 7 different times to tell me something silly just while I was writing this article.  (She has none of my attention issues, thank goodness) I feel like a sputtering engine, though, every time I have to stop what I am doing.  I think I feel it more b/c of my attention issues.  That’s why I am starting to believe it’s probably hard for the average person too, but maybe you don’t feel more than like you are “spinning” your wheels and you don’t know why.  You THINK you are an awesome multi-tasker, when in reality we are just running around like chickens with our heads cut off. 

There is also this article that talks about a study showing it takes 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption:

So, you made it this far.  What are some things you can do to become more productive?  You can visit my Pinterest board to see interesting articles and tricks I have collected!

I also recommend the How To Write A Novella in 14 days.  After not writing for 5 years, I took this class and wrote 4 booksone in 18 days!

It has some great tips on the teacher’s technique for using time wisely.  It also teaches you how to plan out your chapters.  If you could only afford one class from Author Grow, I’d say get that one.  It changed things for me. 

*some links are affiliate links but they don’t cost you anything to click. I only post affiliate links to things I use and would recommend.   


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