Author of Urban Fantasy and Horror

Staying Productive

There are so many distractions in the world today. And there are so many new distractions that authors didn’t have to think about 15 - 20 years ago. Things like:

  • Super-duper Cable TV (there are about 100 new channels that didn’t exist before)
  • Smart Phones
  • Social Media
  • Games on Smart Phones
  • Kindles/Nooks/Ereaders

I could go on, but I think you know where I’m going with this. Technology is wonderful! I love it. Sometimes, though, technology makes it hard to focus on getting my book written. It’s too easy to check Facebook, play a game on the smart phone, see what’s on HBO. To be productive, I’ve found that I’ve had to change the way I live my life. Some of the changes seemed like they’d be hard, but once I’d made the change, they weren’t that big of a deal. Plus, getting to the end of the day and feeling satisfied by what I’ve accomplished is way better than beating myself up for all the time I wasted.

Some of the things that I’ve done are:

  • GET RID OF CABLE - That seems drastic, but it was necessary for me. Though, to be honest, I had two reasons to get rid of cable. Reduce my household expenses and limit my distractions. I now use Netflix and Hulu. I watch about an hour to an hour and forty-five minutes of television a day. I watch a bit when I eat lunch in the afternoon, then again after 11, after I’ve accomplished my goals for the day (or at least most of my goals).


Having Netflix and Hulu keeps me from getting sucked into shows the way I would when I had cable TV. I was a Hallmark Channel junkie and loved all of their mystery programs. I’d tell myself I was only going to watch one program, but the commercials for the upcoming show would be so enticing that I’d then tell myself I was only going to watch the first five minutes of the next show. Five minutes turned into two hours, and bam! I’ve wasted four hours of my day in front of the television.


Now, I use those four hours efficiently.


  • NO PHONE CALLS – This may also seem drastic, but when I looked at the time I was spending on the phone during the day I was surprised. A forty-five minute call here, a thirty minute call there; all that is time I’m not being productive. Also, as a writer, every time I stop writing to do something else, I’m leaving the world of my story. It’s usually hard for me to find my rhythm every day, so when I find it, I don’t like to lose it. Nothing will jar that rhythm faster than a phone call.


Initially I worried that people would be offended that I wasn’t taking their calls, but most people are not:

  1. They understand that I’m working
  2. I always call them back when I’m taking a break
  3. If it’s an emergency (signified by repeated phone calls, a voicemail, or text message) I take the call

As for games, I don’t play them that much, so that’s never been a problem for me.

I’m only on my Kindle to do research, so every time I use it, I’m being productive.

I still have an issue checking Facebook throughout the day, but so far, I’ve managed to keep up a good production schedule.

BREAKS - I take breaks throughout the day and on the weekends. During the week I take a break in the afternoon to eat and get outside to exercise. On the weekends I try not to think so much about books and focus on other things. Right now I’m thinking about the vegetables and herbs I want to grow this year.

I also try to do something fun on the weekends so I can be fresh by the time Monday rolls around. This weekend I’ll be at Brew Madness!!!

Productivity isn’t a problem for everyone. But if it is a problem for you, you may want to take a closer look at how you’re spending your time and what things can be cut out of your day.

Happy Reading!

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