Increasing Writing Productivity by Managing Your Online Activity

I had the following email exchange with a colleague this morning.
8:59 am   Friend: I am locked in a library all weekend doing research and writing.  Text or email if you need anything.  I can be in the office in 15 minutes if anything big arises.
9:01 am  Me: Happy Writing!
9:09 am  Friend: writer's block sucks!  looming deadlines suck more!! 
9:55 am   Me:  Be willing to write crap.  Then you can mold the crap into something useful during the editing process.   “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”—Margaret Attwood. 
9:59 am Friend: true, wise words.  i always have to remind myself that the search for brilliance is the enemy of finishing!  thanks for the support! 
10:01 am   Me: The other bit of advice I give writers--shut off your email and internet unless you need it for research during your writing time.  This is my last response to you today!
We easily could have kept the banter going. More emails would have seemed like short breaks from our work, but the truth is it would have been non-productive interruptions for both of us. As writer, how many times do we sit down at the computer and the first thing we do is open our email and check social media.  If you start your writing session by checking emails or commenting on Facebook, an hour or more can slip away before you write one word. This pre-writing routine can seriously decrease your writing productivity.

Blogger Michael Stelzner suggests tracking how you use your time to increase your productivity.  One way to do that is use productivity tracker software.  RescueTime offers apps and software to help track your computer use.  A free 14 day free trial service is available on their website.  Knowing how you spend your computer time will help you make changes and increase your writing productivity.

How do you maximize your writing time?  I love to hear what's worked for you.

Oh and one more thing..I might send just one email tomorrow morning to check on my friend locked up in the library with her computer. 

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life coach. For more information check out:  


Karen Cioffi said...

Mary Jo, great tip on managing your writing time. This goes for marketing also. The internet and emails can be time drainers. Monitoring your time is a great way to know exactly how you're spending your time.

I had a time management software at one point, but did away with it. Forgot the name of it now. Might be a good idea to try one again.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Nice one Mary Jo, And you seem to have saved me some writing time too... :-)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Love the example. We can spend more time complaining about the time we spend online than on doing something productive. I think it's a function of being lonely writers sitting behind a screen. I think it helps to get out to lunch with writers (or someone else) at least once a week. Ha! And promise to keep the topic on something more productive.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Multi Award-Winning Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers including the second editions of the Frugal Book Promoter ( and The Frugal Editor ( )The latter is e-book only.for the time being.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks Mary Jo. Yes, social media (including cellphone texting) can suck up our time. I have often been horrified when I've looked at my watch and realised the 10 minutes I allocated has turned into and hour and 10!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Karen, If you remember the name of the software, let me know. I'm always interested in checking out diferent productivity software.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Carolyn, I agree; writing can be lonely. I had a friend who was writing a thesis and having trouble staying on task. We agreed to meet every Thursday morning at a coffee shop. We'd get coffee, visit for 20 or 30 minutes and then write for 3 hours. We both found we productive on Thursday mornings.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Shirley, I too am amazed at how time is sucked away. I find setting a timer also helps.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Happy writing Annie!

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