The shower isn’t necessary

You know that moment in the shower when you suddenly get an excellent idea? That happens when your brain, working away quietly while you’re talking to yourself about what could possibly have compelled you to buy shower gel that smells like a food item, suddenly connects two dots. We say that things just clicked, or …

Attention management for writers, the last part: pay no attention to productivity

So here we are, at the end of our attention span, and I guess it’s time to address the elephant in the room: productivity. I’m not a huge fan of productivity talk. It always feels rushed, stressful, and focused on quantity over quality. Focusing on attention feels like the exact opposite: The goal is to …

Attention management for writers, part 4: Research notes

Research notes. A bombastic name for what is usually a bunch of half formed thoughts and snatches of typos. But you know what I mean. Why am I talking about research notes? Because, at least for me, messy notes – especially if they’re physically scattered among multiple sources (notebook, bits of paper, several different files) …

Attention management for writers, part 3: The obligatory Slack and email post, or: guilt management for writers

Until now, we’ve focused on calming the chaos of our internal voice. Now it’s time we talked about that other attention killer: external voices. And, because I like to cheat, their influence on our internal voice. One thing you can do this week: Understand the difference between objective obligations and emotions. Nothing new here Honestly, …

Attention management for writers, part 2: Plan your week, then your day

We tend to focus on planing one day at a time. And sure, we need to look at our plan in the morning (or the previous evening) and tidy it up. But we should also plan each week , either on Monday morning or, if you like spoiling your weekend, on Sunday evening. Some people …

Attention management for writers, part 1.1: Forget about remembering

Intuitively, we know there are two things that destroy our attention: the voice in our head, and the voices of our colleagues (I am not qualified to tell you how – or whether – to ignore your kids). This blog series starts with the voice in our head. The one desperately trying to keep on …

Attention management for writers: foreword

It’s been a year of working from home. For some writers – parents, mostly – it’s been a year of zero focus. But for others, it’s been a revelatory year. One that showed them what work looks like when they control their interruptions. When no one can walk up to their desk to ask a …