Creating Productive Routines

With deadlines, assignments, job hunts, and internships looming, a lot of us are faced with what feels like an insurmountable amount of now. Sometimes the workload can be paralyzing, but everyone has their own ways of making it through. Nevertheless, we’re often faced with the following questions: How do I get it all done? How do I make myself write? In that vein, I’ve compiled a few tips for creating or maintaining productive routines to better face the trials of working in publishing.

  • Identify when you’re most productive. It’s okay to play to your strengths. For some that means working at 7:00 a.m., while for others it means working at midnight. Finding the time of day when you feel most able to comfortably and steadily work allows you to create an ideal schedule to make those stressful weeks feel a little more planned. Of course, this comes with the caveat that not all work, school, or life situations allow people to study and write when they need to; therefore, adapting to your circumstances is kind of a must in those difficult times.
  • Know your work environments. There’s a reason why so many people take laptops, journals, and novels to coffee shops and libraries. Sure, the draw of coffee, instagrammable tabletops, and available Wi-Fi are solid contributors, but there’s also the fact that public places can keep you from being distracted by the piles of “home needs” that are waiting in personal offices and rooms. For some people, the presence of others can provide inspiration to contribute to the productive vibe of a place. On the other hand, this may be an anxiety-causing situation for those who find solace and energy in solitude. For some, a productive environment means sitting at a desk with a cat on the keyboard, or alternatively, hiding from said cat in the vacuum closet. There are a multitude of places that make good work environments, so the next time you’re feeling highly productive, pay attention to your surroundings and see how they affect you. Re-creating those settings can become one more tool for making yourself feel ready to work.
  • Resist your fidgets and negative impulses. Knowing what causes you to become distracted, to fidget, or to procrastinate can help you anticipate these things and avoid them. For instance, I cannot work in silence. For me, silence leads to scattered thoughts and wasted time. Over time, I’ve learned I always do my best work when listening to music because it tethers my other senses and allows me to focus my thoughts on the work in front of me. This has also given me a loophole to exploit when I know I have to write at night (which goes against my early-worm tendencies) and need to get into the work mindset.
  • Keep your resources close by. Work within publishing relies on various resources. For instance, publicity and marketing work requires a knowledge of a project’s brand, keywords, and contact lists. Editing often necessitates style guides, publisher resources, and reference books. Keeping the items you need close at hand will help with organization and optimize desk time.

Establishing productive routines might not sound exciting, but it can help you deal with those pressing deadlines and heavy workloads.

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