Burnout Productivity

Breaking Free: Diverse Writers Revamp the Rules of Productivity

Last week I re-shared a Tweet that seemed to resonate with over 19K people who struggle with productivity advice that doesn’t fit their lives:

I received so many replies and DMs from diverse writers: 

• burned-out parents and caregivers

• dyslexic, neurospicy, and marginalised people

• creatives who don’t have someone else in their household picking up the slack 

• writers with health issues, brain fog or burnout

• people who carry heavy emotional load for themselves and others

Of course, everyone can share their experiences and insights on productivity. The problem is, most advice in books and on socials comes from white, privileged, single men.

And when those tips don’t work for you, you are left with guilt, frustration, and the sense you’re ‘doing it wrong.’

In today’s newsletter, you will:

• write your own rules

• stop feeling guilty

• create flexibile productivity strategies

Most productivity advice overlooks diverse experiences. Can you break free and make your own rules?

Let me show you my exact steps to make my own rules related to common productivity advice:

(1) avoiding weekend work

(2) batching tasks

(3) prescribed methods of recovery  

Rule 1: Don’t work on weekends

Generic hack: Keep weekends laptop-free.  

Inclusive Perspective: May I remind everyone that weekends are not “free” if you’re a parent, carer, or have health issues?

Rule Revision: I am never laptop-free on weekends because I love writing, and I snatch up any time I get to do it. With an early end to my day during the week (thanks to school run) I use extra pockets of time on weekends as my personal choice.

What’s your rule revision on weekend work?

Rule 2: Batch all tasks

Generic hack: Batch your writing, admin tasks, meetings into specific days and avoid to mix and match.

Inclusive Perspective: Many writers and creatives have complicated schedules, childcare, appointments that are not movable. If you’re neurospicy, you might get really bored doing the same thing all day.

Rule Revision: Instead of batching tasks into days, I split my days in half:

• 9-12:00: Writing and focus time

• 1-3pm: Meetings, coaching, podcast interviews, business planning

• Before and after: Childcare! 

What’s your rule revision on batching tasks?

Rule 3: Prescribed recovery

Generic hack: Recover with a  long nature walk, yoga, meditation, sports, music, art activities, meeting friends, getting fresh air

Inclusive Perspective: If you suffer from auto-immune illness, sensory overload, or sheer exhaustion, active recovery can become another chore.  

Rule Revision: My recovery day is Thursday. Since leaving academia to be a writing coach, I am privileged to have this ‘free’ day. But I’m keeping it open for anything I want to do, without pressure.

Sometimes, that’s ‘unhealthy’ snacks, Netflix, cuddling up on the couch with curtains closed. I fully let go of any expectations on myself as a mum, entrepreneur or writer. 

How would you rewrite the recovery rule for yourself?

The most important skill I learned was to stay flexible when I see other people’s productivity rules.

I am compassionate towards myself and make my own rules (and I change them when my life circumstances shift).

I call it “Compassionate” or “Flexible” Productivity. 

I’m fully aware that I myself give many productivity tips in this newsletter that might sound like ‘fixed rules’. If you felt that way, please adjust them to your life (that’s what I do in my 1-1 and group coaching).

How to get started today

If you want to try out simple principles goal setting,consider using The Write Habit Planner. It comes with a free online course that gives you tips to adjust the planning process to your life.

And if you’re serious about your article, book, or other writing project and need accountability and coaching to build your tailored writing system, there’s no better place to start than the 90-Day Writing Accelerator. Join the waitlist here.

Your coach,


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