by Pat Stoltey
I follow a blog called Zenhabits from Leo Babauta. Back in November 2009 I recommended a post called The Little Rules of Action to my own blog followers.
There are a lot of things I like about this post. It's simple. It's direct. It's true. I'm not going to summarize or analyze it here. Leo Babauta does it exceptionally well without my interpretation, and I recommend you drop by Zenhabits and see for yourself.
Based on the ideas from ZenHabits and other time management gurus, here are my personal habits to decrease distractions and increase my writing time:
1. Multi-tasking is out and focused serial-tasking is in. I pick a priority task, focus, finish. I work on one thing at a time.
2. Every blog post I read does not require a comment. As a result, I read more blog posts now. I still register as a unique visitor on the blog's stats, so the blogger benefits when I stop by.
3. Too many lists, Yahoo! Groups, and newsletters eat valuable time. I gained almost two hours a day of writing time by stuffing those e-letters and e-mail digests into folders in case I want to read them later. I suspect one day I'll delete the contents of those folders unread. I haven't missed them.
4. I try to consolidate my errands and appointments so I don't have to go out in the car every day. Every time I leave the house it costs me at least an hour of writing time.
5. Practiced relaxation makes it easier for me to write (and to sleep). If I concentrate on relaxing and dropping my shoulders, I find my whole body relaxes.
6. When I sit down to write a blog post or work on my novel, I just write. Revision and self-editing come later.
Have you been distracted lately? Overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your To-Do List? Can't seem to stop editing as you write? Read The Little Rules of Action and see if there's a way you can apply some of these simple steps to your own writing life.