One of the questions that I get asked fairly often is: “how long does it take you to write a blog post?”
If I answered that question honestly, I would say it depends. It could take me 1 hour or it could take me 8.
And there is absolutely no in between. 😅
This is partly because of Parkinson’s Law which tells us that our work expands to the amount of time that we give it and I’ve definitely found that to be true in my work…
BUT sometimes even when I set deadlines for myself, my brain still has a hard time braining.
This could be due to the fact that I write approximately 50 million words a day (not a definite number, just a guess).
For example, last week I wrote 10 client blogs total.
On Tuesday I wrote 4 of those in 3 hours. On Monday I wrote 2 of those and it filled my entire day.
See what I mean?
Being someone that’s pretty obsessed with time management, I try to pay attention to when my writing is taking me WAY longer than it should (like it did last Monday) and when this happens, it’s usually because of one main thing: I’m distracted.
Since I literally write words for a living and I can’t wait until I feel motivated or inspired to write, I try to be hyper aware of distractions and am always looking for ways to be more efficient and write FASTER without sacrificing quality.
Over the course of a few months, I’ve discovered some things that really work for me and they’re actually really simple that you can implement, too!
11 Tools That Help Me Focus and Write Faster
1. Google Chrome Profiles for each client
If you do any kind of work with various clients on an ongoing basis I can’t encourage you enough to set up individual Google Chrome profiles for each individual client.
This is something I did early on and I love it so much because each Google Profile lets me bookmark what I need for each individual client so that I’m never having to waste time searching for what I need.
Essentially, it’s a browser dedicated to one client and one client alone.
When it’s time to work on blogs or emails for that specific client, I simply pull up their profile, access the Drive folders I need and get to work – easy peasy, no time wasted.
I used to be an Asana girlie through and through and I truly loved it because it was so easy to use and it displays your tasks so beautifully.
But as I started working with more and more clients on an ongoing basis, I found that Asana just wasn’t the thing I needed to organize all of my client tasks.
So, I switched to Notion and was able to create a dashboard for each client with a calendar and task list so I could easily keep up with all of their specific projects, deadlines, notes, etc.
This platform is SO customizable and that's exactly what I needed!
3. 528hz Focus Beats
I’ve been listening to these exact same focus beats on YouTube for YEARS.
I’m the type of person that can’t listen to music with words while working and if you’re the same way, give these focus beats a shot! 🎶
They literally do something to your brain and allow you to get in the zone.
4. Turned off red badge notifications for Gmail
My toxic trait is I feel the need to respond to messages and check notifications immediately, so knowing this about myself, I turned off the badge notifications for my email a few months ago as an effort to be more present during my birthday weekend.
I had NO CLUE how much those little red dots were stressing me out, so I left those notifications off and life is good.
5. Customized the dock on my Mac and removed what I don’t use
If you have a Mac, you know the dock at the bottom of your home screen that displays all of your apps?
Well, I decided to remove all of the useless apps I don’t use from that dock and again, life is good.
Now, I only see the apps that I use on a daily basis – which includes Slack, Chrome, Notes, Calendar, Spotify, Zoom and Loom.
6. Bookmark all tabs that I use daily
There’s a high chance that you use the same exact websites, platforms or apps daily and one of the biggest time sucks is searching for them over and over again.
I used to do this and would get really frustrated with myself, so I fixed that with my bookmarks!
I know it sounds obvious, but sometimes the obvious things are what we tend to overlook in life.
To take it a step further than simply bookmarking everything I need easy access to, I also created bookmark folders to categorize everything I wanted to save.
This leveled up the organization a bit and is easy on the eyes.
7. Decluttered my desktop and don’t keep any files on it
A big theme that I’ve had to recognize about myself is that I can very easily become visually overwhelmed.
Knowing that about myself, I decided to declutter my desktop and now ZERO files live there. Instead, they all have designated folders in my downloads if needed, but NOTHING is allowed on the actual desktop.
Instead I use an aesthetically pleasing background that I design on Canva to have a quick view of that month’s calendar (which I reference a lot) and a high level look at my business goals for the month. Here’s the Canva template in case you want it!
8. Started working in full screen mode
Shout out to my fellow squirrel Sara at BTL Copy for this one – she recommended this in one of her emails about how she manages her squirrel brain and it’s ridiculously simple, but has been SO game changing for me. 🐿️
When you work in full screen mode, another level of distraction is removed because you don’t see apps or folders on your computer. It’s just you and your Internet browser – or for me a Google Doc.
9. I always know what I’m going to write or create BEFORE I sit down to do it
This is one of my biggest writing tips and it really is so necessary in my opinion.
Having a general idea of what you’re going to write about or create before you actually sit down to do it will save you from soooo much decision fatigue.
This is one of the reasons (there’s more here!) that I preach planning your blog content one quarter in advance – it’s LESS about the strict plan, and more about giving your brain the freedom and capacity to brainstorm and think of ideas instead of trying to force yourself to do it in the moment.
(P.S. I send weekly writing tips in my Notes From Natty newsletters, so subscribe here if you're in need!)
10. Take small breaks in between writing projects
Have you ever forced yourself to sit in front of your computer until you fully complete multiple tasks? It sort of feels like prison. (at least it does for me)
Which is why incorporating very small breaks in between my tasks (which is typically a lot of writing) has been so crucial.
For example, if I need to write two blogs, I’ll typically write one, take a break (which usually involves scrolling for a minute or refilling my water or getting a snack) and then returning to write the next one and so on.
Doing this will allow your brain to quickly reset and refocus so you can go back to work with fresh thoughts.
11. Switch up my environments
Lastly and staying on the topic of refreshing your brain, something I’ve learned about myself is that my brain needs to be refreshed a LOT throughout the day.
Sometimes that simply means switching up my environment.
And no, that doesn’t mean you have to literally change environments – it could be as simple as moving from your desk to your kitchen table. Or moving from your office to a coffee shop. Or really switch things up by sitting outside to finish your tasks.
By doing this, you give your brain a fresh perspective that often allows you to be more creative and get your work done even faster.
I’m curious – do you have any favorite tools or tricks that you use to help you focus in your work?
If so, connect here and let me know so I can try it out!
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