Is creating systems really worth the time it takes? What systems do you need in place to ensure you can write and publish to your full potential? I’m giving you 3 systems you need in place to write and publish more.
Systems are the key to a calm, joyful and highly productive academic career. When you have the right systems in place, you don’t waste time and energy on repeated decision-making. With systems, your boundaries are preset, you know what’s coming next, how to choose projects, how to pick back up when you’ve had to step back from your writing, and so much more.
Keep in mind that a system is not the same thing as a behavior, or a habit you hope to build. A goal of writing 500 words per day is not a system. Systems are layered, robust tools and processes that support your needs in a given area.
Here are the most important foundational systems for writing and publishing, and some of the characteristics they need to have for maximum effectiveness..
“Systems, [remove] a lot of that decision-making energy, and decision-making time.” -Cathy Mazak
Time Management Systems
A system for managing your time isn’t as simple as a bullet journal, or a calendar. Those could be components of your system, but you really need something layered. Your time needs will change as your career progresses, so you need something that can be flexible, and grow with you.
A sustainable time management systems needs:
- A way to manage your schedule, for yourself and as it interacts with other people. I suggest a scheduling system like Calendly in conjunction with your calendar app of choice. This let’s you set your boundaries ahead of time, so people know what to expect and you can stay hands-off.
- A systematic approach for evaluating new activities and a method for when and why you say yes or no. This should also include regular points throughout the year when you cull activities that have accumulated on your schedule but don’t belong there.
A complete writing system needs many layers and available tools to help you sustain your writing, or pick it back up if you have to step away from it for a time. We use my “soaring system” in our programs to create the facets needed for a successful system.
A sustainable writing system needs:
- A focus on relationship. In our programs, we emphasize the need for a positive relationship with your writing. Nurturing that relationship and creating opportunities for positive feelings keeps you coming back.
- Re-entry points. Life happens, and you might need to take a step back from writing at some point. If your system relies on waiting for vacation to write, or big chunks of time that may disappear, it won’t be easy to keep it up or jump back in.
- Ways to create momentum. We use “soar states” as part of our system. This involves leveraging your natural high energy times, and utilizing co-writing. We also use a variety of other layers and tools like evaluating personal task completion times, writing sprints, and retreats.
“When you have systems, you can get back on track.” -Cathy Mazak
Pipeline and Planning Systems
These are grouped together because they are so closely intertwined. What is a pipeline other than a giant project plan? Reflecting (without judgement) on how to break down projects into tasks and how long it takes you to complete those tasks will help you figure out how to set up your pipeline for success.
A sustainable pipeline and planning system needs:
- Tangibility. You need to be able to see your pipeline mapped out, know what is moving through it and where each project is on the timeline.
- To be personal to you. Once you figure out how long it takes you to complete tasks, you’ll be able to create a personalized pipeline that works for you. Don’t worry about how fast you are. Predictability is better than speed.
- Adaptability. Your pipeline needs to be editable, and flexible enough to change and grow with your needs.
So, where do you want to be in a year? Do you need to implement or hone your systems? What support do you need to help you accomplish your goals?
These three systems are the foundation of our Navigate program because we know firsthand that when you have these things in place you feel calm, in control and have the tools you need to go where you want to go in your career.
When you have this foundation and the support you need, not only will your publication capacity increase, but you’ll have a ripple effect on those around you. Students, staff, other academics, and your family will all get to see you navigating your career with calm and control.
The window to apply for this year’s Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap is small: Black Friday to Cyber Monday. If it sounds like the program for you, don’t miss your chance! Here’s a quick reminder of what you’ll get if you join us:
- 10 teaching modules delivered via video and audio, choose what works best for you.
- Support to implement what you learn
- Daily access to co-writing with like-minded peers
- Weekly group coaching calls for creating a momentum mindset (content provided if you can’t make the call time)
- 5 Milestones supported throughout the year, with email coaching and celebration with our coaches
- Ask Me Anything video messages where I answer any questions you might have
- A vibrant online community where you can connect, ask questions, and share challenges and wins
Doors open Black Friday. Click here to enroll: https://cathymazak.com/navigate/
Do you have a writing project languishing, mired in the messy middle, or stuck on revise and resubmit? Grab my Writing Sprint Blueprint, a powerful productivity tool to help stalled out publications get out of your pipeline and into the world. As a bonus, you’ll also gain access to my private podcast feed “Stick to the Plan”, a 10 episode series of short, inspirational messages to keep you going. Click here to get the Writing Sprint Blueprint and “Stick to the Plan” podcast series for just $27!
Connect with me:
Follow me on Clubhouse: @cathymazak