I know the Secret to writing productivity

By Ruth Barringham

I was thinking this morning about how different my life was 19 years ago

We had just moved into a 4-storey house that had a basement at the bottom and two bedrooms and an ensuite bathroom in the renovated loft.

Back then we had 2 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 chickens and 2 rabbits and I used to look after them all including walking the dogs every day and making sure the rabbits and chickens had a clean and dry place to live.

I also had a job working in a petrol station and I had a cleaning job that I did for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week cleaning some local offices.

And despite all this I also managed to cook meals from scratch, mow the lawn once a week, and knit and sew clothes for the kids and myself.

And if that’s still not enough, it was also during this time that I sold my first story to a national magazine, so I must have been busy writing then as well.

And looking back, I think to myself, how did I manage to do all that?

I used to keep the house spotless too (and I still do) and do all the washing and ironing.

How did I do so much and not feel exhausted?

I thought about it some more and I realized that It was because I was organised.

Every day I knew exactly what needed to be done. I knew where I needed to be and at what time. And I did it. I even remember taking my daughter to the local church coffee morning once a week where she’d sit and scoff down a drink and a big, iced cup cake. She was very young then and thoroughly enjoyed going to the coffee mornings (which were really cheap too).

And I realised that being organised is probably the ‘secret’ to productivity. Knowing what you have to do, and doing it.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But as a writer, without the pressure of deadlines, it’s not so easy.

You see, back then, I had a husband who worked long hours and who always came home for dinner every day so it had to be ready on time, and if I had to go to work, I’d prepare dinner and leave cooking instructions like, “It’s all in the oven. Just turn it on for 35 minutes.”

I also had my cleaning job to go to every morning, or the previous evening if I had an early shift at the petrol station, so I had to organise and work around those schedules too.

And if my daughter went to daycare because I had an early shift, she’d be there all day and I’d use the free time when I got home in the early afternoon to get some writing done while the house was quiet.

So what happened to that energetic and organised person I used to be? And why is it that I don’t do nearly as much writing as I used to even though I have no other big obligations?

What I’ve realised is that I need to get back to being that energised and well-organised person I used to be so that I can write more and earn more.

But first I need to organise my writing schedule, because I’ve let it slip too much over the last couple of years, which hasn’t been helped by my husband retiring early (had to rearrange my daily routine around that) and all the months of house renovations we lived through last year.

But now everything has settled down again, so it’s time for me to lift my game and stop making excuses for not writing enough.

I’ve also been making a whole lot of excuses for not knitting, sewing and working in the garden much either. And we have a big garden that really needs a lot of work doing on it.

So it’s time to change everything and get back to being the person I was, because I’m not happy with this new lazy person I’ve become who has an excuse for never doing much of anything any more.

Bring on productivity, writing lots of books, licking the house back into shape now that the builders have gone, doing all the sewing projects that have been piling up and getting back into the garden and gaining control of the weeds again.

I now have no kids at home, no pets and so definitely no excuses.

And I’ve already made a start on my mission to become the high-earning writer I used to be.

So watch this space…

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