Imagine that you are a busy professional who works in multiple places and is required to collate information into reports or publications such as research papers. Added to this, maybe you are someone who experiences overwhelm because you know that you have challenges associated with writing large pieces of copy. You always deliver and no one knows that your challenges result in having to work longer and harder to get that work completed compared to what you think your peers do. The challenges could include distractibility, problems with concentration and focus, organising information, and time management along with a sickening sense of overwhelm.
It is possible that with feeling overwhelmed, you experience high levels of procrastination, and it seems like you only ever seem to be in ‘the creative flow’ when you are producing your content the night before the deadline. You probably tell yourself that you are always so much more productive when you do things in the last minute but deep down you know that if you had engaged earlier in the task, you probably would have delivered a better piece of work.
The problem with doing things at the last minute is that one does so with the hope that they have everything they need to hand to complete the work to a satisfactory level. That may work for you but what if you are someone who doesn’t have a successful strategy for making sure that all the information you need is easily accessible? What if you can’t find that crucial piece of information that you thought you had written down, but you can’t remember which notebook you wrote it in? Writing that report the night before the deadline might end up being a very long night!
It doesn’t have to be like this.
Let us share three tips with you that can help you to be more productive, produce better quality written work as well as reduce those feelings of overwhelm.
Tip One – Reducing overwhelm.
Fact! If you are feeling overwhelmed, then you are simply not going to access your creative flow as much as if you are feeling confident about what you need to do.
Sometimes, we can make the mistake of thinking that we will save time if we simply crack on with the work without the initial stage of preparing ourselves for the work. It is helpful to schedule small chunks of time with a specific goal in mind that serve to complete the large body of work rather than assign yourself a six-hour stint in your diary entitled “Write that important report!”
Small chunks of time focusing on specific goals, will result in you more likely making progress in chipping away at the larger task as well as reducing self-imposed pressure that will ultimately work against you. This strategy enhances focus, is good for your mental well-being, and should result in you successfully delivering on the key milestones that bring about the delivery of your larger body of work. It also means that you won’t be relying on doing it at the last minute, earning yourself the evening off before you have to submit.
Tip Two - Use a good strategy for collecting your information sources.
There are often two elements that have to be considered when collating information sources in preparation for a large body of written work. The first is finding and storing that information and the second is being able to quote the information so as to justify any claims that you make in your text.
The first step probably involves using an internet browser to find research sources and this is great, but many people don’t really know how useful the information is that they have found at first pass, and with an internet browser the temptation is to open multiple browser tabs, each with one piece of potentially useful information. The more tabs that you open, the more your computer starts to slow down and cause problems.
The other challenge is that you then have to still record the information from each tab which could result in cumbersome steps of copying and pasting information into a Word document or similar. A huge risk is that before or during that step, the browser accidentally gets closed down and all your collated information is lost, and you have to go and find it all again thus wasting valuable time on that crucial evening before the deadline.
Imagine if you could do an internet search and simply collect any information that you find for discernment later on. You don’t need to copy and paste, but you can click a couple of buttons and know that the information is stored and tagged against key projects. It is easily searchable and available for you to review later so that you can choose which sources you are going to use for your final piece of work.
What’s more, what if you could then take the chosen sources and then quote them in a format that is required by your organisation?
That all sounds great, but I use multiple devices for my own research and often there are no workplace-focused software tools that can work across multiple devices that can also help me to cite the sources correctly as well as build the bibliography automatically.
Actually, the answer is yes and it is called Pro-Workspace.
Watch the video below to see how it works:
Everything you collect, all in one place, all searchable and all sources prepared in such a way so that you can quote the information in the format that your organisation requires.
Safely collated information, that helps you to move through the researching phase quickly and then makes the writing phase so much simpler because you have all the information that you need to hand. This can help one to feel more confident and less overwhelmed because a strategy has been adopted that has simply eradicated all of those little problems that disrupt focus and productivity.
Tip Three - Make sure you have all the resources you need to hand to support your writing.
This tip is partly a summary of the first two but adds a couple of thoughts for you to consider.
If you are prone to feeling overwhelmed with large writing tasks, procrastinate a lot, and experience frustration all through the process then not only do the first and second tips help but taking a ‘bigger picture’ approach to simply preparing yourself to be able to deliver your best work every time is useful. In much the same way of thinking as athletes who prep for that certain sports event, we can do the same for those challenging tasks.
Here are some concepts to consider:
Think about why you might be feeling overwhelmed. Focus on the causation rather than the problem. Is there anything that you need to support you emotionally whilst you deliver on those daunting writing tasks? Good nutrition, hydration, and enough sleep the night before?
Is there a better place to work in that inspires you to get your head down or do you need to rearrange your workspace to help you to avoid clutter and improve focus?
Is it too noisy where you work thus causing distractions? Would moving to a quieter space work or using noise-canceling earphones?
Are you utilising software tools such as text-to-speech or speech-to-text to help you with the writing task? Using a keyboard and a mouse isn’t great for everyone and for some, being able to listen to what they have written can be a much better way of spotting those spelling and grammar mistakes.
We hope that you find our three tips for improving the productivity and quality of written reports in the workplace. If you would like to find out more about Pro-Workspace, then click the banner below to find out more.