Over the past few days I’ve been editing my critique partner’s latest book, thirty action-packed chapters with characters I love. Reading for Jody Hedlund is a treat.
I embarked on the edit, averaging 2-4 chapters a day with a high of 6. I reached a point recently, though, where I needed to wrap things up and shift my attention to my work-in-progress. I had one day left to devote to the read, and yet I had 10 chapters to go.
Could I do it? That was the question.
The answer surprised and delighted me. Yes. I could. And I did. Here’s how.
Implementing one technique, I nearly doubled my highest daily output.
Before I began, I set myself up for success. I had a well-defined goal: edit 10 chapters in a single day. I woke early and got right to work.
Sure, I’ve done that many times and yet not accomplished half of what I’d planned. What made that day different?
I kept my mind on the task, my backside in the chair, and my eyes on the screen.
I avoided the temptation to do other things. Even though I allowed myself a few breaks to check email and take a peek at Twitter, I kept them brief: 2-3 minutes at most.
When interrupted, I returned to the task without delay. I received a call from a dear friend and another from a relative, calls I didn’t want to miss. After they were over, I fought the tendency to do other things, reminded myself of my goal, and got back to work.
I used my success as reinforcement. When I’d finished editing the first of the chapters in just over an hour, a record for me since I give a detailed read with numerous comments, I gave myself an atta girl, and I plowed into the next chapter pronto.
I enlisted support. I told Jody I wanted to finish the read that day, so she sent uplifting emails each time she received a chapter, which was a great source of encouragement.
I began the read at 5 a.m. and finished in time to get dinner started at 6 p.m. The calls and breaks took an hour, so I edited 10 chapters in 10 hours, which is a record for me.
What enabled me to do so was staying focused.
How do you increase your productivity?
Do you have a productivity success story to share?
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to getting things done?