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The Future Belongs to Those Who Create Their Own Opportunities

3 Productivity Hacks for Busy Writers

Happy February! I have to be honest with you… Ever since I had gone back to doing a 9 to 5 job, my ability to keep my life in order has decreased, significantly. Now don’t get me wrong, when I was only doing freelance writing for a year, I had never worked so hard in my life. I was putting in 16 hour days just trying to learn what I was doing all while doing what was often low paying writing work. It was hard, but I loved it. To be honest, it never really felt like hard work. I was just learning a lot of new and interesting stuff that invigorated me so much that the long days literally just flew by. However when I was offered my current temporary job as an editor, I thought it would be easy to just plug in my business during the evening hours. I was soooo wrong…

Surviving the 9 to 5 Hustle

I edit standardized test questions for my local K-12 school system (boring, I know…). However in some ways it’s a great gig because my work is not complicated, just tedious. The pay is decent. I don’t have to sit through anybody’s ridiculous meetings about shit we discussed a million times already (as is the norm in education settings…). I never have to come in early, stay late, or take work home with me. I pretty much show up, do what’s asked of me, then bounce at 4:30pm.

What I did not plan for is how much my brain would be fatigued at the end of the day. When creating content is your love, it’s kind of difficult to come home after a day of fixing jacked up sentences written by supposedly educated teachers in charge of Florida’s future (God help us all…). To be honest, by the end of the day, my creativity is shot. However, I have no choice but to pull it together because June 30th will be my final day there. The grant that pays for my position will be complete and to be honest, I am not interested in continuing with the project even if I was offered the opportunity. For some strange reason, I enjoy having lunch breaks longer than 30 minutes (what happened to labor laws???).

So now that I see an end to this job in the near horizon, it means that I have to get my ass in gear so that my business will be in a much better position in June 2015 than it was in June 2014 when I started.

I know that many of you may be in this same 9 to 5 limbo. You want to give your all to your wellness business, but your day job is sucking the life out of you. So here are a few keys to keeping your writing productivity on track so that you can get more quality outcomes out of the few hours you do have to put towards your passion.

  1. Writing Productivity Hack #1: Go to Bed Early, Then Wake Up Early. I know some of you may not be morning people. Hell, sometimes I don’t think that I am either. However waking up at 4am gives me a solid 2 hours of the day to devote to my business before my brain gets jumbled up with other people’s stuff. My hubby doesn’t bother me because he’s sleep. I don’t bother to check on email. I only focus on one or two projects that require my undivided attention. And you know what? Shit gets done! I feel good about what I got completed. And I can go on about my day on a high note, which of course carries on throughout the day. Stop giving the best of your brain to your employer. Wake up early (which also means you have to go to bed early, which is about 9pm for me.) and see just how much more productive you can be.
  2. Writing Productivity Hack #2: Outsource the Activities You Don’t Want to Do or Don’t Do Well. I have to thank my mentor, Dr. Venus Opal Reese, for this tip. Her latest blog post talks about black women’s need to be strong and how it keeps us from growing our money. I took that to mean I need to start outsourcing the stuff I don’t want to do, or don’t do particularly well. And it doesn’t have to be something within your business either. I have heard other entrepreneurs say that their business productivity went up the moment they hired cleaning help. So that’s what I did. This past Monday, I paid a local woman $35 to come in and clean my 500 square foot apartment from top to bottom. This has been the best money I have spent in years. I walked in from work after she had done her magic and the whole place smelled like rosemary essential oil. Everything was in its place. The bathroom was so clean, I could eat off the floor. My hubby’s dialysis supplies (which take up what seems like half the space of the apartment at times) was neatly put away in the walk-in closet where I don’t have to look at it. The clutter from the corners was gone. I could think again. I was able to sit down at my writing space and begin to write and plan content. So why didn’t I do this earlier? I somehow thought that having someone clean for you was for the rich and famous. Naahhh! Hiring someone to clean for you is for people who need to get stuff done and don’t have the time to sit there and figure it out by themselves. I’m thinking about outsourcing all kinds of other stuff in my business: social media, marketing emails, website development, etc.
  3. Writing Productivity Hack #3: Reclaim Your Writing Space. My hubby created that beautiful sign you see at the top of this blog post. He’s a carpenter and decided he wanted to make me a sign for my writing space. Garlic & Lemons Media Group is the official name of my company. Having that sign in the corner lets me and others know that this is my work space and it should be respected as such. This is not a place for you to eat your dinner, dump your junk mail, or put your feet up. In such a small apartment, it may be difficult to decipher between personal and work space. This sign does it for me. I also have a small shelf of products, photos, and other items from women I admire. My favorite is a piece of a greeting card written by my mom who has passed on. It says: “With Love, Mom.” I may be 37 years old, but I still need my mama. So I like to keep her handwritten note close by. My writing space is also directly across from a big window where I get to look at trees, rolling hills, and a pond filled with ducks and other Florida birds. It’s simply beautiful. Is your writing space covered up with laundry, old papers, and dust? How does that affect your ability to create? What can you do to reclaim your writing space?

So that’s what I have for you this week! Are any of these hacks helpful for you? Do you want some help implementing any of these productivity hacks so you can get your book done? You’re in luck! We are in the last days of my complementary Author Jam Session. Right now, you can set up a 15-minute session for no charge by sending me an email to This will only last through the end of February 2015. Starting March 1st, these sessions will be longer and for a fee. So come on and set up your complementary session! I love to hear from you. And people really are taking what they learn from their sessions and implementing what they learned. Clarity is great that way!



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Halona Black is a freelance writer, author, and marketing consultant. Her journey to becoming a professional writer began as a blogger sharing her thoughts on improving education for youth and adult learners. Blogging opened the door to consulting and speaking opportunities within the field.

Halona transitioned into writing about health and wellness after having surgery for uterine fibroids. She turned to blogging once again, sharing her personal journey towards learning how to cook healthy meals, addressing body image issues, and creating a self care regimen. The blog turned into her first best selling book, “Loving My Fibroids Away: A 10-Day Detox Plan.”

Today, Halona combines her love for healthy food and wellness in an online magazine – She shares recipes and healthy living tips for women age 40+. She also advises natural health brands and fellow independent creators on personal brand development, content strategy, and book publishing via

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