Joanna Penn: Eliminate What Keeps You From Being Productive

“To be a successful indie author means wearing many different hats.”

Hats! by arbyreed [detail]In an article on her site, author Joanna Penn continues:

“Indeed, to be successful at anything involves wearing many hats! But sometimes, we can look up from the mountainous To Do list and wonder what the hell is going on!”

She notes she has “spent a lot of time writing in my journals with a strategic focus, trying to decide what I want to achieve over the next 5 years, both as a creative and a business-woman.

I will be writing more books, and also focusing on turning those into multiple products – publishing direct on the main platforms in ebook and print, as well as focusing on audiobooks, foreign translations and other country markets.

“To make time for this, I do have to eliminate certain things…”

Penn also gives specific suggestions that can be helpful to writer entrepreneurs and other creative entrepreneurs.

“Indie authors are control freaks! That’s partly why we love doing everything associated with our books, but I am getting to a point where I need help with things that aren’t my core focus.

“I have just started using a fantastic Virtual Assistant (who I will introduce at some point!) and she is doing author-related things e.g. researching for book reviews. I am also using for specific jobs, and using specialists per job, rather than trying to find one person to do everything.”

Social media

Stephen King“I love Twitter and G+, particularly the serendipity of connecting with people who are not already in your circle. Facebook increasingly feels like pain to me, and I don’t like pain!…Times change, social networks rise and fall, and we have to be nimble and adapt accordingly.”

She concludes:

“How do you manage your time? What steps are you taking to manage your overwhelm? Are there things you’re considering eliminating?”

From her blog post “Productivity For Authors. Fighting Overwhelm And How I Am Refocusing My Workload” by Joanna Penn, April 24, 2014.

Joanna Penn is “a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers on the edge”, under the name J.F.Penn, and also writes non-fiction for authors.

Joanna PennBios on two of her sites note she is “also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013″ and, “Oxford educated, British born J.F.Penn has traveled the world in her study of religion and psychology.”

Her nonfiction titles include “How To Market A Book”; “Public Speaking For Authors, Creatives And Other Introverts”, and “Career Change: Stop hating your job, discover what you really want to do with your life, and start doing it!”

You can find them and her blog posts on her site:

The Creative Penn

The Creative Penn programs


Photo of Stephen King from my article Tolerating Chaos to Create – At least part of creating is a non-linear process involving the inner chaos of divergent thinking and imaginational intensity – and often the outer chaos of messy desks.

Another article of mine, related to overwhelm:
Multiple Talents, Multiple Passions, Burnout – Many multitalented people feel inspired and energized to pursue multiple creative projects, often at the same time. One potential downside is physical and emotional burnout.


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