My 5 Favourite Productivity Tools for Writing

I have often discussed with budding writers how a good portion of the writing life is staying organized and productive when we actually have time to write. If I let something interrupt my flow, I may not get it back again in the same sitting.

Time is a precious commodity these days, between helping my husband with his photography business, running a media company, and…right – motherhood. So, I thought I’d put together a quick post for you about the tools I use each and every day to keep me on track. The great thing about these tools is that most of them are useful in any field of work, so even if you’re not a writer, you can still benefit from incorporating them.

Google Docs

Gone are my days of endless files tucked away in folders on my hard drive. In many cases I have moved my projects on to Google Docs. My best advice is to get set up fully on Google (Gmail, Calendar, etc.) so that you can maximize all of these amazing tools from one account. Using Google Docs, I can share a document, work remotely on a project with a colleague and see them making changes, and in cases where I want them to “View” only, there are permission settings that allow for that.

Wunderlist 

This is a relatively new app that I’ve adopted and I’ve fallen in love. Wunderlist allows you to create categorized to-do lists, and it instantly synchronizes between your phone, tablet and laptop. I particularly love the pop-up desktop tool that allows you to quickly add a task. That way, you can get it off your mind and move on with your work. I also like the way you can share lists with colleagues or family members.

Google Calendar

I mentioned this tool already, and it has been my “go-to” for years. Ditch the paper agenda and go electronic to keep you on task and on time. Google Calendar allows you to set up both Tasks and Events, so that you can outline projects for each day and move them around as you need to. Set up reminders and alerts, colour code your events, and share your calendars with others.

Hootsuite 

I was an early adopter of Hootsuite, and have seen it continually improve. This is one of the best social media productivity tools on the market, and once you get to know how it works, you’ll never look back. I use this platform to monitor all of my professional Twitter feeds, including Lists and specific keywords or search terms. I want to stay active on social media, but can’t afford for it to eat up my writing time. This is the perfect answer.

Thesaurus.com 

This one could also be slotted simply under “writing tools”, but anything that saves time allows for more productivity. Not only has using a thesaurus helped me to overcome that feeling that I have a word on the tip of my tongue, but it has also helped me to expand my vocabulary! There are many tools out there, but I generally turn to Thesaurus.com. I like the way you can click through words to dig deeper into nuances and meanings, so that you can be sure to get the right one.

What are your favourite productivity tools?

Finding Routine (Yoga Challenge: Day 18)

It should not be challenging to get to your mat. The challenge should begin once you are on your mat.

This is something our instructor spoke about today after class as we were all discussing the benefits of this 30 day yoga challenge. He mentioned that one thing that people often learn with a challenge like this is that it is possible to make time in your day to go to yoga. It’s all just a matter of choice. I find it’s true – before, I would look at my week and see where I could fit a few classes in. Now I look at my week, a week in advance, and decide when I’ll go to yoga. I do this before my week fills up.

I’ve been wondering lately what kind of routine I’ll get into once this yoga challenge is over. While I’d love to have a six day practise, I’m not sure if it’s what’s best for me. I’m a (bit of a) perfectionist and if I set out to go six days and I end up doing four, I might be disappointed in myself. I know I’m better off setting my expectations a bit lower and, if I manage to do six, than all the better. I’m not sure if this defeats the purpose of a disciplined practise. Anyway, I’ll keep thinking about this during the last 12 days of the challenge. My thinking now is that I’ll just try to go as much as possible.

The other area I would like to explore is a home practise. Yes, a home practise! This is a big leap for me. I know the postures and I am excited to begin exploring this option more.

Lesson from Day 18

Whatever I decide to do, the most important thing to keep in mind is that getting to yoga should be the least challenging part of my day. With this challenge I have found that the task of carving yoga into my schedule is no task at all. I simply have to, want to, get there. Once on the mat, I can decide how deep I want to take the practise and what I am searching for that day. This involves checking in with a few areas, such as how I’m feeling, where my balance is at, what the moon cycle is and what I am working through in my life in that moment.

Check in. Where are you at? How will this alter your yoga practise today? Think about it for a bit and then go with the flow.

Yoga today might not go into any postures at all, other than seated Pranayama. And that’s perfectly fine.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.