Are You an Organized Writer?

When people ask me how I manage to get so much done each day I tell them the secret is organization. When you’re organized you don’t waste time trying to find things because you know where everything is. This can take a bit of patience and effort at first. But it will be worth it in the long run. So, spend some time today getting organized. You may want to do that before you sign off for the day. Or you may want to take a few minutes before you start. I tend to get organized in the evening before I leave my desk. That way, when I come back to my desk the next day, I am all ready to get to work. That might mean organizing your computer files into folders. This is easy to do, and it can keep you organized. For example, I keep online “project folders” for each of my writing projects. That way I can keep everything that is related to one manuscript in one folder. Then, when I want to work on a particular writing project, all I have to do is open that folder. This can save time, energy, and the need to browse and do things that are unnecessary to the task at hand. Getting organized might also mean creating a writing schedule for yourself, then using a planner to keep track of this schedule. This will help to take the guess work out of your writing time. Once you start, you will know exactly what to do. You may want to use a big white dry eraser board and a daily planner for this. Or you may want to write your goals down in your desk planner and schedule your writing time in it. Do whatever works for you. If you don’t know what works for you, experiment a bit. Getting organized might also mean scheduling time for reading and responding to emails and posting on Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, be sure to schedule these times apart from your writing time. If you spend too much time on these types of activities, you may want to set a timer for 20 minutes, when the timer goes off, you’ll know it’s time to stop reading emails or posting on Facebook and other social media sites. Which brings me to the last way to get organized and that is to use a Pomodoro timer to keep you focused. Two hours is divided into four segments of 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between. At the end of the two hours, you can take a longer break. Then you can decide to either come back for another round of 2 hours or stop for the day. Become an organized writer and you’ll be a more productive writer, too. And it isn’t all that hard to do. It simply requires that you take some concrete steps to be more mindful of how you work and what works best for you. It can take some tweaking. But it is more than worth it. Try it!