Ever think you are measuring your productivity all wrong? There is a lot of talk about productivity and how to set goals. Daily word counts or page counts are common metrics used by authors now. Other metrics might be easier or harder. Some authors count productive as writing anything. Others want 5000 words each and every day. And then there are those who feel they are only productive if they write something that meets their goal for quality, regardless of quantity. But these are all tangible goals. Maybe what you are missing is the intangible.
There is one factor that everyone seems to be missing . . . everyone that is except today’s CEOs. Several years ago, a CEO I worked for told me that he was once advised by fellow CEOs to spend at least one hour each day just thinking about his business. Nothing else. Just thinking. Let’s ponder this concept for a minute. The country’s and world’s greatest business minds devote time to nothing but thinking about their business, goals, and new ideas for their company, products, etc. I really took this to heart when I first heard it, and it’s something I like to share with my clients. Never forget: Thinking counts as being productive.
The Art of Pondering
While I am not a published author (yet), this is a lesson I have applied to my business as an editor and consultant as well as my personal writing. I will spend time just thinking about my client’s projects or thinking about ideas, plot points, and world-building elements for my own work. Just letting them flow in and out of my mind. Usually, I try to have a journal or computer nearby to jot down any good ideas that come to me, but that is not my primary purpose. I really try to just think. And typically, if I come up with something really good, it sticks in my head. It is something I will continue to ponder and flesh out in my mind for several days. I’ve actually outlined entire stories and articles in my head before putting a single word down on paper. I don’t know about you, but that counts as being pretty productive in my book.
The Flip Side
Now, there is a flip side here. Just because thinking counts for productivity, doesn’t mean you should abandon your other goals. It is very easy to get into the trap of only thinking, and never actually writing. I should know, I have fallen into this trap before and it helps to have a schedule to stick to. It requires a certain amount of balance. So, to start, I would recommend choosing one or two days of your writing schedule and either adding thinking time to it (best case scenario) or substituting it for your writing goal. Stick to this schedule and try it out for a bit and make adjustments as needed to add or remove time. You won’t be sorry.
Now go on . . . grab a cup of coffee and get your think on.
***First published on OC-Writers.com