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Making Yourself A More Efficient Writer

You’ve taken classes,  written countless essays, and read tons of books on improving your grammar and punctuation.

These will all make you a better writer, but they won’t necessarily make you an efficient writer.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking some time each week to look not just at what I’ve written, but also how I work.  This has resulted in some interesting insights, and, more importantly, making myself more efficient.

Sometimes, I find I don’t know what I want to write.  Instead of writing, I sometimes find myself checking my email or surfing the web.  An hour or two later, I actually sit down and start writing–then start wondering what’s going on with my email again.

Two hours later, I’ve written ten words and feel frustrated because I haven’t gotten anywhere.

I’ve started looking into various tools to help myself become more efficient.  Enter Grindstone.

Grindstone is a task management application that helps you keep track of tasks you want to do, as well as giving you some reporting mechanisms to analyze how you’re spending your time.

It’s also free (though donations are accepted).

Another nice feature of the application is that it allows you to charge different rates based on the client you’re working for (or nothing at all, if the task isn’t something you’re charging for).  It also gives you the ability to more accurately track your time, which helps you plan for future work items.

Grindstone also lets you create different profiles so you can organize your tasks into personal, work, or other tasks.  I’ve created four categories so far:  one for personal tasks, new features I’d like to work on for WritAnon, course work for some classes I’m taking, and work for WritAnon clients.

Why does it work?

Since I know that my time is being tracked against one of my tasks, I feel more responsible to spend my time focused on those tasks.  I want to keep an accurate count of how long it takes me to finish each planned task so that I can better plan for future work.

Each task has an estimate of how long I expect to take it to complete.  Many times, my estimates are correct.  Sometimes, however, I find that I was way off on my estimate.  Both are important.  Finding out that something takes longer than I expect helps me to better plan in the future.

I’d recommend trying Grindstone yourself.  It’s certainly helped me to spend my time more efficiently.

Liked this?  Know of a better tool?  Leave a comment and let us know.  We’re considering making this a regular feature, and it will help us to know if our readers find this type of article valuable.

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