7 ways to write more productively

Published on 22 February 17

Writing your dissertation or extended project can be a long and stressful process, so how do you stay productive day after day? We know it can be frustrating keeping up your writing momentum, but these tips should hep you stay productive and hopefully make the writing up phase a little less stressful:

1. Become a morning person

The first few hours of the working day are the most important, and by setting your alarm earlier and doing a few hours each morning you’re more likely to stay productive for the rest of the day. Fitting in 2-3 hours of writing time every morning will soon build up your word count - you'll focus on quality over quantity, have time later in the day to edit and check over your work, and then be ready and motivated to wake up the next day and write a bit more.

2. Deal with writers block

There are bound to be times when the words just don’t seem to flow, and this can be very frustrating when that dissertation deadline is looming. No amount of staring at your laptop screen is going to inspire you, so it’s best to deal with your writers block in other ways:

3. Create manageable chunks

Instead of focussing on ‘writing up’ as one long process; break it down into manageable chunks with realistic timescales attached. You'll be able to hone your concentration onto one task at a time and know exactly what you need to do each day.

4. Step away from your desk

Even the most dedicated students lose concentration after a few hours, which is why you should try to take regular breaks throughout the writing process to collect your thoughts and refresh your brain. Whether you're going for a run, meditating, getting lunch with friends or just making yourself a cup of tea, getting away from your workspace can reset your motivation and allow you to come back to your work with a new perspective and a lot more motivation.

5. Have a clear working space

A chaotic workspace can quickly become a distraction and by decluttering you'll be keeping disruptions at bay. Our advice would be to write at a desk or table (not on your bed!) – you'll feel much more productive and won't be tempted to nap or get distracted. Having a designated box or file for all your paperwork can also be handy, as you can keep everything you need in one place and won't be wasting time searching for something you need for that day. 

6. Don't be afraid to stop

At the end of the day, don't work till into the night just because you're on a roll (or not but feel guilty about stopping!).  You need plenty of rest in order to stay consistently productive. Your concentration and brain-power is going to be significantly reduced by lack of sleep and your work is likely to suffer - plus the next morning you'll end up too tired to carry on working. By keeping writing sessions short and sweet, having regular breaks throughout the day and getting an early night, you'll soon see your productivity skyrocket and your dissertation taking shape nicely.

7.  Look at the support available

My Learning Essentials have plenty of writing support available. Even if you’ve had a look before they can be worth a revisit to help you focus if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

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