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Bob Bly is one of the most successful writers I’ve known. He has always been one of my role models as a professional writer.
So here is a newsletter that I received from Bob this morning. I liked it so much that I asked his permission to reprint it here. He kindly agreed. Read the way an accomplished communicator who started his career as a chemical engineer and a technical writer spends a typical day at work and see if that sounds like you or not 🙂
by Bob Bly
A subscriber to my Direct Response Letter recently wrote me:
“Hey Bob, your guru Michael Masterson has already provided us with a description of his daily schedule. We would also be interested in knowing how you schedule your day.”
I’m afraid my schedule is much less diverse and interesting than Michael’s, though perhaps in its own way instructive:
I work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, from 7am to 7pm EST Monday through Friday.
That’s the ideal schedule, anyway.
Of course, there are the occasional unavoidable interruptions.
So to make up for lost time, I normally (but not always) put in 2-4 hours on Saturday.
Sundays I usually take off. And in really nice weather in the spring, I may leave an hour or two early on Friday evening to sit in the yard while the sun is still out and read the paper.
Of course, I do spend some weekends “working” — giving or taking seminars.
But those weekends are the exception, not the rule.
During the week, I devote the mornings to the tough work – writing copy for my clients.
I continue writing client copy after lunch for a few hours, until I lose steam.
The rest of my work day is spent on these tasks:
>> Managing my little Internet information marketing business, CTC Publishing.
>> Editing e-books written for CTC Publishing by my freelancers.
>> Writing my own books, articles, and columns.
>> Doing some blogging, social networking, and content syndication to promote my Internet business.
>> Routine correspondence with customers, readers, prospects, clients, colleagues.
>> Phone interviews with subject matter experts I must talk with to gather information for writing projects.
During my 12-hour stint in the office, I take a half hour off for lunch.
Since I am along the entire day (we have a virtual office in which my assistants work in their own homes), I like to get out for lunch – for some fresh air and to see live people — when I can.
I usually eat lunch in a local coffee shop 3 days a week (the other 2 days I pick up something from across the street or eat the yogurt, oranges, and apples in my office fridge).
My office is a 20-minute drive from my house (I don’t work at home), so that adds another 40 minutes to my 12-hour work day.
I use car time to listen to audio CDs. These include my own audio programs, which I listen to as a quality check.
They also include the many CD programs sent to me by marketers who want me to promote their audio information products to my list as an affiliate.
So … what can you take away from my work habits that can help you be more productive?
Here are 2 quick tips….
First, notice that I work a 12-hour day.
When a reporter asked the great Claude Hopkins why he earned twice as much as any other copywriter of his day, he answered that he worked twice as long.
One key to super-productivity is simply to put your nose to the grindstone, dedicate yourself to work, and get things done.
Motivational speakers and coaches implore us to work smarter, not harder.
But most of the really successful people I know work smarter and harder than their competitors.
The other tip is to break your work day into one-hour increments and assign a different task to each hour.
This is particularly useful on days when you can’t seem to get moving or motivated.
Just write out the schedule … and do for the hour what it says on the schedule.
My reader also asked me about hobbies and travel, but there isn’t much to tell here.
That’s because another key to my productivity is that, for better or worse, I don’t indulge much in either: hobbies or travel.
I don’t enjoy travel and would much rather be home.
As for hobbies, parenting a special needs child and working the schedule I do leave little time for anything else.
What I really love to do is write. So work is my “hobby.”
I like to read, and I have a few minor interests (e.g., a 92-gallon aquarium).
But I have no real major hobbies like collecting antiques or oil painting.
I do have a big comic book collection dating back to the early 1960s, but my sons have taken it over.
And I’m taking a writing course here locally at The Writing Center in Englewood, NJ.
A boring life?
Maybe to you.
But it suits me just fine, thanks.
P.S. If you want to know what I am doing currently, on a weekly or daily basis, you can follow “Robertbly” on Twitter.
Just click on the link below and search the name Robertbly: