By Geraldine Markel, PhD, Guest Contributor.

Are you a coach who wants to write an article or book, but lacks the time or discipline? Within your coaching practice, how can you ensure writing productivity? Two important first steps are to schedule a time and create a positive and productive writing setting. This allows you to muster the focus and concentration necessary to tap into your creativity.

For the vast majority of writers, however, distractions and interruptions interfere with writing productivity.  The situation is often most severe when writing in a home office.  Sometimes, you’re plagued by a blaring television, barking dog, bickering family members or deliveries.  Other times, you get lost on the Internet or phone or other household temptations like snacking or hobbies.

With my own writing, I, too, am constantly battling distractions. There are times I am just not getting down to writing. At such times, we may need a mental vacation—a time to tune out the world and tune into writing.

Establish, “The No Fly Zone.” This is a location in which you will complete a particular writing task in a distraction-free (and pleasant) setting.

Here are some tips:

  1. Set a time period to write when you are usually most alert.
  2. Commit to between 30- to 90-minute writing periods, with brief breaks every 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Schedule a regular writing time on your calendar, perhaps 2 to 3 times a week.
  4. Find a quiet, non-distracting setting that is different than the one in which you usually work. Designate this place as the writing nook or sanctuary. It can be in a basement, library, or coffee shop, depending on your personal needs and style.
  5. Enhance the pleasantness by using energizing fragrances such as evergreen, writing with colored pens or choosing interesting font or paper.
  6. Get comfortable. Use a cushioned chair, wear a favorite soft jacket, and put on a working hat or visor.
  7. Ensure that there is room to spread out and have easy access to materials or resources.
  8. Consider other locations based on the type of writing task that needs to be accomplished. For example, you might go to a library when you need to develop new ideas or work out a problem and go to a coffee house when writing less complex or detailed work.
  9. Alert others by announcing writing times during which you are unavailable or posting a Do Not Disturb Sign.
  10. Set doable goals and bask in your success.

What about you?

Try this practical application in the next week:

  • Ask questions such as:
    • When was the last time I wrote in an effective way?
    • Under what conditions did this writing occur?
    • Is the setting that I’m using now contributing to progress toward my writing goals?
    • How can I enhance the setting in which I write in terms of lighting, noise, interruptions, or visual distractions?
  • Experiment with 1 or 2 other settings, perhaps with better light, less noise, fewer interruptions, etc.
  • Make a list of the conditions that seem to be most conducive to staying on a positive writing track.

Don’t let the Writing Demon of Distraction get you down. You can download the free APP, 8demons, for more productivity tips.


GeraldineMarkelGeraldine Markel, PhD, is co author of Finding Happiness with Aristotle as Your Guide: Action Strategies Based on 10 Timeless Ideas, and the award-winning, Actions Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered, Disorganized and Forgetful Mind. Geri is CEO of Managing Your Mind Coaching and Seminars and a board-certified ADHD and executive coach, specializing in leadership, workplace and academic productivity. An educational psychologist, Geri helps clients to identify core issues and apply strategies to move from good intentions to productive actions. Geri offers free Apps: 8demons and study tips. Contact: geri@managingyourmind.com or gerimarkel.com