6-22 The Fascinating 1920s with Lauri Robinson

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Create a Productivity Habit in 2019

by Madelle Morgan

So much to do, so little time

My 2019 is off to a busy start. How about you?

My To-Do list is long. During the day something always seems to come up to pull me away from what I meant to do. My precious free time is squeezed to a few evening hours, and that sliver involves watching TV or reading.

No doubt you are familiar with this writing advice, which I'm sure works for some people: 

  • Get up early to write. Ha. I got up early for most of my life for school and jobs. Now that I'm retired, NO WAY.
  • Write in 15 minute increments. I need a block of time to get rolling.
  • Dictate while driving or doing other chores. I can only focus on one thing at a time.
  • Get off social media. I already limit it.
  • Cut out TV/reading in the evening and write. Good luck with that. My brain is tired.
  • Make writing a priority. Easier said than done when there are a lot of competing demands.
  • Etc.

There has to be another way.

When on the lookout for some fresh, no-fail tips on how to fit more in my day, I bought The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

It turns out this book is not what I expected. I'm still working my way through Part One, and there is no mention of time management, establishing priorities, task lists, etc. At least not yet.

This book's tag line describes what it is about: powerful lessons in personal change. Covey's goal is to teach us how to become a better person, a better spouse, a better manager, and a better leader. We all want to do that, right? No wonder there are over 25 million copies sold.

Covey includes this quote:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.—Aristotle

Half of our days are taken up with habitual, no brain power-required behaviors. We make coffee and breakfast, we shower, we check our email and social media, we buy the same groceries every week and make many of the same meals over and over. We are habitual creatures.

Therefore it follows that a person can create a productivity habit. 

Now, I have not read past page 53. Reading this book is slow going, requiring time to reflect and absorb the content. I could probably read each chapter three times and still learn something.

One thing no book needs to tell me: radical change is almost impossiblea recipe for failure. Changing a habit is not easy. Unless that habit is getting up in the dark to get ready for work.

However, expanding upon an established habit is much, much easier!

I thought about productivity habits I already have. 

√  I have a To-Do list of tasks, which is written in a section of my agenda.

√  I keep an agenda with all my appointments, including fitness classes that repeat week after week.

√  I look at my agenda every morning to see what I'll be doing, at what time, and for how long.

√  I actually follow through on appointments that are booked in my schedule.

Does this sound like you?  Then you and I can easily expand this habitual behavior to a new, improved productivity habit. 


An agenda could be a physical book or an app on your phone. You must have the ability to book start and end times.

Step 1. Review your To-Do list

Step 2. For each "must do" item, make an appointment with yourself in your agenda. In that fifteen minutes, half hour or hour, that task is your priority. Be realistic about the time you can devote 100% to that task. Don't block off Saturday morning to write if you also have to drive your kid to an activity and bake a cake for a party. Those are separate appointments with specific time slots allocated to them.

Step 3. Life happens. If you have to cancel the appointment to do something else, reschedule the task as if it were as important as a dentist or hair appointment.

I booked an appointment in my agenda to write this post. It works!

Productivity is really this simple:

#1 Book each task into your agenda.

#2 Reschedule missed appointments.

Optional Recommendation: 

#3. Book an hour every month to read a chapter of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

What are your existing productivity habits? How could you expand those to a new, improved productivity habit?


Madelle Morgan is a Canadian author who writes romance set in Canada.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Seduced by the Screenwriter Review

Cat and Chett’s characters are well developed, drawing the reader into their individual plights, while their campy banter keeps the story light and downright fun. Ms. Morgan keeps the plot moving with humorous situations and dialogue interspersed with exciting and poignant drama. A good read for a snowy afternoon. —Marc Joseph, InD’Tale magazine review, March 2018.

Madelle's romantic thriller DiamondHunter is a free read in Kindle Unlimited.

Follow Madelle on  TwitterFacebookGoodreadsPinterest, and Wattpad. For giveaways and new releases, subscribe to Madelle’s blog at www.MadelleMorgan.com.


Judith Ashley said...

Madelle, Judith Ashley here. Google/Blogger and I are having a bit of a tussle as to my being able to post here as me. So we shall see if I've figured out a work-around.

I totally agree with Creating Productivity Habits. Every Sunday I sit down with my calendar and make a To Do List for the next week noting any appts, calls, etc. And if I don't get it done on the scheduled day, I reschedule to another day. Every night I write down the top tasks for the next day on the marker board on my refrigerator. The most beneficial productivity process I've developed having to do with my writing is figuring out My Process - and that is not getting up early to write or staying up late to write.

Now to see if Blogger will let me post this comment.

Sarah Raplee said...

This is an interesting approach, Madelle. I'm going to look into this further.

Madelle Morgan said...

Hi Judith, you are already way more organized than I am or than even I suggest. Good tips! :)

Unknown said...

I have many lists and post it notes with my things to do today on them but have forgotten to look at them. Now I set up alarms on my phone to keep me on time. Thanks for the tips. Anne

Luanna Stewart said...

Ever since I started scheduling writing tasks and treating them like they're just as important as a dentist appointment I've made great progress. I have a calendar for my writing life and a planner for my personal life and a goal setting planner for my writing life. Even so, things fall through the cracks, or I'm just so dang tired I can't concentrate, and that's when I reschedule. And I keep rescheduling until that task is completed, gol darn it!!

Judith Ashley said...

Madelle, Thanks for the compliment. I write the major items on the marker board because I don't remember to look at my To Do List - need back-up plan. If I was more techie, I'd use the suggestion to set up alarms on my phone.