This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.

The main thing that’s been on my mind lately; well, aside from a semi-constant feeling of failure, has been ways of getting myself more organised about my writing in the hopes that I’ll start making progress sometime soon. And so, for this month’s #AuthorToolboxBlogHop post, I thought I’d look at some of the options I’m using or considering.

NB. Although I might mention some specific programs or applications, don’t take this as any particular endorsement. You find what works for you. 

Since my job keeps me out of the house close to 11 hours per day (when you include the commute) and I also try to help my wife with our home business, there are limitations on the time I have to get things done. I expect many of you have similar situations.

The first thing I’ve done is get an app for my phone which allows me to set and track daily tasks. I chose one called Productive although there were plenty of others. I like this one because it lets me select what part of the day I should be doing them, if I want to be reminded at a certain time, and tracks how often I’ve successfully completed said tasks. So far, it’s helped me break down the things I want to do day in, day out; without feeling too overwhelmed.

I’ve also tried to devote specific times to writing. I know that I should technically be using any and all free time to writing but lately I’ve found that if I’m not specific then I’ll tell myself I have time, that I’ll do it later and then it doesn’t happen. So, while I still tend to most of my work later at night, I also set aside some time during my lunch break at work to get some writing in. Which brings me to my next point.

A lot of the work I do during those lunch breaks is handwritten and a lot of it has been fragmentary. Since I use Scrivener to type up my work, I’ve started using it’s folder system to file these fragments according to either character, location, scene or just a general unsorted for the ones I haven’t decided about yet. It’s proven to be a lot easier since it keeps all of those fragments in one single file, which is both easier to edit and easier to back-up.

Scrivener

The final thing, and I’ll admit to having limited success with this part, is using the additional time at the weekends to try planning and preparing additional tasks, such as blog posts and the like. In theory, that should mean it leaves the ‘free’ time through the week purely for writing. So far, that’s not always the case but I do have to have some semblance of a life…

I’m still looking for ways to improve my productivity and efficiency so any comments and suggestions are welcome.

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15 Comments

  1. I feel the same way. My organisational skills are pretty awful and I tend to get overwhelmed with everything I’m trying to do, especially when I decide I need to rewrite most of my story. One step forward, two steps back!
    Writeometer seems to be a useful app to track writing goals. You can set daily targets and reward points for meeting those targets too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Drew. I will definitely be checking out your app pick. I too have so many roles I juggle it’s hard to keep it all going, but somehow planning my time really helps. I do use my lunch breaks too and wake up extra early to write. This summer has been a challenge though and i hope to get back on track soon. I love Scrivener by the way and hope to buy the app also for my phone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not enough people take the time to organize themselves to be more productive. I haven’t tried Scrivener yet but I have heard fantastic things, I like how you’ve utilized their folders to put all your notes together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know how you and other writers who work full-time at other jobs can accomplish so much with your writing. I can see where tools and apps are necessary to take advantage of the little writing time you get. I took early retirement ten years ago from a stressful career and now focus much of my time on writing Still, life events and other activities often take priority, and I need to be organized. Your tips are relevant to me, as well. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I need to take a leaf out of your book, squeezing writing into my lunch hour would make such a huge difference to my productivity if I could get into the habit, I just always think it’ll take too long to get my head in the game, but I love your idea to write different snippets and file them under the relevant section. I’d love to try Scrivener, I might have to take the leap soon! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There is no such thing as too organized. That said, my intentions are always pure, but I fail. Oh, how I fail.
    Having a plan is the key to success. Each day I write down what I want to do and put a minimum time limit on the task. It makes success easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That app sounds very handy.
    Usually I adopt 1 of 3 models for the day.
    One option is to start the day with a writing session (which is great if you’re working on something particularly challenging, like revising or writing a rough draft.)
    The second is at the end of the day, before I relax and head to bed (which can be nice because there’s nothing else afterwards, though I can be quite drained by the time that point arrives.)
    The third can be a bit of an “alternating” system (if I’m at home and not working my day job). I’ll do an errand, or exercise, and then put in at least an equal amount of time into writing.

    I like these methods because they don’t include a premise of “working on writing at a specific time”, so there’s room for things to take too long (which happens more often than I like).

    Another technique I like to look at is a week long chart.
    Each week I’ll look at my schedule and decide “Can I afford to put in 1.5-2 hours each week day? Is there 1 day that needs to be writing free (due to other tasks)? Are there any days where I feel confident I could put in 3 or more hours into writing? Or is this a week as a whole unusually busy?”
    That kind of week long perspective gives me room to recognize whether my writing goals are realistic, and loosely shuffle my weekly writing quota (currently trying for 10 hours), to accomodate the unique characteristics of the week in question.

    I also have a separate “Writing To Do List”, and I will populate days of the week with different tasks, but I keep those separate, with the weekly chart emphasizing different types of writing work (Networking, Rough Drafts & Revisions, Book Reviews, Writing Studies), ensuring that I don’t focus too heavily on different aspects of networking, and not give “story writing” its due.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Drew!
    Getting organized–or at least my working time organized–is something I truly struggle with. I keep telling my husband we need to get better phones so I can use these “apps” to help me organize. At this time, I’m a book and laptop computer-type of worker. May I say, you’re truly an inspiration with all you do and all you achieve. All best to you!
    http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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