As some of you know, while I write and edit, I’ve also been busy trying to get a rug hooking business (High on Hooking) up and running. Like writing, the hooking is a passion. And it’s something I can do at night while I catch up on Downton Abbey, Homeland, House Hunters International, and a couple of other shows I shall not mention.
As with writing, I subscribe to several hooking-related newsletters, blogs, and Facebook pages on any number of subjects: basic art, the various fiber arts, textile restoration, and so on. Today I subscribed to a new site, handmadeology.com. Its main purpose is to help artists sell their work online, but they seem to provide info and advice regarding creativity too. One blog post struck a chord in me as a writer. It was written by Lisa Jacobs and is titled “7 Productivity Pitfalls You Need to Avoid.” Tell me if a few of the pitfalls sound familiar.
- The first deals with wasting our valuable time online. Yep, Facebook, answering e-mail, surfing, and such. Recently, I spent 5-10 minutes on snopes.com making sure that a friend’s Facebook post was fake. Then I had to gently tell her that she shouldn’t share crap that someone’s made up. I could’ve written in my journal during that time, made up my own fictional story, or read the slush pile for Fifth Wednesday!
- Then there’s the problem of starting a new project without finishing up one or eight others that one’s let languish. Sometimes I’ll write a story then hit a snag with the plot, let’s say. I tell myself, self, give it a day and go back to it. But I don’t. I get distracted by something else. It’s one thing if that distraction is a paying job for a client; it’s another thing completely if it’s a funny video on YouTube (see #1 above) or a whole new story or three. Let’s just say there’s no shortage of started-but-never-finished story files on my laptop.
- Ms. Jacobs talks about #2 above turning into clutter. Productivity-prohibitive clutter comes in many shapes: all those files on my laptop; piles of file-folders on my desk and chairs because I didn’t bother to put them away when I last used them; and Polished Paragraph’s financial papers I haven’t even dealt with yet. Now add High on Hooking’s “stuff” to the mix, and, finally, I have to stop and clean everything up before I can work on anything.
- How about when you know you should start writing a blog post to help promote your business or your cause, but you tell yourself, self, maybe we should do some more research – even though you’ve got way more than enough. Or, if you work at home, how often have you noticed that the carpet desperately needs vacuuming right now or that your daughter’s jeans need washing right now? That, my friends, is called stalling, AKA procrastination. You will NOT get that time back. Ever.
Ms. Jacobs mentions a few other pitfalls that suck away our productivity and creativity. I urge you to read her article and maybe a couple of others she mentions.
What’s your favorite method of wasting time or otherwise inhibiting your own output or efficiency?