If your To Do lists are as long as mine, you know it can filter in at the worst possible moment. Especially before you tackle any self-managed task. Every writer I know has some kind of cleaning or organizing chore they tackle the moment they should be doing something else. Edits? Can't. I have to scrub the kitchen floor. Seriously, our houses are never cleaner than when we should be working.
So what we're going to do today is find our productivity space and get it prepared for our awesomeness.
Where are you the most productive? Where do you work from most often? Do you have an office? Do you work from a nook in a different room in your house? Pick the spot that you either get the most done in, or that other people aren't going to trash in an afternoon.
If you're a kitchen table worker, there will always be something to clean up before you get started. So your challenge is to carve out a space for yourself in the house that's YOURS. Grab a card table and set it up in the back of an unused closet or in a corner of your bedroom for all I care, but find some space that's yours. Maybe even a comfy chair where you can tuck your feet under you and work on your laptop. But it needs to be a place you can't see other To Do's. Turn it toward a closet where your back is turned to the frequently unmade bed.
If we want to be productive we can't see 8 million different things that belong somewhere else. We'll inevitably feel overwhelmed. And here's the part I'm not looking forward to today. Today we CLEAN OUR WORKSPACE UP.
Today you're going to take the time you set aside for this 7 day challenge and clean up your work space. No, you can't just wipe down the desk and call it done. What do you find yourself looking for when you work that you can never find? What stalls you from getting your work done?
Are you constantly looking for a certain pen or marker or highlighter among the cup of two hundred you have sitting on your desk? Throw the rest in a pencil case and only keep what you're using on your desk.
Do your headphones constantly run away from you? Put them on a command hook on the wall over your work space.
Do you keep knocking over snacks because there's no room on your desk? Well, buck up buttercup. You're changing that today.
Before you start coming for me for making you clean...let me tell you why you're doing this. If you're covering your space with clutter, when your brain starts to mull something over, it's going to get distracted. "I should really get that bill paid." "I promised I'd have that craft done." "Maybe my cat would like to play with this crumpled up piece of paper. I shouldn't just throw it away."
And for all my research lovers out there, no, you can't watch a tutorial on how to clean your room first. You're grown ass people. Pick up your shit and put it away. And if you don't have anywhere to put it away. Dollar Tree (or the dollar store in your country of choice), sells bins for a buck. Or if you have empty cardboard boxes lying around, cut off the flaps and turn them on their sides for cubby storage until you have the funds and the time to go buy something more permanent.
For the writers who work best outside their home... Now I know some of you are snickering. "Hee hee. Roxy doesn't know that my work space is at a coffee shop. I'm home free and don't have to do this exercise."
WRONG. And I'm offended that as a former Panera Bread writer you don't think I see you.
If you're most productive time is outside the house, you have a bag you take with you, and I'd bet good money it's in need of re-organizing too. If you have a portable office, your job today is to clean out your bags, files, and anything else that might have you digging for what you need instead of heading out the door. Or figure out what stops you from heading out the door? Is it dishes? Meal prep? Laundry? Brushing the cat? Think about the last time you got out the door later than planned. What stopped you?
Was it a phone call? Set up a "Do Not Disturb" time on your phone to prevent that.
Was it meal prep? Set an alarm today to remind you to get that done with plenty of time to still get out the door.
Write down your roadblocks in today's journal pages and figure out how to work around them or prevent them from happening.
Today we make our space into the office we want to work in. We're nesting so our muse can come lay us the best story eggs ever hatched. And maybe even throwing out that dead plant we swore we wouldn't kill this time.
I'm turning on a timer and an audio book and getting started. I'll post my before and after pics when I finish. Seriously, thank goodness for my library's audio collection and the Overdrive app!
After you've cleaned up your space, or created one for yourself, get your journal out. Use your freshly scrubbed space and write your three pages about anything you want. Write about all the creative ways you want to hurt me for making you clean, or the harrowing tale of how you almost died from tripping over your pets while you worked. But be aware of your new space while you write. How does it feel to journal in your newly cleaned space?
Tell me how it goes! And yes. You really have to do this. I dare you.
EDIT TO ADD: Below are my before and afters. Not bad to accomplish before my 12 hour EDJ shift. :D