Oct 2, 2015  •  6 min read

Freelance Writer Jojo Scoble on Productivity and How She Uses Noisli

My name is Josephine, but people call me Jojo.
I qualified from my PhD (zoology; microbiology) in 2013 from University of Oxford and did a post-doc year in Saskatchewan, Canada, where I started my blog about how academics use social media and online tools to help them in their careers.

I was always the ‘go to’ person for social media questions among my peers and at my college where I was in charge of newsletters and social media for events. When I returned to England from my post-doc I decided to try out a career in blogging and also carry on with my desire to write novels since the blog was going so well and I got more enjoyment from that than my research. I’m working on my second draft of my second novel about a woman I met in Canada whose dog saved her life.


Freelance Writer Jojo Scoble on Productivity and How She Uses Noisli

1) What is your relationship with productivity?

I am obsessed with organising myself (not anyone else though).
I think it’s because I lose track easily and get caught up in tasks or get easily distracted and start a new project without finishing or struggling to finish the old one. When I was younger I remember keeping lists in my head, priding myself on not forgetting things, but when I did forget I would get very upset and treat it as a personal failure since people would often tell me how bad my memory is.

I have, in the last few years, found out I have been dealing with symptoms of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and with a little hyperactivity thrown in, which would explain a hell of a lot about my grades at school; despite my best intentions I got low grades even though I was predicted high. Even though the diagnosis is recent I’ve done really well in counter-acting the symptoms with coping strategies.

I blogged about productivity and the best apps to help you focus, which is when I found out about Noisli.

2) Which are your biggest struggles as a freelance writer and how do you deal with them?

Having only been a freelance writer for 9 months I have quickly realised a few things including; how long it takes to write articles for someone else and changing style isn’t easy (creative novels and technical). Finding out exactly what the customer wants and keeping it light enough and not including too many British colloquialisms or societal references can be especially tough when you want to describe something and it’s just the best way to say it.

The secret for me is NOT to put the pressure on. I’m doing this job because I am doing something I love so why make it harder by being a bad boss to yourself – allow yourself those long walks and coffee breaks with old friends, but be responsible to your dream-job.

I’m writing a technical book at the moment and the novelty wears pretty thin – the end is so close and I know what I want to write but it’s just a bunch of links and references and I feel like I’m writing my doctoral thesis again, but this time the judging will be much much harsher, cuz it’s the public, so I feel so pressured to make sure it’s perfect before publication. I try to complete tasks by breaking them down and drinking lots of tea so the effects get me out of my seat so I don’t sit for too long ;)

3) Where do you typically work from and how is your work environment organised?

I get distracted really really easily.
I would love to write in coffee shops but I can only write emails and do general administration in places like those. I find I am a more effective, efficient and fluid writer when I am in a room without anything except my laptop – and second monitor so I can have multiple windows open. People pay me to write by the hour so I feel a duty to get jobs done in these controlled environments and Noisli has helped spur on my writing by keeping me fixed to my desk in a calmed but in an exciting way since I always have the urge to move around.

I keep my desk as simple as possible with a journal pad to my right and the days projected tasks scribbled down, a flask of hot coffee or tea and a replica of Dylan Thomas’ mug (Welsh writer and poet) I drink out of, and an oil heater, jumper and hat – I get cold very easily.

4) Which offline and online tools are you using that help you with your productivity?

There is one app I use to time the tasks I do so I can see how long I spend on them, Toggl. This is also a great app for invoicing clients. I use it for all my tasks, paid and unpaid, so I keep track of my writing productivity although there are a lot of administration jobs and other things that keep me busy that won’t be logged on there.

When I do online research for writing jobs I use either Pocket or Evernote to clip articles.
Google Docs has been very useful to share writing documents between me and clients since we can see each other’s edits and suggestions without multiple copies of the document.

5) How do you integrate Noisli in your workflow?

I use Noisli when the pressure is really on for writing and I need to concentrate. There can be a bit of background noise in the house I work in which is intermittent, so it can go from being dead quiet to noisy so I find having a regular higher-frequency (not dull) noise is better at beating those intermittent noises out.

When things are quiet though I use a serene sound combination; cracking campfire and rain, which keeps me calm and in a kind of dream-like focus, but if I need to get super-focussed and quick I just add the train tracks and that keeps me energised and on course!


I use Noisli when the pressure is really on for writing and I need to concentrate.


6) How does a typical day look like for you?

I always always ALWAYS work best in the morning since I find my brain gets bogged down with extraneous information and tasks the more the day progresses. However, I find an afternoon walk with the dog or if it’s raining, a meditation calms my brain a bit. Exercise is really important too, I feel my body goes stagnant and so to get my blood pumping again I usually take a short run or go on my exercise bike.

Typically I get my most important writing tasks out of the way first thing (before emails), take a 15 minute break after 90 minutes, then carry on til I am hungry, (another 60-90 minutes), then have lunch, meditate or walk. I start work again at around 3pm, keep going til 5 at which time I do exercise.

If I work after my evening meal I usually find I’m too tired the morning after, so I really have to try not to sit at my desk after 5pm, luckily my iPad is a great tool for doing administration and other communication/social media chores.

Here is Jojo’s favorite Combo.



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Sabine
Sabine

Co-founder at Noisli



@sabinestaggl









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