Productivity The Writing Life

Ways to Stay On Task

Some days just get away from me, no matter how hard I try to stay on task. Lack of focus, interruptions, no motivation — Any of this sound familiar?

Yeah. Me, too.

What Gets In the Way

There are many ways to ruin a productive day. I know from experience what they are. I’m on a first-name basis with every one of them.

My most frequent impediment is not having a plan for the day. I get up, and drift into the day, letting random events dictate my activities.

Eventually, I sense my lack of productivity, and then pick a random task to work on and call myself Good.

That’s not Good.

Interruptions of all sorts also pull me away from my resolve. I am easily distracted by shiny objects. It doesn’t take much to derail me.

If I have my email program open, I check it now and then — or then and now. Years ago, I found It randomly finds webpages from my interests. Click a button, and “poof” productivity erased.

I like to read the news. I can waste hours getting all worked up about events I can never influence.

Fortunately, for now, I don’t spend much time on social sites. But, what happens when I get busy “engaging” my tribe? YIKES!

My normal chores and honey-dos get ignored, too. They are an example of “it isn’t fun, so I’m not doing it.” Very mature.

Am I good enough? Yeah, sure I am. I’ve written training materials that have improved the lives of thousands, maybe millions. My Kindle books help people save money and get out of debt. I’ve helped dozens get started in a legitimate online business that can replace their day job. (It’s what I use to provide a good living with lots of free time.)

Motivation Starters

What motivates me? I don’t know. I have plenty of money. I have plenty of free time. I live the writer’s life without having to actually write. I get tired and bored. I need a hobby — another distraction.

But none of these distractions or impediments can stand up to sufficient motivation.

Motivation can’t come from the outside, but can only be generated in your inner being. External events and circumstances can surely affect your inner being, but it is up to You to shape your motivation.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll work to get it. That’s motivation.

I’m comfortable, so not very motivated to make any changes. So, get uncomfortable. If you don’t like where you are, move, make changes.

If you don’t make changes, nothing changes.

Create in your mind a new location, a new situation, a new desire. As you dwell on it, you’ll begin to notice how far away you are from that desired state. You’ll begin to move towards this vision by starting to do what you know you need to do.

Be dis-satisfied with your current habits and circumstancees. Start to do something about it.

Be Professional

The professional doesn’t wait for inspiration or motivation to go to work. The professional just goes to work.

Need to write something every day? Then, write every day.

Read more? Not if it serves as a way to avoid doing the work.

You don’t find time to write, you make it.

Set a daily appointment on your calendar for writing. Keep the appointment.

When it’s time to write, write. Don’t get all your pencils sharpened and laid out in a nice line. Don’t work on marketing. Don’t practice with warm-up exercises.

Get Busy

Just write — and write, and write, and write.

Then write some more.

Do what needs to be done. Turn off the distractions. Be professional and productive.

By John Larson

John is an experienced small business owner, management consultant, project manager, and family man. John has been married since 1967 to the same beautiful bride. He has two sons and eight grandchildren. He makes his home in Carlton, Oregon, USA.

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