I noticed a bad habit the other day and realized it is rather costly to my productivity. No, it’s not just wasting time on the internet or any other act of procrastination. Rather, it is a bad habit involving poor perspective. But I think breaking this one bad habit could mean much to productivity as a writing in a serious way.
Want to guess what this bad habit is? It’s the simple comment to myself, “I don’t have enough time.” I noticed that between five and seven times a day I may have upwards of fifteen minutes when something else is pending that I literally give up the time to write, believing there’s no actual time to accomplish something productive. You want to know what I did when I realized this? I ignored myself and wrote just over 100 measly new words of fiction. That’s not much since I know I can sit down and write several thousand words in a day.
But then the math hit me square in the head. Let’s say you actually write six months out of a year – the other half dedicated to editing and/or the business of writing. Those one hundred measly words five times a day add up quickly. If I need 40,000 words over thirty days of writing that adds up to 15,000 words out of those forty, or 37.5% of the total. String that out over six months and it’s 90,000 words.
Let’s put that in perspective. It’s a whole book. It’s 18 short stories at an average of 5,000 words. If you average 1,000 words per blog post it’s 90 of them. Since most of my posts average around 500 words that’s actually about 180 posts or almost 70% of what I would post on my blog in a year (and I have a lot of back-logged ideas). That’s a lot of productivity over time.
Now, I’m not advocating that you or I frantically squeeze writing into every available second. I’m just observing how often I think I don’t have time when I actually do. I mean what am I doing with those spare fifteen minutes several times a day? Surfing the internet aimlessly?
Instead of fumbling useful time away I think I’d like to use it to be more productive – even if I don’t approach that full total part of it means I’m much further along with a number of projects. And what about actual spare time? I think I may find that I have more time for walks, reading, conversations, etc by being productive when it’s time to be productive.
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