Working smarter – Top 6 Writing Smarter Goals


Writing (N.Lemon, 2005)

Is 2012 the year of “work smarter”? I have recently had this question posed by  several colleagues and friends. At this time of the new year many are setting goals, new year’s resolutions and challenging ways of working, so this question seems valid to consider.

@jacqui_chaplin is a huge advocate of working smarter.  As to is @jod999, @jasondowns and @kyliebudge, all with the mission to continue to learn about how to do this and transfer it to the projects we are working on. @AngelaMaiers has been mentioning it in her tweets along with @startupprincess.
Some of these conversations have been around writing and sharing our thoughts on how we can be more effective and efficient in the area of publishing, recording our work and making it accessible to others.

Work wise was recently mentioned on Twitter with these key words associated: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Relax and Keep learning. This resonated with me and the notion of working smarter. As a learner and observing how others work I took these areas and unpacked them:

  • Connect – chat with others, watch others, learn from your connections and what others have learnt from their connections.
  • Be active – ask questions, watch actively, and apply what you are learning.
  • Take notice – it’s amazing who we come across in our day who we can inquire with and hear other perspectives of working effectively.
  • Relax – take care of yourself, burn out is not an effective part of working effectively. Relax and enjoy working effectively as that is ideally one of the aims of working smarter.
  • Keep learning – there are always opportunities to learn from others, even undesirable behavior or unproductive strategies can be a great spring board for us to try an alternative and apply effective ways to work to our own situations.

So in the setting the goal to work more effectively and ultimately smarter in the area of writing I have thought about what has worked for me in the last few months. My Top 6 Writing Smarter Goals are:

  1. Writing in morning with a coffee – I’m fresh, my ideas flow and I love a coffee in the morning, so why not combine them all in a cafe where I can plug my laptop in or free range on the iPad. The walk to the cafe also helps me relax, be active and think through my thoughts and ideas.
  2. Writing in short bursts pomodoro style @thesiswhisper and @teachingtomtom have written about this great writing technique that balances tasks, time, and writing effectively based on 25 minutes of time accompanied with5 minute breaktime.
  3. Writing with buddies who keep me on track & accountable – this year I plan to be a continued active member of ‘shut up and write’ sessions as well as co-run a writing circle with a colleague who has set similar goals for 2012. Twice a week, no matter what else is happening in my schedule, I have two blocks of dedicated writing time with buddies who will help me actually do the writing (or at least help me be focused in amongst other commitments).
  4. Plan and delegate according to what needs to be done and when – I’m a visual thinker and love to mind map tasks. It’s a self imposed project management of my  own writing tasks and allows me to see what I’m  doing, where I’m heading and keeps me on track. It’s also a fabulous way to see what I have achieved.
  5. Check email after I have written – distractions are put aside & can wait for a few hours so I can achieve my goal of working smarter.
  6. Reassess what I have achieved – great writing moments, sentence flow, and how I have addressed things that as @thesiswhisperer calls ‘writing tics’ (moments that don’t work and are repeated patterns of not the greatest writing). These are some of the best moments as I can celebrate moments of flow and set goals for those that I need to improve on.

The plan is to write more and ultimately work smarter. So I’ll see how I go and fill you in as I learn more about myself and from others on working smarter.

How are you going to work smarter this year? Any strategies you could share? What have you learnt from others who are trying to actively implement “working smarter” as part of their 2012?

Related links to guest post on Teaching Tom Tom Blog titled A writing challenge – the first AcBoWriMo has been announced


5 thoughts on “Working smarter – Top 6 Writing Smarter Goals

  1. @jasondowns says:

    Thanks for the hat tip!

    Point no#5 about the email is, for me, the critical one. I don’t check email until 2pm and I never check it on Thursdays or the weekend. I warn everyone with a signature at the bottom of my outgoing email about this policy and I’ve never had any push-back.

    I also have a minimum numbe of words per day that I have to write. I write them first, THEN I get on with the rest of my day. If the words don’t come easily, then my day gets ugly – that’s the price I pay if I’m not prepared for the next day’s writing session. To make sure that I’ve got something to write about tomorrow, I have to read something (or talk to someone, or somehow be stimulated) today. That means I need to plan some reading time as well as writing time every day.

    Sounds daunting, but once you get into your particular groove, it becomes almost automatic an I find the words come more easily.

    Loving the blog!


  2. Narelle Lemon says:

    Thanks for the comments Jason. Totally agree about reading to inform your writing – both with content and also writing style. And reading doesn’t include reading emails! The suggestions you have made about delegating time to read email is just as important as delegating specific times to write.

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