Productivity & Environment

I’ve done a lot of writing over the past couple of days; 3500 odd words as part of some work I was doing for Siobhan, 1500 for a WPShout article that’s scheduled for tomorrow and another couple of hundred outlining my plans to overhaul local election campaigning (don’t worry, though – I won’t bore you with the detail!).

I know that I write at a rate of around 900 words per hour, and for every hour of writing, there’s another twenty minutes researching. That all very quickly adds up, and for me at least it’s natural to look at ways to increase one’s productivity. Even if I can become 10 or 20% more efficient, it makes a huge difference. Mentally I find it hard to write more than twice a day; I split into ‘morning’ and ‘afternoon’ schedule mode even though with the two-and-a-half or so hours I need per bit of writing, there’s time for three bits to be written.

So, what does one do to force productivity increases? A schedule helps for starters; I’m vastly more likely to get something done if I know I need to do it. Something I’ve found that makes a big help is having a work ‘environment’ where I can set myself up and get stuff done. I don’t have a laptop, so I don’t mean going to the local coffee shop like all the trendy people who also read The Guardian do; my work environment is more of a virtual one.

Regardless of where my writing is actually ending up, I do everything on a localhost WordPress install I’ve got set up. With WordPress’ brilliant distraction free mode (where it pops everything fullscreen and gets rid of all the menu bars when you’re typing) and a post editor stylesheet (the ones introduced in WP3.0), I’ve got myself a nice little writing area where I can focus on the content and get stuff done. I’d recommend it; you should give it a go.

One should note that obviously for stuff that ends up on Shout, I’ll copy it all over and make sure the line breaks and so on work out so that the copy’s all lined up nicely and it’s super-scannable. But you knew that, right? Right. I digress.

I pretty much always have music on when I’m working, and as you might expect, what I’m listening to makes a difference. I’ve taken to listening to a lot of ambient/film music recently, in particular the beautiful Minecraft soundtrack and Andrew Huang’s new record Magical BodyAlso of note is the Indie Game: The Movie Soundtrack. There’s a gaming theme going on here, but hey, as standalone pieces of music, they’re pretty damn brilliant.

I left this post for half an hour to get some food and I’ve completely lost my train of thought, so we’ll leave it there this week. Until next time, folks 🙂

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