On Productivity Killers

Productivity. It’s elusive. Oh, how I wish I had more hours. It’s the common refrain, and just as true for me. I have too many tasks and not enough time to do them, but to be honest, I have more than enough time to do everything I need to do – I simply waste too much of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m (usually) happy to do so, and have few regrets, but I’m still not very productive. Here’s 3 of my main productivity killers:

My 3 little productivity killers - I regret nothing
My 3 little productivity killers – I regret nothing

Here’s a reasonably-complete list of my general, daily tasks/duties:

  1. Work – my actual, real, paying, day job. I teach business English in Poland to serious managers, accountants, etc. It’s a sweet gig, if you’re good at it. It affords me a lot of time in cafes between lessons, but it makes my days outside the home very long, involves a lot of travel and doesn’t actually give me that much free time between lessons. Not usually enough to get into a writing mindset anyway. Blogging, sure. Writing, not so much. Well, sometimes it does, but only when it pays badly.
  2. 3 furry creatures, as depicted above. I usually get out of walking them but they’re still obsessed with playing with me and generally getting in the way. If I’m stupid enough to lay on my bed in the afternoon/evening, I usually have one laying on my legs, another on my chest and sometimes the last sitting on my shoulder, before I can even turn the laptop on. And both dogs are obsessed with licking my brain via my nose. I can’t work at home, at all, ever.
  3. My fiance. See point 2 :p
  4. I have a lot of administrative work associated with my day job. Don’t let the alcoholic-fueled, British teachers in Poland fool you, it’s a real job with paperwork, planning , homework to mark and all the usual, time-consuming stuff.
  5. I’m old and pathetic, so try to go to the gym 3 times a week. I’ve paid for the 12-month contract so I’m gonna use it, damn it!
  6. Someone has to do what I call the admin of life which includes everything that everyone already knows about: food shopping, washing clothes, cooking food… bla.

A long, boring list? Definitely. The point is, it doesn’t leave much time left to actually write, which has to be a low priority as it, frankly, doesn’t pay (yet). The next point – the important point – is that of all of this, realistically, has to be done and none of it falls into the category of a productivity killer.

So, what does? Here’s my other list of junk that wastes too much of my time:

  • Constantly clicking on KDP’s Update Report button. Have I sold any books today? Leased/rented any? How many? Let’s check 10 times a day, just in case.
  • Constantly refreshing Twitter, this blog, and everywhere else I have a “presence” that’s desperately-but-barely clinging onto life.
  • 20 minor, time-insensitive, deadline-free tasks with few consequences if they’re done late, or not at all. (see point 4, above, for example).

I somehow manage to fill my days with a lot of nuisance junk that really doesn’t need to be there, and here’s the real problem:

The big tasks are in my calendar, scheduled (or at least schedulable [not Paulina – I don’t want to die]) and can be properly managed. These small ones just sap productivity but provide no added value.

I have a good system (a lot more details in another post to come) where everything novel-related is setup in Chrome and syncs with my laptop, tablet, etc, via Chrome. Everything personal’s in Firefox. No syncing at all, ad-blockers, script-blockers and the works to protect me and my laptop.


So I shut Chrome down when I don’t specifically need to do something. Always! Out of sight, out of distraction!

Try it, or something like it. You need to work on your brand, your marketing, but if you do that all day, in tiny increments, you’ll never get the next book out, and that’s the best marketing you’ve got.

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