No Theme Guest Post

When Laurie Childree asked me what the theme was for my vacation, I told her no theme. She said, “I can do that!” She is here today to talk about productivity, WIP, excuses and fear. Oh, yes. They all go hand-in-hand. Grab a cuppa.



Productivity is directly related to how a person feels despite what they have to accomplish to make a living. It’s not easy to work when you can barely sit up; and forcing the issue can result in the quality dropping. The weather can affect how work is done; writers have different inspiration sources, and some require sunshine. Depression is counterproductive to productivity unless of course it is the muse that lends to creation. The amount of people in the home can affect it; everything can affect productivity.

There are things sitting in the WIP that have not been touched in months, and you do not have the energy to touch them. What are you going to do? The ideas were there when you began, but somewhere along the way the energy was sucked out began to decrease for finishing them. Deadlines were set in an attempt to get back to them, only to be ignored as the energy and inspiration failed to come.

When the lack of productivity affects income, it makes it even more vital to ensure that something is done to cure it. The WIP can be full of half-started projects, but finding time to complete even one of them can be more than a little difficult. Daily distractions are used as an excuse when the ability to schedule leaves us banging our heads against the wall eludes us. There are always going to be things that life requires us to take care of, sometimes interfering with the creative process.

Writers are generally in the work from home group making the ability to tune out daily demands increasingly difficult. The luxury of going off to the work place and then home so the lines are clearly defined is not had; they are up to the writer to draw. The time that something takes to complete can be directly related to the interest in the subject most days.

I can pencil me in a month from Thursday.

I can pencil me in a month from Thursday.

What would a typical day for a work at home mother look like? That is solely dependent on the age of the child; the day definitely gets a bit easier when the child begins to attend school, providing homeschooling is not done. The most productive hours for those working from home with children often occur when the child is asleep, at school or in the care of someone else. Scheduling is done roughly around bedtimes, school hours and outside appointments.

The biggest hindrance to productivity becomes the need to sleep. The world revolves around daylight for little children; schools are in at set hours, and buses run early morning making all night writing sessions scarce during the school year. Paying work takes priority over creativity, unless of course you have reached the stage where your creative pays the bills. A calendar on the desk marks deadlines, appointments and blocks of time that you hope to spend working.

The practice of opening multiple screens to work on multiple items at once is one most are familiar with as they struggle to separate being at home during the day and working. Productivity on personal products is increased when breaks for coffee, a smoke or whatever else are combined with a notebook to jot down the ideas that are flowing before they are lost. There are those that keep notes on scraps of paper, receipts and any other available surface.

Paying projects ideally can be broken down into steps with specific amounts of time set aside for each step. Items requiring no research can often be allotted a set amount of time to finish in, each item broken down individually to give you an idea of how on track you are according to your own schedule.


Now, back to the WIP that you’d rather be doing than paying work in an effort to break free from the daily grind that defeats the purpose of why you chose this lifestyle to begin with. The items in it could sit for hours, months or years untouched beyond the original idea if the thought of ever finishing becomes something that you dread. The fear of having your work exposed to the world under your name could be the demon that is hindering the productivity.

The reasons that you are not productive could be non-existent. List them: each excuse, appointment and item that took priority over your own personal work. The end result will have you attempting to eliminate the excuses and polish the works that you have neglected for so long.

What time of day are you the most productive? Do you still pull all night sessions to finish something? Is the thought of opening a project you laid to rest long ago terrifying?

After you answer her questions, go check out Laurie and her new book, Moments, Money & Memories.

© Red Dwyer 2013
Original Post © Laurie Childree
Re-Blogging of this or any other post on The M3 Blog
is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office.
Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Someone has been a fly on my wall with this post.
    My daily life and mostly emotional stress has slowed me down in a big way. I’m trying to talk myself out of it, but it doesn’t work.
    **Morning and early afternoon
    **I will.
    **Yes. It is.

    • We’re all guilty, whether we want to admitt it or not. I have to go with Friday nights, I don’t have to get up early the next morning; or rather when shiny things don’t distract me 😉
      Laurie recently posted..Savings.My Profile

    • In that talking has to be action. “Words are so cheap, they have been declared free.”

      List them.
      Face them.
      Cross them off.

      I know it works. I do it every day.

  2. The early morning hours work best (iike mindight to 4) NOOOO One except the Aussies are up. It keep distractions to a minimum.

    But, yep, I keep lists, however, I no longer make the list full of twenty items. Only what I can reasonably do in a day. I find I don’t feel so defeated that way.
    Barb recently posted..Change: The Race Car of Marketing TechniquesMy Profile

    • Reducing the amount of things on the list, that would help a great deal…I think delegating a few things would help, I have a list ready for someone else.
      Laurie recently posted..Savings.My Profile

      • I am completely for delegating to the responsible parties. Delegating at random always means I have to do it again…

    • Whose rule is twenty items? Some of my one item lists have more than 20 moving parts!

  3. Life can be a big distraction, but it’s difficult to function without it. My biggest problems are a wandering mind, stupidity, and laziness.
    Binky recently posted..The World According To FrazMy Profile

  4. My most productive time is morning. I am completely alone then, and that I like!

    I did pull all-nighters to finish an affidavit for this day or that day in court, when Daniel was young. I was DRIVEN, because my son’s welfare was at stake. I am not sure it was a productive time, but I got it done. Only, got it done after going over again, again, again. That’s not productive.

    I enjoyed this article, Red.
    Noeleen recently posted..A Decision, Two Lives and a ConsequenceMy Profile

    • I am glad you enjoyed this.
      Laurie recently posted..WIP excerptMy Profile

    • I stopped doing that ages ago. It does no good when the work has to be checked and rechecked because you are not in a fit enough state to do it properly the first time. Glad you like this on, Noeleen. xxx

  5. As a paranoid schizophrenic I find that my creativity depends on my state of mind.

    Writing whatever comes to mind works after a fashion, but not when I feel de-motivated, usually after a bad experience in the days previous to the work day which has left me screwed up until the memory fades!

    Having no job to go to I find night time the best time to write, but unfortunately shopping has to occur during the day so sleep becomes the enemy.

    Add to that the cyclic nature of my sleep pattern because of the medication and all you can do is go with the flow… 🙁

    God Bless!

    prenin recently posted..Friday – Shopping day take two.My Profile

    • Going with the flow isn’t always a bad thing 😉
      Laurie recently posted..WIP excerptMy Profile

    • In your situation, I would not consider night ruled by the sun and moon, but instead by my fatigue level. In fact, I operate on a 30 hour day in most cases.

  6. Well done, Laurie… I find it most interesting that (although, somewhere deep down I AM a writer) my major muse at the moment, the visual artistic one, could absolutely be substituted in any place where there is WIP.
    I think my biggest downfall is keeping up with social obligations, both virtual and literal. My quandary seems to be “have I bit off more than I can chew?” whenever this obstacle arises.
    I too work best in the morning, and, also having no outside job to distract, nor the small people reason, I’m fortunate to be able to make my schedule fit sideways, upside down or backwards in my life.
    What happens, though is that first thing I fire up the old puter, dive right into my email (in case something important has come up in one of my little corners)… As I delete in blocks all the things I used to look forward to reading, then along comes a notification about a task, long evaded, could be caught on with just a click. But, that wasn’t in my schedule, so there goes the day.
    So, that said, I guess my remedy would be to prioritize. I like Red’s idea to make a list. When I was working it was suggested that you spend a small bit of time making a list for a day, then whatever is left, probably wasn’t that important. Then, when deadlines loom, they are listed in all CAPS, or some other manner of shouting for attention. Then they get done. Or not!!!
    I must say, just by writing this out, I may have clarified some of it in my mind and will be better equipped to be more productive keeping a happy balance between what should be done and what I want to do.
    WOW! I hope so, after all that!!!!
    Thanks for a thought provoking and pragmatic post, Laurie!!

    BuddhaKat recently posted..Frequently oFF the Wall, Friendly Fractals Forever…My Profile

    • List making is only as good as the priority scale you make to judge the importance of the things which make the list. I think you did work it out really well. <3 xxx

      • The thing I take the most priority with doesn’t need to be on the list to be remembered. She’s short and loud 😉

        I did myself the favor of giving up on weekend list though.
        Laurie recently posted..WIP excerptMy Profile

        • That is prioritizing. You are putting importance on the need to not be defined by your tasks. That is healthy.

  7. I have always been a night owl but when it comes down to writing I can produce anything at anytime, though I do favour the nights as it just suits my own preferences but in the same token I can easily write into the early hours, sort of burning the candle at both ends but not feeling the heat as it were.

    As for the projects that are pending, it doesn’t really bother me one way or the other as usually I can just pick up where I left off, though I can imagine that for some this is certainly not the case.

    I have enjoyed reading your posting my friend and as soon as I have an opportunity I will venture into your Space and read more of your work. In the meantime have a very nice weekend and have some fun.


    • I’ve always found the nights to be so peaceful, I do so dread having to adjust to daylight during the school year. Glad you enjoyed it.
      Laurie recently posted..WIP excerptMy Profile

  8. Some really good points you make Laurie – in fact they are the kind that make one want to squirm a little in ..guilt? or just yea I can relate and in black and white it seems so inane. My most productive time is late night / wee hours of the morning and my biggest block is well sometimes I have to sleep. I try not to but I guess it is necessary. When I am on my normal cycle of some crazy amount of hours in one day for me (which is about 2 and a half ) I am quite productive. I usually only have stuff that is half an idea when I think of it right before I fall out. then I typically can not find the thought process that led me there in the first place so I trash it. I do have several things in the WIP and when I have thoughts or ideas that lend to them I work on them..unless I am not where I can or doing something else, which come to think of it, happens a lot. I need to schedule more time during the day I guess.
    <3 Lizzie
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge; IlluminationMy Profile

    • I was forced to be more productive during daylight hours when the baby started kindergarten. I can’t get up in time to get her ready for school if I stay up too late. Preschool was so much easier I could manage at least midnight during the week and get up on time to get her to school. Oh well, summer’ll be here soon. I have lists for everything during the week.
      Laurie recently posted..Paranoid (75)My Profile

      • You know that worries me in terms of how much time she spends on the bus… Been there. Fought that. Won.

    • Structure is always good for productivity. It also helps organize the stream of consciousness. 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.