1. Organize your notes. Put everything in its place at the end of the day. Clear off your desk and return every file and document. This accomplishes two things: 1) The reference material you’ve used will be exactly where it should be the next time you need it and… 2) You’ll begin each day with a clean slate and a fresh new start. If you’re used to working with a cluttered desk, try this approach for one month. You may be surprised by the ease in which you get started on new tasks.
2. Gather all essentials before you start. This usually includes all notes, reference material, and other research tools. Collect what you need first. Once you get started, it’s easier to press on without taking additional breaks that would only hinder your productivity.
3. Avoid the temptation to stack documents and notes on your desk. File these away after labelling, so you know exactly where each resource can be found when you need it the next time. This helps to minimize the number of times you handle each document and keeps your work area clear.
4. Group all your important project records together including your to-do list. This enables you to keep a permanent record and avoid making notes on envelopes or small shreds of paper. Use your planner/notebook for all documentation and keep one list for each major project.
5. Create an effective filing system. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing you have reference materials you need… and not being able to locate them. One way of adding efficiency to filing is to create an index page and place it at the front of each file drawer. Categories can be numbered or listed alphabetically. As you add a new file to any drawer, note it on the appropriate index page. Place every document in its rightful place and you’ll know where it is whenever you need to refer to it.
6. Maintain a sound mind and healthy body. Good physical health and emotional well-being is essential to the productive writer. Making the most of your writing time means maintaining good health and a positive, upbeat attitude. Without your health, everything else is irrelevant. Being in good physical condition gives you more stamina and endurance to perform the various tasks associated with writing. You’ll maintain a sharper edge, be more alert and experience less stress.
7. Exercise on a regular basis and you’ll find that you work more efficiently over longer periods of time. Regular physical activity of any kind can help you feel more vibrant and alive. Take a brisk walk between writing sessions and you’ll come back stronger and more energized, with a clear and creative mind – perfect for getting organized and into high gear. Be sure to allow adequate rest after any physical exertion. That’s how the body rebuilds and strengthens itself.
For Part Two, click here.
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