Give Me a Break!

Last week was my Spring Break, and I decided to repeat my productivity experiment from Winter Break. In winter, I challenged myself to write 1,000 words on my work-in-progress every day. This time, I left the choice of which project to work on more open and focused on time commitment. I tried to write for at least an hour each day, and reach 750 words collectively on different projects.

This break, I reached my goal every day! Most of the time I wrote over a thousand words per day, even on projects I haven’t worked on in quite a while. I also expanded one idea, moving it closer to a point where I might start more concentrated development. I stayed around the one hour mark per day, sometimes going over but not often. I’m not particularly upset by this. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild arrived at the beginning of Spring Break, so I’m just happy I was able to maintain my productivity as well as I did!

I’ve planned to do a similar daily goal in the summer, with a minimum of two hours per day and 1,000 words. During the school year, my structured work schedule usually keeps me writing. When things get really busy, I like to have a little flexibility to reduce my writing commitment if I absolutely have to (though I usually keep it as a last resort). However, during breaks, especially longer vacation times like summer and winter, I can tend to slack off.

There’s nothing bad about taking a break from everything, but I tend to write more and write better when I have plenty of momentum. I’ve found that presenting my writing goal as a personal challenge can keep me writing, and make some amazing progress while I don’t have much else to do. I also want to make sure I get as much writing experience as I can before college. I know my projects, lifestyle, and schedule will change a lot this fall, so I want to make plenty of progress on my current works-in-progress.

My structured breaks apply to more than just my writing. I’ve found that weekend checklists can streamline my productivity. For example, I know my room can get cluttered and disorganized during a busy week, so I try to tidy up at least one area each day of the weekend. I try to structure my longer breaks with checklists for cleaning, exercise, and other chores while including slots for “fun work” like writing, crafts, or playing Legend of Zelda.

As a treat for reaching my writing goal every day of Spring Break I ordered myself some planner stickers off Etsy. Got to give the inner artist some encouragement! Hopefully the momentum I built up last week will keep me writing for many more weeks to come. I’m looking forward to the results of Summer Break!

Do you tend to set goals for yourself, or are you more creative when you don’t have any minimums?

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