Top 5 Ways to Conquer Productivity Suck

Oh internets, you are so full of glorious websites to waste my time. Never mind email, Facebook and Twitter, I've been known to scroll through dozens of pages of I Can Haz Cheezburger, watch entire seasons of British comedy shows on YouTube--all when I should have been writing. Broaden my horizons to include the entire YA blogging world, and I can distract myself for hours--without having to do any writing at all! 

The trouble is, books don't get written that way. So I've created a Top Five list of ways to conquer productivity suck for writers. 


5. SimplyNoise. I get super distracted by noises around me, so this website has helped quite a bit. It's a free website that plays an endless loop of noise-canceling static. You can choose between white noise, pink noise, and brown noise. My personal favorite is brown noise on the oscillator--it reminds me of the ocean.  

4. Get out of the house. This has helped me immensely. My house is too full of things to distract me (should I write this scene I've been avoiding, or make peanut butter toast? Hmm...). I get a lot of writing done in libraries and coffee shops (here's a tip about libraries--my local public libraries are really active and small and I love them for it. But it can be hard to find a quiet place to work. I've found that university libraries are the quietest ones. They also don't have racks and racks of delicious YA and children's books in pretty displays to distract me. I don't attend a university, but I frequently go to a nearby university library to write). I used to feel pretentious going to coffee shops to write, but they can be really great. Plus--coffee and pastries! There's a motivator right there.

My favorite coffee shop to write in. Yes, it's shaped like a British telephone box. 

3. This song. It puts me in writer mode almost immediately. 


2. Goal setting. I usually set a word count goal for a certain period of time (get to 20,000 words by February 10, for example). I work much more productively when I have an immediate goal. I think this also takes writing a book out of the realm of the "someday" and puts it in the realm of the immediate and accomplishable. When I set a goal, I very rarely fail to reach it. When I don't set a goal, I very frequently spend whole days perusing websites with funny pictures of cats. 


1. And the #1 cure for productivity suck is...Magic Work Cycle. This website allows you to work for 30 minutes, after which a pleasant bell tolls, setting up 30 minutes of play. I had this bookmarked for a while without trying it because I wasn't sure it would do very much. I finally tried it and, wow, it works (the first day I tried it, I wrote 4000 words. That's...a lot of words). It's in the same vein as a word war (in which you compete with others, often on Twitter, to see who can write the most in an hour). Something about knowing you can goof off at the end of the 30 minutes is great for the writer psyche. Just try it once--I bet you'll be amazed at how much you get done in 30 distraction-free minutes. 

What are your methods for conquering productivity suck?