How to Make the Most of Your Writing Time: #3 Identify Distractions


When you know what you need to do and you have your priorities straight, your next step is to identify distractions. Take note of what keeps your from writing, and in particular if there are lower priorities on your list that obstruct you from the higher priorities and more time-sensitive tasks.

Distractions are not necessary bad things and a distraction in one context may become your highest priority in another. So these aren’t black and white matters. However, when you’ve staked out a time to write, take note of how the following impact your ability to stay in the zone:

Reading blogs and articles: Stay current with your field, but avoid irrelevant articles. Also choose your worst writing time to read and comments on blogs and articles such as the afternoon.

E-mail: Checking e-mail can be gratifying and addicting. Don’t check your e-mail more than four times a day unless there is something potentially life-changing you’re waiting for. Most experts on technology say that two checks in a day is the absolute maximum we need. I’m still working on that one!

Social Media: use your afternoons and possibly evenings to keep in touch on social media and to post updates. Limit your time on social media to no more than three or four 10-15-minute checks per day. If you can’t keep it to a 45 minute chunk of your day, then you may have a problem. Allow more time for special promotions or important comment threads.

Chores: We all have responsibilities in our homes and with our family. Take care of chores in the afternoon, evening, or during the weekend rather than during your best writing times.

People: If you know that people at certain writing locations will interrupt you, then plan your best writing times around locations that will give you the maximum privacy. This may be a home office or a crowded café. I personally enjoy running into people at the local cafe, but I know that some writers crave solitude and freedom from interruptions.