As the only employee of Innovative Editing, I’m chief executive editor, assistant editor and editorial assistant all in one.
That means I’m not only editing clients’ novel manuscripts or writing up their business copy. I’m also:
Writing every single blog post (six per week) that goes up on The Genuine Writer blog
Composing and scheduling the weekly Genuine Writer e-letter
Handling all my social media accounts
Responding to every single email sent
Doing my own marketing.
And that list clearly doesn’t include making time to research, write, edit and publish the novels I create on the side.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love my job from start to finish. But I will admit that the whole thing is exceptionally time-consuming.
Especially the part about writing my own blog posts. Those can take far too long – no doubt in part because of the countless little distractions tempting me at every turn.
Before you judge me too much on that last statement, let me admit that I deserve to be judged. And then let me point out that, more than likely, you’re in the same exact boat.
Need me to rock it a bit to jog your memory? How many times during the writing workday do you find yourself:
Scrolling through your non-work-related Facebook feed
Checking your personal email
Playing a quick game (A quick one. That’s it. It’ll take five minutes. Promise.)
Putting on Shark Tank in the background – just as a white noise alternative. You can concentrate on your writing despite all those fascinating business interactions in front of you. And you totally won’t be distracted fantasizing about what could happen if you went on the show.
Yet – despite your most fervent protestations – writing the blog posts you need to write ends up taking twice the time it should have.
Believe it or not, that isn't necessarily because of the distractions themselves. It’s because you’re not efficient about them.
You know the saying “Just sleep on it”? As if going to sleep will solve all your problems.
There’s actual and significant scientific research that shows that, yes, it truly can. Don’t ask me for all the details in this short blog post. That would take up more time than I’ve got, and I do have a Shark Tank episode to get back to.
Lucky for you, however, Psychology Today featured a post on the subject two years ago.
It’s called “How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain? 5 Surprising Answers.” And here’s just a bit of what it has to say:
A “break” is a brief cessation of work, physical exertion, or activity. You decide to “give it a rest” with the intention of getting back to your task within a reasonable amount of time. But when you “give it a rest,” what part of your brain actually needs that break?
For “think-work” [like writing blog posts] it’s the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the thinking part of your brain, according to an eye-opening blog by author Nir Eyal… When you are doing goal-oriented work that requires concentration, the PFC keeps you focused on your goals. The PFC is also responsible for logical thinking, executive functioning, and using willpower to override impulses. That’s a lot of responsibility – no wonder it needs a break!
You can read the rest of the article right here if you’d like.
But even if you don’t, keep these two pointers in mind:
Know yourself and your writing (or other) project. Some distractions/breaks will work better for some people than others.
Set a time limit. Then stick to it. Unless you’ve got the best excuse ever, play that five-minute game, get up and move for 10 minutes, or talk to a friend for 15. Then get back to work.
When you do, you might just find yourself saving time while writing stronger, more engaging blog posts. Now that's efficient.