Whether you are a journalist, a copywriter, or a novelist, your income depends on the amount of quality work that you produce.
The more you write, the more money you can make. But unfortunately, it’s easy to get in your own way with unproductive work habits that slow you down.
That’s why we’ve come up with four productivity secrets that will help you write faster.
1. Prioritize Your Time According to What’s Important in Your Life
Prioritizing your time starts with taking stock of your values and goals. Consider writing them down and posting them in your work space. If you are trying to decide how to spend the day, or the next ten minutes, ask yourself if it fits in with your goals and values.
In an article in Adweek titled, “7 Habits of Highly Effective Digital Journalists”, Kevin Loker asks, “If you were to list everything you do during the day (at work and at home), would the percentage align with what you think is most important?”
When you look at your to-do list, concentrate on the number one most important thing. If an activity doesn’t line up with your values, don’t waste your time. You will free up time to do what’s important.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters
2. Use Online and Offline Tools to Track Your Time
Want to gain awareness and control of how you spend your time? There are plenty of apps that can help you.
GTimelog is an unobtrusive app that you can use to record how you spend your time. This can come in handy when you are trying to keep track of how much time you spend on specific projects.
StayFocused is perfect for anyone who wastes time on social media or any other non-work website during the day. You list the sites that are sucking your time away, and it will block you when you have reached a time limit, during certain hours, or even all the time, depending on your preferences.
Rescue Time records the amount of time that you spend in daily activities and gives you a report at the end of the day. It can block distracting websites, give you an alert when you’ve spent a predetermined amount of time doing something, and track your daily accomplishments.
3. Think Like a CEO
You may not be a CEO, but you can benefit greatly from learning their habits. Stephanie Vozza listed productivity secrets from prominent CEOs in an article for Fast Company.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, assigns themes to each day, to better handle workflow.
Sally Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, wakes up at 4:00 am. She said, “It is at this time of day that I often have a rush of ideas (some of them are actually good).
Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty, spends the first four hours of the day on his “one thing” project; a large-scale project that will lead to a major breakthrough in his life.
Michael Pryor, former CEO of Trello, maintains his productivity by not allowing people to interrupt him.
4. Get It On Paper
In the article, “11 World Class Writers Reveal their Best Writing Productivity Secrets,” Sharon Crosby highlights the importance of simply getting words on paper, without editing as you go.
The idea is to write a sloppy rough draft. Jo Linsdell, an author who runs the Writers and Authors Blog, said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. You can work on making it better later.”
When you write this rough draft, don’t edit as you go because that slows down the process. Mary Jaksch, chief editor of Write to Done, explained that writing and editing use different parts of the brain, and it is counterproductive to do them both at the same time. She said, “This is like being in a car and stepping on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. You won’t get anywhere fast!”
Photo by Brad Neathery
Transcription Can Help
One simple way to get the words on paper fast is use a transcription service like CastingWords. You can tell a story to a friend, record it and have it transcribed. Or record an interview, or dictate notes while you research, and have them transcribed. Once you get the document back you have an instant rough draft, which will speed up your writing process.