Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘getting things done’

Six mental tricks to boost writing productivity

My friend Sue has a Jack Russell terrier named Roger who has springs in his feet. Whenever Sue plays a video game, Roger jumps up and down as if he’s playing along. Sometimes I feel like I have a Jack Russell in my brain springing around from thought to idea to thought again as I go through my day.

In my ongoing quest to calm my inner terrier and be more focused and productive with my writing and other tasks, I’ve figured out several mental tricks — mind games I can play with my brain — to help me get things done. These tips place structure around the daily chaos.

Prioritize your top three to five tasks. Each day, I think of the three or four most important things I need and want to do and write them on a Post It note that I stick to my computer monitor. This helps me focus on a manageable number of tasks that are absolute priorities. To decide my priorities, I ask myself these questions: What’s been grating on me? What would make me feel most relieved if I could knock the task off my list? What has a deadline attached to it? What would be most profitable? What would help me move a project forward to the next level? As the day goes by, I look at it to stay on track.

Follow the two- to five-minute rule. Some tasks really don’t take that much time to do but just seem like they do. Many e-mails can be dealt with in a few minutes or even less. Other things can easily be dispatched in five minutes. Knocking off a bunch of quick tasks gives momentum for all the more time consuming ones. Read more