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Time Management, Website Tips

The Thing About Productivity I Overlooked…

Something about the notion of productivity has been troubling me for a few months now. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I now recognize it’s this: tweaking habits, making plans, and getting mindful about time are only useful once we have some basics in place. And I’ve come to realize that many writers don’t have a few essential pillars sorted out, such that they’re in a position to benefit from productivity tips and resources.

To back up a bit…

By the time I’d independently published three novels and a short story collection alongside a day job, I was frazzled and overwhelmed. In 2017, I embarked on what I called my “Serenity Project” where I experimented with 26 ways to glide more and flap less. The extensive lessons from that fed into my stress-relief guide for self-published authors, Indie With Ease.

And I also defined Serenity like this:

By summer 2018, I’d defined Serenity as the intersection of Calm, Happiness and Purposeful Productivity.

Serenity: Happiness, Calm + Purposeful Productivity

Since Calm and Happiness were (are!) both areas where I’m a work in progress, I felt I had most to contribute to a discussion of what constitutes Purposeful Productivity, and how to achieve it.

Productivity, and specifically, not just busy-work but meaningful progress toward truly important goals, continues to fascinate me. I came up with my manifesto here, and I’ll continue to write about it frequently.

However, I also feel this notion is a kind of time-privilege: it can only really occur when you’ve got some basics lined up and working well.

Purposeful Productivity has pillars which support it

If your house is falling down, painting the trim only takes you so far. If you’re so unhealthy you can’t walk up a flight of stairs, buying running shoes won’t solve that. And for any of us, but especially writers who are published, or hope to be soon, then time management and mindfulness aren’t the best areas to focus on, before some basics are in place.

So if we unpack that diagram more for what Purposeful Productivity needs, I see it now as something like this:

Productivity Pillars | Pauline Wiles

And in case you haven’t guessed by now, this is where I’m heading.

I’ve met too many writers who are missing one key pillar, and who are completely at sea on how to get started with it, that I’m changing course to serve this need. (I’ll still write here about productivity and time management tips, along with self-care, habits and other important skills. However, these will be less prominent in future.)

While I’m not shouting this from the rooftops just yet, since you’ve done me the courtesy of reading this far (and since I’ve dropped several blog hints already that change is coming):

As my primary focus, I’ll be helping other writers with a key pillar I wrote about in Indie With Ease: getting online with a simple, stylish, affordable website.

I built my first website nineteen years ago and it’s a service I’m incredibly excited to offer other authors. I know exactly how to untangle must-have from not-essential, and how to guide technically wary folks through the dizzying array of options and decisions. Recently, I’ve worked under-the-radar with several writers on designing their websites, and I’ve loved the process of helping others get this essential productivity pillar in place.

My new service will launch officially at the end of this month. More information coming very soon!


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