My deadlines are looming, and I’ve been hitting the keyboard extra hard the last few weeks (and today, apologies for posting late!). Day job work has also picked up, and so I’ve been chugging along there as well. Things have also been breaking around the house, so I’ve been fixing those. Also, when I have time, I eat, see friends, and, every once in a while, get some sleep.
I’ve never been quite this busy over quite such a long period of time before. My schedule, if I want to get everything done kind of on time, and have it not be a train wreck, and still kick enough ass at the day job that we can eat, is demanding, to put it delicately. Less delicately, my schedule is a ravenous minion of Cthulhu that’s been eating my limbs one by one anytime it catches me slacking.
Since I’m fond of my legs, and I hate typing one handed, this means that procrastination, especially during writing time, CAN NOT be tolerated. To facilitate this, I’ve adopted a number of stupid human tricks to help my monkey mind stay focused on the task at hand.
TRICK 1: Unplug router during writing hours, removing wonderful internet from writing machine. This is so dumb, because the router is right in the other room, I could easily walk over and plug it back in, but I don’t, because while my willpower can lapse long enough to double click the browser icon, it has a hard time staying under for the walk down the hall. Amazing how a barrier to entry, even a small one, can help the brain stay on track.
TRICK 2: Keep goals small. I’m talking really tiny. Every morning, I write out a quick list of what I’m working on. Not even scenes, just “Character must go here, character must talk to this person, foreshadowing X must be revealed,” and so on. Once I get my list, I focus on the first task and I do not get up until it’s done. Not if I have to pee, not if the house is on fire, I am not allowed out of my chair (or think about anything else) until I have finished my tiny task. Come on, it’s only a little, just do it. You can do it, right? And I do, eventually. This system can be really annoying, but I have to admit, it’s amazing how fast things get done when I really have to pee.
TRICK 3: Write before anything else. For my mornings, the only things that come before writing are bathroom, coffee, and letting the dog out. After that, I am in my chair. I don’t do this because I’m a morning person (though I’ve kind of become one because of it), I do this because the early morning is the only time I can work. Any other time, I’m too tired, or too much is going on, or people are doing fun things in other rooms. So I just write first, and I keep myself going with the promise that after this, I can do whatever I want. It’s not true, but sometimes moving forward means lying to yourself like a bad salesman.
There are my tricks, which are mostly me treating my brain like a hyperactive five year old. I hate having to resort to this kind of behavior, but I have to get things done. No time for nice! So what are you stupid human tricks for productivity? I’m always looking for a new act to add to my repertoire.