March 27, 2019- Did you know that structure and environment are directly linked to whether you fail or succeed? If you’re not reaching your goals, your environment and structure of activities may be to blame! Let’s take a look at this concept from a writer’s point of view; we’ve set this up as a case study for the fun of it!
Barb is a full-time writer who has a home-office in a room at the back of her house. Her desk is barely visible under the piles of papers, sticky notes, and half-full coffee cups. She has two school-aged children who she has to put on and take off the bus at eight am and four pm, and she is a single parent. She is trying to get another book deal with a major publisher who would be a perfect fit for her work since her original publisher told her that they didn’t have a place for her current story. Her phone is constantly ringing and buzzing with updates from social media and email. Barb has been struggling lately with staying on task since it seems that everything is vying for her attention and pulling her in different directions. She is currently two chapters behind on her manuscript. How can structure and environment help Barb reach her goal of submitting her finished manuscript for consideration?
- Get organized (Environment) First and foremost Barb needs to clean up her office and get her desk nice and tidy. If her work space isn’t clean it will distract her from her work and make it impossible for her to get anything accomplished. She’ll spend most of her allotted working time looking for things.
- Assess her time and set a timer (Structure) Barb has from approximately 8:30 am to 3:30 am each day to work on her book and submissions. That is 7 hours of good, core time to get things done. She needs to use the Pomodoro technique which is where she would set a timer and work uninterrupted for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. She could later extend this once she becomes more focused.
- Set a routine (Structure & Environment) Every morning Barb could set an hour aside, let’s say from 9 am to 10 am to check her email, social media, and return phone calls. Other than the allotted time, she should turn off all social media and email notifications as well as any other distractions.
- Set goals (Structure) Barb could set a word count goal for each hour of writing. She could start with a small goal such as 250 words per hour. This small goal is better than having a blank page.
There are many other things that Barb could do to improve her environment and the structure of her day; what are you doing each day to reach your goals? Does your environment and daily routine support your success? X LLB