The experiment: Day 2

By Katharine Swan On Friday, July 17, 2009 At 11:58 AM

Yesterday was another successful day in my experiment in productivity. Not as successful as Day 1 if you look at just the paid work, I'm afraid, but largely successful if you look at everything else I accomplished.

I started out the day by checking personal email, Facebook, etc. I tried getting right to work, but found that I just couldn't wrap my brain around it right off the bat. However, I kept my piddling around to under an hour, so it all worked out all right.

Then I got to work. I worked for about two and a half hours total, with a slightly lower productivity than Day 1, but still making more than half my daily goal in those two and a half hours. Not bad!

After that I went to the barn — and this is what killed my earning potential for the day. But I can't regret it, because truly, this is one of the biggest reasons why I love freelancing: because it gives me the flexibility to spend time with my horse. If I can't allow myself to enjoy that, then what is the point?

Michael had evening plans with a friend, so after he left I worked some more. First I spent about two hours updating various blogs, and then I worked for almost another hour. My productivity in that last 45 minutes matched what it was on Day 1, which pleased me.

I promised an explanation of how I'm achieving this giant leap in productivity. I'm doing two things, really: applying sheer willpower, and using a technique I'd read about in a newsletter months ago.

The technique was suggested in an issue of Steve Slaunwhite's For Copywriters Only newsletter some time back. Basically, he pointed out the phenomenon of how productive we tend to be in meetings, when we are forced to focus intensely for a short period of time. He suggested applying the same focus in your regular work, but for short bursts (45 minutes or an hour), allowing yourself to take little breaks (email, checking blogs, whatever) in between.

So that's what I've been doing. I've had a lot of work the last couple of days that is very easy to break up into short focus sessions — blog posts, marketing articles, etc. I haven't even been letting myself respond to emails until I've finished that focus session.

So far, it's working beautifully. I'll keep you posted as to whether it continues to do so.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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