It has been five weeks since the demise of my daily writing routine.
Time to stop whining, and give myself a proverbial kick in the ass. I am my own worst enemy when a big change happens. Any major shift in routine has the potential to set me back weeks, while I struggle to adjust. For those of you in the same boat as me, here are three things I do in order to juggle home life, building my network, and writing while the earth stands still.
#1 Setting Goals
Setting goals has never been difficult for me. Achieving them is a different story. Here are the long and short term goals I have currently set for myself.
Short term goals:
- Set constant posting schedule
- Develop Pinterest marketing strategy
- Develop podcast
- Edit manuscript
Long term goals:
- Build network
- Self publish
- Earn revenue
I have found having my goals written out keeps me on track. I have to be mindful of setbacks, as I easily succumb to self doubt and pity parties. Having a visual reminder is prudent. Something to remind myself all victories, no matter their size, are moving me closer to my goals.
You have to construct a strong foundation, when building something intended to last. Slow and steady wins this race.
I’m not visually creative. Many writers I know build pretty planners, and colorful charts as visual reminders. I love the idea, but lack the skills to build such eye-catching pieces. (It really is an art all on its own.)
Personally, I work better with loose guidelines rather than plotting out every minute detail of my day. I feel boxed in when I try to force myself to follow a strict schedule. For example, say I schedule a day to edit a chapter but instead I came up with a really great blog topic. I would have to stifle that creative flow, in order to complete my scheduled task, making it unlikely I would be at all productive that day because of it. It’s more productive for me to pick from a list of weekly tasks, allowing me to not feel guilty if I can’t work on a particular project at a specific time. I have to remind myself, as long as I am writing something productive, I’m moving closer to my goals. To be fair, my life is fairly simple at this stage. I am sure as my business grows, I will have to learn how to schedule my day more rigidly around clients and deadlines, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
Why is structure important? It is really quite simple, it keeps me productive and is good for my mental health. I am a creature of habit. I go to bed by 9:00 most nights, and wake up around 6:30 most mornings. I make coffee, enjoy a morning smoke, wake up kids for school, check the news and the blogs, etc… It is all pretty normal, and predictable. Which, I couldn’t be happier with it to be honest.
Before the lock down, my day also included working for 5-6 hours with no distractions; 5 days a week. It was lovely, as distractions are notoriously difficult for me to recover from while I’m writing. Now my days include homeschooling children at various stages, and entertaining a stir crazy 5 year old who is all distractions.
My basic daily routine has not been affected too much, but my work routine shifted from writing daily, to being a teacher, and writing the occasional blog post. Meaning work productivity is at an all time low. I needed to find a way to incorporate more “distraction free” writing time into my day. However, distraction free is impossible to come by, and I have had to get creative. Mostly, I had to learn to hone stronger, more effective writing strategies and tools. I rely heavily on outlines to get me back on track right now.
This is a huge struggle for me. I am a hurricane of creativity, and project ideas; with almost zero organizational skills. Over the years I have learnt the value of note taking, outlines, and character sketches; but those lessons were hard fought. Now I have been forced to fine tune those skills. As a result my note taking has never been more detailed, and my outline structures have greatly improved. After 5 weeks, I must say I see a noticeable improvement in my distraction recovery time.
I have taken to setting a schedule for work each day in my google calendar. I alternate between research and various writing projects. I’ve learnt having multiple projects underway at once, actually decreased my stress. If I hit a wall, I can simply leave it for later and work on something else. My schedule is simple and repeats, but it works for keeping me on track.
Since I am trying to be more consistent with my posting. I have also written a list of topics to outline during ‘class time’, when all the computers are in use. My goal is to scheduled posts as I finish writing them. I will be posting once a week, on Friday for the foreseeable future. (If I can build up a good line of pending posts, I will have more time to work on other things, like my Pintrest marketing system, and starting a monthly podcast.)
( I may increase the frequency of posting to twice a week, depending how productive my writing gets. )
I am hoping by doing these things, I will improve my traffic, along with my writing. Ultimately increasing the size of my network, and marketing base.
I am happy to have some semblance of work order back in my life. It is a breath of fresh air which lifts the spirits, and helps me regain clarity, and focus. The set back teaches me it’s okay to stumble, as long as I don’t stay down long. If my foundation is strong, the rest will follow in time.
Thanks for reading!
One thought on “Building Successful Work Habits”
Setting daily goal is really what helped me the most during the confineme7! Really great article!
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