What is your productivity secret?

Photo courtesy of Bill Bradford (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Bill Bradford (Creative Commons)

Do you have an inspiration spot? With what do you surround yourself when you want to be creative or productive?

I have learned to write anywhere, whether it’s pecking away on my Kindle Fire in a waiting room at a doctor’s office or longhand in my portfolio waiting on a meeting to start at work.  I capture ideas on a run using the voice feature on my phone or on the porch by typing a quick note in Evernote.

But my favorite, most prolific spot for good old-fashioned writing is at my desk in the early morning, blank Word doc in front of me, my coffee cup filled, lavender candle scenting the space, and one of my cats curled up beside me. The rest of the world is still asleep, nothing else is clamoring for my attention, and it feels like time stands still.

I put my fingers on those home keys, and let them rip! I am blessed and amazed at what flows out, and fascinated by a blog post that basically writes itself. There’s a feeling of relief that the words could come out, as if I have heaved a great sigh, and released the pent-up pressure of containing them.

It doesn’t happen quite that way every day, but I do find that if I’m set in my spot, I write. And because that is all I am focused on accomplishing during that time, if I know I need to finish a post, I just do it. Simple as that.

It’s like when I put on my running clothes and my body and brain know it’s time to go run, I get set in my writing space, and my brain knows it’s time to write.

So how can I transfer that wonderful trigger effect to other areas of my life? And how can I finish other things like I do a post?

As I struggle with productivity at work, on projects and at home, I realize that I don’t have triggers as clean and simple as my writing space and time. And I tend to start more than I finish.

At work, I tend to create stacks, and with each interruption, I start a new stack. Hard to be productive in that environment.

With other projects at home, again, I start and stop and have several things going.

So, this week I will focus on two things:

  • Creating a work space – instead of the multiple stacks on my desk, I will put out only that on which I am currently working, and clear the rest of the space. I will put out my tools, including a blank pad on which to capture any stray ideas or tasks that come to mind, my laptop (including my ear buds to listen to music to keep me focused), and the material for the project on which I am working. I will also open only those apps or tabs on the computer which pertain to the current project. And turn off email and social media notifications so I won’t be distracted.
  • Work on one project at a time – this is going to be the difficult part, but I will work on the one project only until I either finish or reach a good stopping point, and then will put that material away and start the next project. If I am interrupted or asked to take care of something else, I will make a note of it on the notepad so I can do that next – when I have finished the current project.

In writing this, I’m realizing that that notepad is going to be my most helpful tool, because I can make notes about what else I need to take care of so I don’t forget, but can continue working on what I have started without confusing things by starting something else.

This is my plan for the week, but I’m curious how do you create your own productive work space?