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Productivity Tips for Writers: Change These 3 Mind-Mush Habits


Looking for productivity tips to be a better writer?

Maybe you’ve got a looming deadline.

You just landed a brand new client.

Or you’re finally ready to start reaching out to potential freelance writing prospects.

And you think some productivity tips or time-management secrets might help you get more work done.

But instead, your brain keeps churning some kind of mind-mush stew of:

  • Ideas
  • Deadlines
  • What-ifs
  • Self-doubts
  • Your attempt to balance work, family and maybe even a social life

That ever happen?

When you’re a serious freelance writer, it’s hardly the sip-tea-and-stare-out-the-window kind of experience a lot of non-writers think it is.

There’s a lot of work to do. And you can work yourself into a frenzy with freelancing and everything else going on in your life.

But that’s not a smart way to work. Believe me, as a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and mom with kids, I know what it’s like.

If you want to move up and earn more, you may need to change the way you think.

Check out these productivity tips to clear your mind and be a better freelancer.

Meet productivity-tips expert & freelance writer Jennifer Theuriet

Productivity Tips: Jennifer Theuriet

Jennifer Theuriet

Jennifer Theuriet is a freelance writer and productivity expert.

She’s a friend of Make a Living Writing and former Freelance Writers Den member who learned how to write LOIs that get results, land dream clients, and live the freelance life.

Check out the guest post she wrote about how to write LOIs that get noticed.

She’s also the founder of Life After Busy, where she helps women achieve success by balancing life, work, and family.

What’s your biggest obstacle to productivity?

When I asked the question on my Facebook page, my notifications started blowing up.

I was shocked by the response: 81 comments in 3 days.

It must have struck a nerve.

If you’re a freelance writer struggling with productivity, there’s a good chance you need to change the way you think.

There’s three mind-mush habits most of need to change. Here’s what I’m talking about…

1. Distraction attraction

The top answer and enemy #1 to productivity: “My brain.”

There are a few things happening here. When you’re too distracted to get anything done, you need to get the thoughts out of your head so you can focus.

Keep in mind productivity guru, David Allen’s famous quote:

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

You need a system to park those ideas so you can get back to work…

  • Add it to your to-do list.
  • Type it into the reminders app.
  • Delegate the thought to Siri.
  • Get it out of your head.

The second stumbling block might seem obvious…

Your brain is unique to you. My system works for me, but it might not be the best for you.

Which productivity style sounds most like you?

  • Prioritizer: logical, analytical, and fact-based
  • Planner: organized, sequential, and detailed
  • Arranger: supportive, expressive, and emotional
  • Visualizer: holistic, intuitive, and big picture thinking

FYI… you’re a unique human. You might align most with one style. But that doesn’t mean you can’t steal some tactics from other styles to maximize productivity.

2. ‘I’ll do it later’ disease

Another common answer in my poll was some form of procrastination.

Let’s define the enemy…

“Procrastination is not doing the things you know you need to do when you need to do it.”

Know yourself to fight procrastination

It’s the first step to getting your life back. If you’re finding it hard to resist temptation, make a note of how procrastination is affecting your life.

For example…

  • Did you rush through Sunday dinner so you could get back to the project that you put off until the last minute?
  • Next time you’re tempted to scroll social media, instead of hitting your word count, think about your family gathered around the table without you.

Choose your environment

It’s the second stepThe second step in your war against procrastination is to choose your environment

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can you silence the distractions on your phone?
  • What other distractions live where you do your most important work?
  • Can you move these distractions to another space?

Finally, you must take the time to project plan. If you can’t visualize the path to finish that book, an article, a blog post assignment, or even your own marketing, your heart is more likely to lead you to procrastination.

3. The COVID-induced productivity pain point

How many of you worked from home pre-Covid? Yep, I’m raising my hand too.🖐

And, I commiserate that our loss in productivity has gone underappreciated.

Your loved ones who used to spend their days at school and work, are now popping in with a million distractions.

And you’ve got to do something about it if you want to restore some sanity to your life.

To make strides back to your pre-Covid days, communicate with your family your “work hours.”

Do not disturb…

It might not sink in right away, but make sure they know you will be in your office “for 2 hours and you can’t be disturbed.”

Over-communicate if you have to. Communication is everything.

The art of interruption

Maybe you don’t mind kids barging in at any time. For me, a closed office door means I’m working.

You can teach your family how to interrupt you when something can’t wait. For example…

  • My husband can come in and grab something, but if he wants my attention he knows to write me a note or send me a text so I can respond when I get a break in my day.
  • As for the kids, I expect them to knock (SOFTLY) if something is urgent.

The key to making this go off without a hitch is to respect their interruption rules, too.

Productivity tips to help you take action

It’s not enough to read an article on productivity tips. It’s not enough to get productivity advice from peers in a Facebook group. The results happen when you make the changes.

Progress comes in baby steps. Start taking those small steps towards the big three productivity obstacles that can turn your mind to mush:

  • A distracted mind
  • Procrastination
  • A house full of interruptions

Next time I post on Facebook, I hope to see a lot more publishing wins in my writing groups and less group commiserating on productivity.

The steps are simple but fundamental. If you aren’t making progress, I challenge you to think if you’re making the changes.

What productivity tips make you a better writer? Share in the comments below.

Jen Theuriet is a freelance writer and productivity coach who helps mompreneurs harness their time for what matters most.

Grow Your Writing Income. FreelanceWritersDen.com

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