A stitch in time

A stitch in time 24

Publishing is an intensive process. Be it a report, a book, a newsletter or online publishing, it calls for concerted effort, patience, and open lines of communication. This is so as material has to be collated into a manuscript, the manuscript has to be edited thoroughly and the layout done, and the printer given adequate time to deliver the publication in its final form in the case of traditional publishing. In all these processes, the common denominator is time, more so, when there is a deadline to be met. However, with proper planning, pulling off your publication does not have to be a daunting task. These simple tips can help:

  1. Make effective use of Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states that ‘work expands to fill the time available’. Let’s say you have a month to do a newsletter in your organisation. Each one of you is assigned to do two articles to be handed over to the designer two weeks prior to the newsletter being published. What is likely to happen is that the mundane clog your work life for the one week ‘grace period’, only to have you rushing frantically on the last week to complete your articles. The results? Hurriedly conjured articles with nary any coherence and which translates into a poorly done newsletter content wise.

That said, Parkinson’s Law can work to your advantage. In the case above, you might decide to allot a week to doing the articles: five days to do the actual writing and two days for editing. By imposing your own deadline, you get to finish your assignment on time and free up the remaining week for other tasks. And in any case, you have adequate time to improve on the articles on the second week as your mind is well rested.

  1. Break a huge manuscript into small do-able chunks, i.e., the Pomodoro Technique

Authoring a book or even editing one is no child’s play. As an author, there will be days when words flow from your brain and spill into your computer screen effortlessly. Then there are ‘mind block’ days when stringing together a sentence is a struggle. So too is editing- there are days when you get it and there are days when you don’t. However, by breaking the tasks into small chunks and delivering on them, deadlines can be met.

Taking the example of an author doing a 120,000 words book, he can decide to write a thousand words daily; translating into a complete manuscript in four months. By pushing himself to do a thousand words a day, the progress towards the completion of the book is evident, thus doubling as motivation to keep on writing. Suddenly, the 120,000 word count is no longer threatening.

  1. Developing a reward system for completed tasks

Rewards affirm and motivate one to complete tasks at hand. The rewards can be as simple as allowing oneself an extra cup of coffee or five minutes to walk around the office block for every 300 words written or chapter edited.

  1. Limit distractions

Writing or editing requires an attentive mind. As such, it is advisable to do away with distractions such as computers, TVs and smart phones. A quiet environment, say a study or the public library, may provide the necessary focus to accomplish the task at hand.

  1. Try monotasking

With multitasking being all the rage nowadays, monotasking might seem quite antiquated. However, much progress can be made in writing or editing when this is the sole task allocated for a particular time span. Things such as answering to emails or making calls are addressed in the morning or some other time rather than in the middle of writing or editing; of course, with the exception of emergencies.

  1. Take care of your health

Time and health are your greatest assets. As such, it is imperative that you take care of your health. This calls for taking a balanced diet, having adequate rest and exercising regularly. This will translate into a healthy body and a sharp mind.

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