Establishing Productivity

What I’m about to say next might surprise some people, considering my track record in writing and publishing, and the fact that I’ve completed all by my thesis in a masters programme, but I struggle with productivity.

More often than not, I can’t force myself to just pick up any old project at a random point in the day and just start working on it. That never ends well. Usually because it never even begins. I don’t do well with non-specific goals and deadlines. I either completely avoid the work, or I can’t focus on it entirely because I haven’t placed any importance upon it.

On Monday morning, I decided that I needed to address that issue properly. I had woken up earlier than planned, and I had set myself a goal to record a video for my YouTube channel. That was it. And I couldn’t even make myself do that.

So, I took out some coloured post-its, and on each one wrote down goals for the day based around different topics. One was for a book. One for some video production. One for an event. The fourth was for my thesis group. When I had all four stuck up on my wall, I took out some record cards – four again.

This time, I wrote goals for the whole summer on one, and weekly goals on the other three.  I made sure to cover as many different aspects of my life as I could into each one. I want to work on my writing career as well as my multimedia work. The end result?

You’re looking at it. Part of this week’s goals was to maintain a schedule for blogging and vlogging. Last Tuesday, a video. This Tuesday, a video. Last Thursday, a blog post. This Thursday – today… well, you get the point.

As well as beating my video production goals for a voluntary project (finishing up on Monday night, instead of Wednesday night), I managed to clear up my schedule to work on a book and a website for a couple of evenings this week – and that’s before we even hit the weekend.

For me, aimless productivity is a nightmare. But manageable to-do lists? They’re my keys to establishing a sense of productivity in my life that I can maintain more easily.

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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