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How CCTV can help improve your productivity

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
2 min read

Okay, so as I mentioned in my post about prioritising your priorities, I’m spending much of this summer editing my novel into shape. That’s because I now have a literary agent, which is very exciting, although not what this post is about.
If you’d like to know more about that, you can do so by going here and I’ll no doubt be blogging about it on Write for Your Life in time. There’s lots of good stuff in the pipeline, so don’t go away!

CCTV = productivity

Anyway, I’ve spent most of the weekend in the kitchen with my laptop, notebooks, various drafts and a cup of tea. Yesterday went pretty well and I got quite a bit done. Today though was much more sluggish and I found myself really struggling to, you know, ‘get my head down’.

Then I had an idea. A silly idea really, but one that helped force me to stay in one place and get on with my work. Essentially, I filmed myself writing. More than that, I filmed myself writing with the promise (to myself) that I would show the results to other people (that’s you).

And it worked out pretty well! Knowing that I’d get caught out if I got up and did something else for half an hour, I more or less rooted myself to the chair. Of course, there were natural breaks, including cat feeding, phone answering and toast making, but on the whole, the experiment was a success.

The results can be seen by watching the video above. It was filmed over roughly three and a half hours where I got more work done than in the rest of the day put together. Obviously, it’s rather boring viewing, but that’s not the point. It helped improve my productivity at a time when I was struggling.

How did I do it?

Well, I have an iPhone (sorry), but not one of those fancy new ones with video capability. So instead I found an application called TimeLapse, which can be set up to take still images at a set interval. Stitched together, those images provide a cut down version of events.

Obviously, you can also use a normal camera to create similar time-lapse videos, so long as it has the ability to automatically take snaps at set intervals. You could also just film yourself with a normal video camera or phone with a video recording function.

Over to you!

So what do you think? Might self-inflicted CCTV help you with your writing? The key thing is that promise. If you don’t commit to showing other people, you could still take your half an hour breaks and no one would be any the wiser. For me, the filming worked because it created that positive pressure.

I’d be really interested to know if you have a go at this yourself. In fact, I actively challenge you to do so! You never know, together we could create the most boring, yet potentially fascinating video gallery in the world. Posssibly. Maybe.

Share your thoughts using the comment section below.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.

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