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7 Simple Ways to Write More Efficiently & Boost Your Productivity

Here are 7 astonishingly simple tricks you need to write more productively.


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Paul Patterson

3 years ago | 4 min read

At some point in every writer’s career, they will stare at a blank page — for what feels like an eternity — simply unable to put anything down on paper. This can be a hair-pulling, project-thwarting roadblock, but don’t worry, I’m here to help.

Whether you’re stuck in a rut or you just want to make your writing more smooth and efficient, there are a few simple yet important adjustments you can make to help you do just that.

Here are 7 astonishingly simple tricks you need to write more productively.

Remove All Distractions

From a phone call to an email and from a loud bang to an unexpected office visitor, we live in a world full of distractions. In order to write more productively, it’s important that we minimize these distractions.

An easy, effective way to eliminate most distractions is to simply take your phone, turn off notifications, and put it away somewhere — like in a desk drawer. Additionally, turning off email notifications and closing any unnecessary tabs will reduce even more frivolous distractions.

We face more than just digital distractions, though. If you work in an office, let everyone know that you’ll be writing during a specific period of time and can’t be disturbed… for any reason. You can even try posting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office door.

Finally, if there’s distracting noise outside your workspace — like people talking or worse, construction — I always find it helpful to put on my headphones and listen to some good instrumental music or some tunes in a language that I don’t understand.

I’d highly recommend the Focus Flow playlist on Spotify.

Have Water & Snacks Nearby

If you’re at all like me, you’ll find yourself getting hungry or thirsty at the most inopportune times.

By having a snack and beverage of your choice within arm’s reach, you can satisfy your cravings without breaking your concentration. The best drinks to have are water, coffee, or tea. Each can boost your focus without filling your body with an inordinate amount of caffeine and harmful chemicals.

And, please, go to the bathroom before you start writing.

Prepare Your Space

In cooking, it’s called mise en place which is French for “everything in its place.” Mise en place is a concept that isn’t just exclusive to cooking; it plays an important role in writing as well.

Having your document open, creative brief within view, and all of your reference materials neatly organized will help you maintain focus as well as work more efficiently. Rifling through stacks of disorganized papers forces you to shift your focus and eat up quite a bit of time.

Setting all of your tools and materials in place before you start writing will keep you focused and working as productively as possible.

Start with a Loose Plan

A blank page can be intimidating, but there’s a very simple solution: don’t start with a blank page.

Outlining is one of the most powerful tools for getting the writing juices flowing. A brief outline can help trigger ideas and boost your ability to develop insightful, cohesive pieces.

There are several different approaches to creating an outline. From keywords to nearly complete templates, there are about as many ways to outline as there are things to write about.

The ‘best’ outline is the one that works for you and your project, and the only way to find that outline is to experiment with different outlining styles.

Time Yourself

It’s way too easy to just sit in front of the computer — or sheet of paper if you prefer analog writing — and not write anything. Setting a timer can help to alleviate this issue.

By introducing a timer, you’re also introducing a deadline. This impending deadline will give you just enough healthy anxiety to get you writing.

You can set your timer for 20 minutes, 2 hours, or any amount of time that works for you. Then in between bouts of writing, you can take a break — also for a specified amount of time — and allow your mind and body to recover.

Once the break is over, you can begin again on a new round of writing with a fresh, ready-to-write mind.

Put All of Your Thoughts Down

Especially during the early stages, focus on getting all of your thoughts written down. Don’t worry about grammar just yet; you can even disregard complete coherence for now because all that matters is creating material.

Constantly backtracking to correct grammar and modify style can significantly impede your ability to produce great ideas. You can always make changes later on, so in early drafts, you should give yourself the space to be creative and allow your ideas to flow.

Edit & Proofread Separately

Although the two terms are often used synonymously, editing and proofreading are two very different tasks.

While editing focuses primarily on style, cohesion, and the art of writing, proofreading looks exclusively at grammar, punctuation, and the science of writing.

Both editing and proofreading are vital in producing a stellar finished product, but each requires a different mindset to do properly.

If you want to edit and proofread more efficiently, do them separately. This will allow you to solely focus on the style alone when editing and completely on grammar when proofreading.

Start Writing More Efficiently Today

Writing comes with plenty of challenges, and overcoming those challenges is part of what makes writing so rewarding. However, when challenges indefinitely hold up projects, it can make a lot of writers just want to give up.

By using these 7 straightforward tactics, you can dramatically improve your efficiency when writing and work through projects faster. Happy writing.

This article was originally published by Paul patterson on medium.

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Paul Patterson

Content Creator | Lifelong Learner | Health & Wellness Enthusiast


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