Last month I was feeling really frustrated about my levels of productivity. Everything took longer than expected; I was so distracted. I’d spend ages ruminating on my frustration rather than being constructive. So I was thrilled to discover a simple trick to help me focus better. You might find it helpful too. At the end of each day, I ask myself 3 questions – and I write down the answers to help me get clarity and improve productivity.
Three Questions to Improve Productivity
What went well today?
What didn’t go so well?
What can I do differently?
These 3 simple questions are very effective for 3 reasons: –
- They help you remember your successes. We need to cheer ourselves on, even when we’ve had very modest successes, as that gives us the motivation and encouragement to continue. The more consistent we are, the more likely we are to make progress in the long run.
- They stop us from ruminating on our frustration and instead make us focus on the facts.
- They challenge us to come up with specific ideas to do things differently next time.
How these 3 questions helped me
My prime creative time was being wasted on admin – which could be pushed to the end of the day.
I spotted loopholes that my brain was conjuring up with frightening ease.
I said things like: “you’ve had a really productive morning writing, Katy, why not stop and get a few admin tasks done?”
I’d had a productive morning, I was feeling creatively fired up, so why not maximise that feeling to keep working creatively, and leave the draining admin till later?
I personally find admin tasks distracting. I never feel like going back to writing afterwards.
Also, I needed to buy a noticeboard to put above my desk, but it wasn’t urgent. However, these questions, reminded me that I’d said: “I’m going to treat myself to 5 minutes of research into noticeboards and then I’ll get straight back to work.”
Forty minutes later, I was still randomly scrolling through noticeboards online. All that choice was exhausting. Trying to make a decision drained me and I couldn’t get back to doing something creative.
Awareness is the first step toward change
Those 3 little questions helped me realise how carelessly I was letting my brain trick me into avoiding work. Now I ask these questions every day and little by little I become more productive.
Next time you’re going through an unproductive phase, why not give them a try and see how you get on.
By the way, if you have a writing-related question, get in touch as I might be able to offer a useful suggestion in a future email.
Just a reminder – if you’re struggling with your writing –
I offer coaching!
My focus is helping ambitious writers who are struggling to sit down and write (or sit down and sell their writing) – maybe because of self-doubt, a block – or simply good old fashioned procrastination. Whatever it is, I get writers writing (and selling).
If you’ve read all the books and taken all the classes, but still aren’t making the progress you want, take a look at my 3 one-to-one coaching packages. I’d love to help.