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In July's writing challenge, we focused on productivity. And I think a follow-up quick tip is a good way to close things out. Even if you didn't take part in this month's challenge you can use one of these techniques on your own time.

The best thing you can do if you want to improve your productivity as a writer is to figure out where you're wasting time so you can reallocate it to more important tasks. Here are two possible ways you can do that, both explored in this month's challenge:

  1. Use a time tracking app, like Toggl, to keep track of how you spend your working hours. That includes client writing, work on your books, time spent on blog posts, emails, research, social media, browsing the Web, etc. Everything.
  2. If you prefer to focus on word counts, keep track of every single thing you write over the course of a week including emails, social media updates, blog posts, client work, text messages, outlines and notes, etc. Then tally up your total word count to find out how many "wasted" words you write in a day that could otherwise go towards billable hours, your books, or your blogs.

I went the word count route for the challenge, and I was surprised (well, maybe) to find that I could make time for another few thousand words everyΒ dayΒ if I wanted to scale back social updates and emails to bare bones basics. My plan is to strike a balance somewhere in the middle. But if nothing else, I'm much more aware of the time I spend writing and whether or not that time is being well spent.

Do you have a favorite time tracking tool? Are you interested in finding out what your biggest time wasters are, or are you pretty sure you already know? Tell me about it in the comments.

On a related note, remember that tomorrow is the last day to vote for August's writing challenge. Get your vote in while you can, and join us on the forum to discuss your progress.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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