Why it’s Good to be a “Chunky” Writer …

Welcome to your second day as a faster, more productive writer.

Yesterday, I showed you how to get more done by improving your typing skills. And today, I’ll show you how to reclaim up to 40% of your productive power each day, just by becoming a more “chunky” writer.

Getting chunky, you see, is a very special kind of task organization. It’s super-simple, but productivity experts from Tony Robbins to Tim Ferris all swear by it as an easy “brain hack” that helps you get more done in less time.

Here’s how it works:

Instead of making your to-do list and then attacking it from top to bottom, you divide your tasks into similar categories, or chunks.

One chunk, for example, might be household tasks. Doing laundry, washing the dishes, and making lunch would all go here.

Another chunk could be pre-writing tasks, like researching for key facts for a promo or outlining a new project.

A third chunk might be client-management work – sending out prospecting emails, meeting with an existing client, or following up on invoices.

You get the idea. And here’s why it works …

By grouping similar tasks together, your brain can focus on one kind of thing at a time. This helps you eliminate the mental downtime that strikes when you’re jumping between multiple tasks.

You see, psychologists have pinpointed that switching between kinds of tasks causes you to lose up to 40% of your productive power throughout the day. That’s a huge waste – and one you can easily avoid.

So, give “chunking” a try right now. Bring out your to-do list and look for activities that could be grouped together. Once you’ve identified your personal chunks, pick a chunk and go to work.

Let me know in the comments how this new way of focusing works for you. And then tomorrow, I’ll show you how to boost the power of chunking even more by adding tomatoes to the mix …

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Published: September 30, 2014

13 Responses to “Why it’s Good to be a “Chunky” Writer…”

  1. You're right, Jen. Being "chunky" can really slim down your day.

    Two days ago, I had a bunch of errands to run. Without fully realizing the future impact, I created "In Town" and "At the Lake" chunks.

    The result? I noticed an energy flow that I never paid attention to before.

    Completing my daily tasks seemed effortless. And instead of being wiped out at day's end, I felt refreshed and reinvigorated.

    Accomplishing more in less time let me be my own hero for a change. How cool is that?


  2. Please, really, please forgive me for what I am about to say. Really? You have to tell people to "chunk" things together to get them done? I'll be darned. I thought any mother, busy exec or even a teenager knows how to do that. I am honestly surprised that is is a revelation to people and that the likes of a Tony Robbins is selling this and people are buying it. It is common sense. To me it's just a DUH! Have you ever had to go grocery shopping in a hurry? If so, then you know to get like things toether and move on to the next "chunk" of things. OK, some may benefit from this, so for those folks, I say good luck. I mean no malice. I am truly surprised.

    Guest (lvj)

  3. I guess I'm a chunky writer already. If I'm working on an intensive article, I shut off email, don't answer phones and write until the muse leaves, which is usually when I've finished the first draft, if it's a short piece.


  4. I've tried it both ways and prefer chunking to what seems to a random to do list. Some how I thought I might get more done with a general to-do list but it depends on the day and usually I'm always more productive with chunking stuff into broad groups.

    Guest (edna)

  5. Sadly these days, nothing is more uncommon than common sense. Sometimes, stating the obvious is exactly what folks need to observe and act on what's staring them right in the face.

    All of us have done "speed shopping" in the grocery store. So why do we have to be in a hurry before maximizing our time management skills? Therein lies Jen's point: the more effectively we organize ourselves on a daily basis, the less likely we'll waste time or feel the need to go into hamster wheel crisis mode.


  6. I am totally going to try this.

    Karo Harris

  7. Surprised at the "chunking" suggestion?

    Not me.

    I remind myself of humility and willingly seek ideas from others.

    And I resist prancing around thinking "oh, I know that!" -- rather -- preferring to seek ways to do stuff better than I do now.

    Thank you for your article Jen Adams.

    You helped me today.

    Mike Searles

  8. I really enjoyed this piece of writing called "Chunking" and look forward to tomorrows when you add tomatoes to the mix.

    Thanking you, Kathleen

    Guest (Kathleen Blanchfield)

  9. I honestly can't believe this is something people need to pay to learn! I've been doing this all of my life. If you do it in all aspects of your life, things are FAR easier. I apply it to grocery shopping just to get done faster by making my grocery lists in "chunks" based on where items are located in the store. As an event planner, volunteer coordinator, and marketer, it's the only way to get through everything with your sanity intact. Realistically, it's about organizing and prioritizing.

    Guest (Rusty)

  10. Hi Jen,

    The "chunking" idea is one I'd never considered. Great idea!

    But do you really think that a brain cares one way or the other how you group tasks? I doubt it. My brain didn't decide to take AWAI's courses; I did. My brain doesn't study and become a more persuasive writer; I do. My brain assists to make my fingers press the right key when typing; it has no judgment or opinion.

    I appreciate the chunking idea. I'll use it. The brain and what psychologists think is not persuasive to me.


  11. As a busy mother and business owner I found this advice very helpful, thank you!

    Guest (Kristen)

  12. I have tried Chunking for 2 days so far and it works really great. I felt more at ease and relaxed and was able to get more tasks accomplished. On the 2nd half of the 1st day, I had numerous interruptions and didn't seem to be able to get much accomplished. It also left me feeling frustrated. I am trying to keep the interruptions to a minimum and so far to day I can say yippee!

    Glen O Myers AmericanArtist and CopyWriter

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