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November 11, 2014

shadesFirst, I just want to remind everyone that I’m running a giveaway. The prizes are a copy of Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, or London Falling by Paul Cornell. The giveaway runs until November 17!


I wanted to talk very briefly about productivity today. I’m terrible at getting things done. I’m interested in so many things (reading, writing, jewelry making, acting, sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, costuming, letter writing, video games) that there is always something else I could be doing at any given moment. And that’s before you factor in spending time with other actual people.
So, I occasionally have to trick myself into getting the appropriate work done. When there are dozens of things you could be doing it can be hard to sort out what you actually need to be doing.

The two things that I’ve found motivate me better than anything else are rewards and competition. (Also fear, but it’s hard to orchestrate that for yourself.)
1. If I get x done I get a (metaphorical) cookie!
This one is a little hard for me because there’s always the part in the back of my brain saying, “I’m an adult, damnit. I can just go have a cookie.” But it will work. Especially if I’m not the one providing my own cookie. And the cookie can be almost anything; more time with a video game, new jewelry making supplies, a new book, an actual cookie, it doesn’t matter.
There are a few websites that I use to help provide me with cookies.

habitHabitrpg – This is a website that gamifys good habits by treating your life like a role playing game. You get points for good habits, you lose points for not completing habits. You can also list tasks and get points and gold for checking those off. With your gold you can buy equipment. You also get pets and mounts (I’m working with a particularly purple color pallet right now.)
You can join parties and go on quests. It’s all very much like an rpg, but it’s all based around forming good habits.

The Magic Spreadsheet – This one is based solely around writing. It’s really simple. It’s a google spreadsheet that you can fill with your daily word totals. You get points for consistency, building chains, and word totals. Eventually, you can level up, which basically just means that your daily word count goal is higher. The cookie in this instance are the points. And I find it very motivating.

750words – This is another writing based site. It’s basically an external way of recording word count and getting some accountability. You load your words into their window, or you can compose directly there. For each day you reach 750 words you get a check mark. You can look at other people’s progress, but the cookie is basically just seeing that row of check marks at the top of your screen. I used this for a while, but I switched over to the Magic Spreadsheet almost exclusively now. 750 Words has no way to backdate if you didn’t have internet access on a particular day, whereas the Spreadsheet does.

2. If I get x done, I WIN!
I am very competitive. My ex stopped playing boardgames with me fairly early on in our relationship because I got mean. I played team sports briefly, but A) I was terrible and B) I really, really, really hated to lose. So competition really works for me. I don’t have to be competing against someone else, I can compete against a goal or a computer.nano

NaNoWriMo – possibly the most famous writing competition out there right now. You’re competing against the wordcount and the deadline. You’ve got the month of November to write a 50,000 word novel. (I’m behind at the moment because I didn’t get anything done yesterday. I got to spend time with two very awesome friends instead, so I still think I’m winning.)
You can make ‘writing buddies’ and see what their word count is, so you can kind of unofficially pit yourself against other people. The different regions will also occasionally have competitions to see whose area can produce the most words in a given period of time.
There are also great things that have grown up around NaNoWriMo. There is the NaNoWordSprints twitter feed. They challenge their followers to do word sprints – as many words as you can write in a given time period.

You can also set up competitions with your friends as long as everyone can keep it friendly. I can (mostly) do that.
These are a few of the things I use to try to keep on track. What productivity tips and tricks do you have?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2014 10:54 pm

    Reblogged this on CB's MoJo and commented:
    It’s still November, and I’m still noveling, but my friend Sara is still blogging like crazy (as well as noveling). Here’s a recent post from her blog, Medusa’s Library.


  1. Habits, revisited | CB's MoJo

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