Working Smarter Instead of Harder

Daniella Cressman
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Adrian Pawel

Lately, I have learned a difficult lesson: I can’t write three to five thousand-word articles per day and write them well. I can’t produce my best work when I’m sleep-deprived and haven’t been taking care of my body, and I’ve been working nine hours per day. When I have nothing left to give because I’m exhausted, grumpy I produce mediocre articles as a result.

In fact, I’ve found that I actually tend to make more money and have more views when I spend a long time writing a single article and I dedicate two to four hours per day to my craft versus three to five. This also gives me more time to do the necessary research I need to for various projects.

1. PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE

I’ve found that I’m the most productive when I prioritize diet, strength-training, yoga, and aerobic exercise, as well as sleep. When I do this, I feel better and therefore have a higher level of mental clarity. I also tend to be more measured: I might produce one well-researched article instead of five mediocre ones.

2. PRIORITIZE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

“Focus your attention on the quality of your words, and not the quantity, because few sensible talks attracts millions of listeners more than a thousand gibberish.”

— Michael Bassey Johnson (Goodreads)

This is the other extremely challenging lesson I’ve learned: writing three thousand-word articles per day doesn’t mean shit if none of them get sold and all of them are mediocre. The most effective method is to spend a few hours on one article, do thorough research, and edit it a few times. That piece usually gets sold!

3. SLEEP IS IMPORTANT

I didn’t sleep well at all last night, and it reminded me just how important it is to get enough rest. I feel so much more productive when I get a good seven to nine hours of rest! I also drank caffeine, which I know really affects me, and I’m not going to do that anymore.

4. MAINTAINING A TIDY ENVIRONMENT FEEDS EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE

If you were to ask anyone what my weakness is, they’d probably tell you it’s housework! I don’t love cooking and cleaning. It’s probably one of my least favorite activities on earth.

I’ve been known to leave my bed unmade for days on end and I use way too many cups! Nonetheless, I have found that, when I do manage to wash the dishes and make my bed, I feel better instead of being overwhelmed because I have a mountain of work today when I’m done with my writing.

Wash the dishes. Sweep the floors. Make the bed. Do the laundry.

It will actually save you a lot of time in the long run. I’m still working on this myself, but I’ve decided to dedicate at least two hours per day to household chores instead of working myself to the bone writing for nine hours straight and producing mediocre articles as a result while the pile of dishes keeps growing exponentially!

5. HAVE FAITH

I am personally Buddhist and I’m continuously learning more about this religion each and every day. I realized that I was neglecting my meditation sessions, which strengthened my mind, in order to write constantly.

The problem with that was this: I wasn’t as effective in my work! I didn’t experience as much mental clarity and had a much harder time concentrating whenever I was reading articles for research.

My eyes would jump back and forth a lot and I’d open a million tabs, only to skim through one article without retaining as much as I would’ve liked. The ironic part of this is that I primarily write about health and wellness topics: I needed to take my own advice and slow down.

You don’t have to be religious to have faith. Perhaps you are struggling to believe in yourself and you want to read more inspirational books and work on your self-esteem. You might believe in God or the universe or simply the order of the world, but it’s important to have a deep trust that you will get where you want to go and that everything happens for a reason, no matter what your belief system is!

It’s super important to prioritize your health above your productivity. Most people think that it’s an indulgence, but it’s really not. In fact, your physical and mental health is exactly what feeds your career success!

Thanks for reading! Follow my blog for tips and tricks to stay healthy as you write!

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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