Thursday, August 30, 2007


I have come face to face with my tendency to overbook my time and am wrestling it into the past. I don't have time to be inefficient. I need to spend my time wisely to get everything done I want to accomplish. So how does a procrastinator like me do that? I tried a number of approaches. These are just tossed out. It would have taken more time to figure out a pattern and put them in some kind of order. :)

PRIORITIZE. This went well. I didn't want to give up anything. I am at the fortunate stage in my life that I feel passionately about all the things I am doing. Considering that result, I went on to some other approaches.

SIMPLEOLOGY: There's an entire Web site on this method of being productive. Some of it is free – an enticement to buy books and tapes on this method. I didn't care for his marketing style, but he had some great ideas and examples, which I adapted to fit my thinking.

JUST DO IT. Don't stop if I'm tired or frustrated; push through it. Like turning off the internal editor when writing, this also includes my tendency to nitpick at things to try to make them "perfect." Like great artists who intentionally made one flaw in their works, the flaws in our projects are what makes them unique or one of a kind.


RACE MYSELF. If I'm doing a repetitive task, set a timer and see if I can do it faster the next time.

DON'T SLEEP. To quote Danita, "HA!" I tried this for a few nights. Not recommended! However, naps are nice if I do stay up later than I should on occasion.

SCHEDULE TIME TO PLAY. This may seem odd, but some of us have an extra responsibility gene (or two) and haven't actually learned how to relax and play. Take time to get down on the floor and play with your children or grandchildren. If you have neither, take the time to play with your pet or the dust bunnies under the bed.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Especially a challenge for women who have been raised to nurture others but not themselves. In addition to an unlimited supply of chocolate, this can include meditation, yoga, and energy healing. A caution: this can be an experience in itself and may lead you on an entirely new life's journey.

ACCEPT that sometimes things – like washing dishes or folding clothes or ironing the husband's t-shirts (kidding! please tell me you don't do this!) – simply don't get done every day.

How about you? What ways do you use to be more productive? Or do you even worry about it? Do you simply adjust the things you have to/need to/want to do to life's flow?


Alice Sharpe said...

"like washing dishes or folding clothes or ironing the husband's t-shirts (kidding! please tell me you don't do this!)"

The other day, my dh said, "No need to match my socks, hon. Just stick them in the drawer if you will and I'll match them up when I wear them."

For those of you who don't do your dh's laundry this may sounds imperious. For those of us happy to help him with such a chore on the trade off that we don't have to reshingle the house, whoopee, back off ladies, he's mine.

Loved your blog Genene. It seems we all suffer through our own particular problems in different guises no matter what!

Here's hoping your list serves you well. I enjoyed seeing a couple of problems that I don't actually have! Of course, that means I have a couple of problems you don't have, but give me a moment to revel!

Paty Jager said...

Good blog, Genene!

I'm finding it harder to stay productive lately. Too many irons in the fire. And I find I tend to put my writing aside to take care of editing. Especially this week because I am soooo far behind in my editing due to helping another editor.

When I am most productive, my house resembles the inside of a barn. Dirt, hay, stuff piled everywhere.(yes, I can ignore housework) My husband has one pair of white underwear I keep at the bottom of his underwear drawer. When I see him in those, I know I need to do laundry! The overflowing clothes basket can be ignored, but him in those ugly white briefs, no way! LOL

I'm also most productive when I have something new and exciting to get onto the pages. When I'm revising/plumping something for the 3rd or 4th time, I tend to not be as productive and clean house.

I don't prioritize- But I do try to write in the morning, edit in the afternoon and Saturdays are my promo days. The day I send out promo stuff to conferences and contest winners.

Then I have days like yesterday when I edited in the morning(because I'm behind), ran to the post office came home to a message from the dh that we were going to the lake when he got off work to see some friends up there vacationing, but I still had to rake hay and feed the animals before we left. So nothing writing related got done all afternoon.

I think the best way to be productive no matter what kind of a writer you are is: Make time for yourself and then just do it!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

LOL, Alice. I do the DH's laundry, too. I wouldn't trust him near the washing machine. The man has no concept of sorting colors into different piles and that certain clothes require different temperature washes.

Fun blog, Genene. I'm of the Just Do It mindset (especially lately after a nice butt-kicking by Alice the Great). Something else that works for my comptetitive nature is a writing challenge with my cps.

Karen Duvall said...

I'm productive only when motivated. Therefore, when I know I'm getting paid to do a job, and payment for such job will buy groceries for the week, I'm VERY productive.

I prioritize based on motivation, so the paying work always comes first because it fulfills the basic needs of survival. Which is why other things get put on the back burner.

So for me it's all about balance. I'll occasionally have a balanced week consisting of what I must do, what I should do, and what I'd like to do. In that order. However I can sometimes get the list of what I must do and what I want to do in the same column. For example, I must work out daily (at least 1/2 hour of cardio) so it's how I reward myself at the end of a stressful workday.

wavybrains said...

I've got a whole host of discarded Productivity Self-help books, and a dog eared copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Procrastination, and a basement full of discarded tools (whiteboards, sticky notes, binders, planners, palm pilots), all of which prove that I'm the wrong person to ask about productivity.

I *can* be very productive. My challenge has been figuring out what spurs that productivity. I did amazingly well with the deadline of classes/grades in school. But, the last four years have been spent figuring out what else motivates me--and I still haven't found something that works as consistently as school did. Fake deadlines don't work. What does work, surprisingly is boredom--but I have to be disciplined enough to turn off the computer and let boredom sink in for a few hours before the productive Tsumini unleashes itself.

So, I've got nothing, but I'm reading all of your responses very eagerly! Great post Genene! (And Great Post yesterday Alice!)

Piper Lee said...

Great list Genene!

I prioritize too. I look at what's most important for that week or day or whatever and I make a list and check it off as I go.

The "don't sleep" thing will never happen. I love sleep. I'm a real brat (to put it mildly) when I don't get the sleep I need, so it wouldn't do any one any good for me to stay up late working or get up too early. Nope. Not gonna sacrifice sleep. :)

I've noticed that these last two weeks before school starts again have been packed. I've had to do the "No Thanks" and some "Wait until my kids are in school" thing with a few things.

So I guess staying productive for me is all about prioritizing.

Alice Sharpe said...

Well, Genene, I didn't really answer your question. What motivates me most is saying, "I want to have this done by this date so I will FEEL free to do what I need and want to do next. Believe it or not, that really helps.

I am also, like Karen, motivated by money and am lucky enough to be making some money to reward my hard work. That helps.

But, really, what helps most is the feeling that I have to get this done so I can be free of the burden of needing to do it.

(I would never not sleep unless I couldn't sleep because 'm too excited about closing in on a plot or focused on a story point and then I don't care about sleeping.)

Genene said...

Interesting motivators, ladies!

I can sure relate to Paty's "too many irons in the fire" and chuckled about your visual reminder to do laundry!

Guess I'm not very competitive, as Eli's made me shudder with dread, not motivation! Perhaps because I'm just wrapping up a manuscript and need a break to catch up on other things. I'll be working at another story, but not pushing myself to finish it until after the holidays.

Love your should, must and like to do columns, Karen! Wouldn't it be perfect if each project fell into all three columns?

Wavy, I found your motivator of boredom very interesting. Not sure when I was last bored. I can see where it would be hard to get to that point. Would like to raid your basement for productivity supplies, though!

Piper, glad to see you've stuck with your goal to say no thanks to things not on your priority list. That seems like a simple thing, but it can be a hard one to actually do.

Alice, you must be very self-motivated! "FEEL free to do what I need and want to do next." Hmm. I agree with you and Karen that money is a great motivator! :)

Thanks for sharing!