Ever have those days where you feel like you’re on top of everything? Days when you actually get to the bottom of your to-do list?

If you’re anything like me, those days are rare.

But something’s been different this week – I’ve had a bunch of new ideas, I’ve written a few pieces that have been on the backburner for a while, and I’ve genuinely felt good.

So I focused on what contributed to my uncharacteristic levels of motivation, and I’ve picked out my top five tips for getting stuff done. Hopefully they’ll help you next time you get stuck on something, but be warned, they get quite silly.

Wear a floaty skirt

Put your post-it notes in the bin, tear up your to-do list and delete your productivity apps. Because the secret to being productive is in your clothes.

Yep, it sounds daft. How can a floaty skirt make me write more? Before you head off to buy this magical motivational skirt, I went looking for a logical explanation for why it worked. Here’s what I came up with.

1. I was comfortable

I wasn’t distracted by things rubbing, labels being in the wrong place, or buttons digging in. These are all minor irritations but taking them away made me realise I’d given them valuable brain space before.

2. I felt smart and confident

Pyjamas and tracksuit bottoms are productivity killers. As soon as you put them on, you tell your brain that it’s time to chill out. But does choosing smart clothes mean the opposite?

The science around clothes changing your mood is a bit wishy-washy. But I feel more motivated and more confident when I’m wearing things I like. And if I’m feeling good, I’m less likely to get distracted by the biscuit tin or some cute animal photos.

3. I looked like a writer

Thanks to TV, film and stock photos, we’ve all got preconceived ideas of what people look like in certain job roles. As an example, search google images for ‘doctor’. Now tell me when you last saw your GP in a lab coat?

I looked how I always expected a writer to look while I was wearing my floaty skirt. And I’m convinced that sent a signal to my brain saying ‘you’re a writer. You write now’.

But I guess the only way to put my theory to the test is to dress like Harry Potter for a week to see if I become a wizard.

Siri, take a voice note

All my best ideas happen when I’m driving, in the shower, on the toilet or exercising.

So all the places where I can’t just whip out my notebook and jot down that witty headline or outline my next blog.

If I wait until I can get hold of a pen and paper, chances are that great idea has got watered down by thinking about what I want for tea. But I’m pretty sure ‘I had to write this thing before I forget’ isn’t a valid defence if I crash my car.

Cue voice notes. Probably the least used app on my phone until today, now one of my essential bits of kit. Completely handsfree, I ask Siri to take a voice note and I chat away to myself the entire journey home.

If I hadn’t done that, this article probably would never exist. So I’d say it’s pretty useful.

Keep a tidy notebook

“Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought” according to The Economist Style Guide. And I agree, despite thinking the book would be better titled How to Write Like a Pretentious Ass.

I’d even go a bit further. I believe clarity of writing usually follows a neat, organised notebook.

That doesn’t mean you’re no good at writing if your notebook looks like something out of Tidying up with Marie Kondo. But remember how good Marie’s clients feel after they’ve decluttered? That could be you if you tidy up your notes.

Having clear, clutter-free notes helps me stay motivated and focused. That means one topic per page, and only the essential bits of information. If I’m feeling extra fancy sometimes I’ll divide the page into sections or use different colours, but that’s probably just an attempt at procrastination.

Don’t work on the sofa

I never used to see a problem with working on the sofa. Then after hours of staring at a blank page saying “Go on, just one more episode”, I tried writing at a desk.

And I smashed my to-do list.

Because sofas are designed for relaxation, my subconscious told me I should binge-watch It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia instead of writing. So I moved to the study, and just being in that space made me switch from relax mode to work mode.

Yes, it takes discipline to use the internet for a whole hour without getting sucked into a Youtube rabbit hole. I don’t always have that discipline. But by making my study a cat video free zone, hopefully I won’t start associating this space with procrastination.

Use a big screen

Fill your field of vision with your work and you leave no room for distractions, right?

One study claimed that using a larger monitor (or using 2 screens) increases your productivity by 52%. But that was in 2008, just as smartphones were beginning to take off. Now that phones have changed how we read and work, the effect of screen size on productivity may have changed too.

But a large monitor works for me: I can see the full page I’m working on, I can keep notes and research in a corner, and I don’t have to do as much scrolling.

Share your productivity tips

Got any tricks to get your writing done? Tweet @franwritescopy with your ideas – the sillier the better.

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