Productive Activities and Strategies to Overcome Writer’s Block

“Writer’s block is a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity. There are alternative actions or specific strategies you can work with to overcome the blank slate in your head.” Wikipedia

All writers deal with writers block. The best activity you should start with is to take a break and relax. There are many things you can do to let your thoughts gather themselves. Did you know that some of the most unrelated activities allow you to start producing meaningful ideas.

Alternative Activities

-Taking a shower or bath or sit in a sauna or hot tub. Psychologists do say water has a mentally cleansing and stimulating quality.

– Give yourself a chance to take a quick nap. The moments during your pre- or post-sleep are great for ideas, thoughts and worries to float around in your head.

-Reading other materials unrelated to what you are working on. Look at pictures in or flip backwards through a magazine. Even one word can spark an idea.

-Take a walk around your neighborhood and watch everything that is going on around you, or cut your grass to get you outside and thinking about something else. This will allow your mind to wander and become creative.

– Take a 30-60 minute drive by yourself (remember to bring paper or a tape recorder, just in case). Getting away and listening to the monotonous sounds of your tires on the pavement kicks in the creativity after 30 minutes.

-Although not planned, or maybe not even tolerated by you, when you wake up in the middle of the night some of your best ideas are wanting to come out. Have paper (and a flashlight) by your bed or sneak to your PC. If you don’t write them down they may keep you up all night.

-The old stand-by that will work over and over again – Take a clean sheet of paper or a blank screen and just start writing. it does not matter what you write, just do not stop for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes read everything you wrote. You either came up with an idea to work with or you were able to get all the extra ‘stuff’ out of your head and can start writing again.

Specific Strategies

-Begin at the end. Wherever you are stuck you know where you wanted to get to. Write the end of that thought, chapter, or dialogue and work you way back.

-Talk the paper. Find someone who is willing to talk to you about the topic you are writing about. This is a more spontaneous way to communicate and you will be less stressed. Your listener can ask questions or interject their thoughts. If you can record the conversation so you don’t have to stop and write something down during the conversation.

-Tape the paper. If there is no one to talk with imagine that there is an audience and tape yourself either reading what you’ve written or ramble on about the topic. Transcribe your session and work with the new ideas you came up with.

-Change the audience. This strategy will help you clarify the purpose of what you are writing. Pretend you need to explain your topic slowly and in great detail to a child or someone new to the topic or debate with someone who strongly disagrees with you and defend your ideas. An entire new set of ideas may come out during this strategy.

-Play a role. See your topic from the point of view of someone from an earlier time period, a President of a company defending your topic, or someone who wants your topic to just go away and you need to tell them why it is important. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and see your topic from a different point of view.

-Stop and do more research. Combat the feeling of not knowing what to say by finding more information about your topic. What are other’s saying about it? Doing research is a great way to gather your thoughts, ideas and may even get you to start writing the entire section, which you were blocked on, from the beginning.

When you find yourself gazing at your PC screen or a sheet of paper and are not writing anything you probably are experiencing writer’s block. You are not alone. It is common to lose focus or be overwhelmed and begin experiencing a creative block. Try these alternative activities and/or strategies for overcoming writer’s block.

Hiring a House-Cleaner Means You’re Paying Someone to Do Your Daily Ergonomic Activity

Why pay someone else to do your housework? When in fact it is a method for you to practice Yoga; or for completing purposeful exercises in a manner that is useful to your body and provides you with a clean home!

Your excuse may like mine use to be – I don’t have the time for the cleaning! Or just thinking of getting down on you hands and knees to scrub the bathtub is not all that appealing!

There are many things in life that we all hate doing, but they have to be done. You are not alone! Hated tasks will never change!

What you need to do is take a more constructive approach and think of using your body to do the tasks that will help your body to learn to move, stretch and balance at the same time.

If you suffer chronic pain in any of your skeletal joints being used, then it is important to respect your pain and only move as far as your tolerance of the pain will allow. It is important that you keep your muscles and joints active with purposeful daily activity, but it not to be suffering in severe pain.

Sometimes it is worth putting an ice pack or a heating pad on any painful area, before performing any household cleaning, so that any pain is easier to handle.

This is how Physiotherapists treat patients, usually offering ice or heat before any exercises. In this way the joint relaxes using heat, or is numbed with the ice, so that movement becomes easier.

However, my advice does replace Physiotherapy, as they have knowledge that you do not have about your painful area. This is more for readers who have minor bruises or strains, or maybe chronic pain from arthritis; where pain is a constant battle to continue functional mobility.

Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong, so it is always worth working within the pain threshold until your body informs you that it is safe to move that joint a little more.

Housecleaning is a repetitive productive activity that can be therapeutic, because it can be graded in terms of making it tougher of easier; such as using one or both hands to do the tasks.

Lowering you arms to wipe or dust a table means you have gravity assisting the movements, but the minute you move farther out and elevated; you will be working against gravity, so that your arm muscles are now being used, plus the joint range is being stretched more than usual.

All these activities can be graduated as you gain more movement in the therapeutic process of the activity. Using the heat or steam from hot water in the bathroom will make the movements easier, so you could clean out your bath or shower after you have taken a shower and make use of the penetrating heat to your joints.

There are no magic movements in cleaning. They are simple relaxed movements that come through repetition, balance and stability. Your body has to understand where the foundation of your balance is positioned, which is in you pelvic girdle. From there, you will be able to move your body safely in a purposeful manner while your core is balanced.

Effective Activity-Based-Costing and Optimal Cost Management

How do firms choose their overhead cost assignment? How do firms choose optimal cost management based on critical production activities that create and capture values? What is the nature and function of expense assignment? What are sources of expense indicators or cost drivers? What are some policy implications of the Activity Based Costing in formulating effective cost assignment and cost management strategies?

These managerial accounting questions relate to effective cost assignment and optimal cost management strategies of a business enterprise-the appropriate mix of costs management strategies that maximizes the return on investment and shareholders’ wealth while minimizing the cost of operations, simultaneously.

The correlation between optimal cost management and effective activity-based costing is critical to sound business strategic options designed to maximize the wealth producing capacity of the enterprise. In these series on effective cost assignment and optimal cost management, we will focus on the pertinent strategic cost questions and proffer some operational guidance.

The overriding purpose of this review is to highlight some basic cost theory, strategic costs relationships, and industry best practices in effective cost assignment designed to optimize cost management. For firm-specific cost management strategies, please consult a competent professional.

Activity-based costing (ABC) is an effective management technique for assigning and controlling the overhead costs. Overhead expense analysis and assignment can be made more accurate by using ABC techniques for a wide range of products, for product expenses and profitability analysis and for appropriate distribution and control of the overheads.

Please note that the optimal cost management and effective activity based costing for each firm differs markedly based on overall industry dynamic, market structure-degree of competition, height of entry/exit barriers, market contestability, stage of industry life cycle, and its market competitive position. Indeed, as with most market performance indicators firm-specific cost management position is insightful only in reference to the industry expected value (average) and generally accepted industry benchmarks and best practices.

Phases of Cost Assignment:

In the first phase, major activities for manufacturing or sale of finished products are properly identified and classified according to the expenditure hierarchy. Expenditure hierarchy facilitates classification of activities based on the ease with which they are traceable to a product or product lines. Such activities may include material procurements, production runs, material handling, order processing, inventory management, warehousing, and transportation.

In the second stage, activity expenditures are assigned to each product or product lines and cost indicators or cost drivers, and overheads are listed in accordance with the major activities required to create and capture values. A brief review of the extant academic literature suggests that the nature of production activity or transaction decides appropriate expense indicators or expense drivers.

Activity-based costing system uses an appropriate cost driver that differs with the nature of production activities that create expenses. Additionally, there are several levels of activities: Unit level, batch level, product level and facility level. Moreover, facility level activities are carried out at the plant level and a bit difficult to trace while unit-level activities are product-specific and most easily traceable to products.

In practice, proper identification and careful analysis of cost incurred for each cost pool are required and critical for appropriate cost driver rate determination. Finally, firms trace and allocate the cost of activities or operations to the final products-goods and services. As you know, cost tracing is the process of directly matching an expense with a product being produced, where expense allocation uses estimates to apply costs to products or product lines. While many costs can be allocated to products directly, some costs relate to multiple products or change on a per-unit basis and should be allocated proportionately.

Some Operational Guidance:

Effective cost assignments require management accounting staff to identify the objects to which the relevant costs will be assigned, accumulate the relevant costs in different cost pools, and identify the most appropriate basis/method for allocating relevant costs. Please note that not all expenditures are relevant and expense controls are subject to vertical differentiation-level organizational authority.

Additionally, not all expenses should be unitized. For example, fixed costs do not change with an increase or decrease in the quantity of goods or services produced or sold. Indeed, fixed costs are expenses that must be paid by firms, independent of any business activity within a specific scale of production. Therefore, it may be misleading to unitize fixed costs of production, ceteris paribus.

To formulate optimal cost assignment strategies, management should understand and anticipate some challenges derivative of expense allocation and activity based costing. Some of these challenges include: traceability, materiality, method, accuracy, and timeliness. As I have already explained, some expenses are not easy to trace. Appropriate expenditure identification, analysis, tracing and assignment should be conducted using multiple methods and defensible assumptions.

In practice, expenses allocation are data driven and managerial analytics aided by computer technology. However, sound analysis of expense drivers and assignments, should be guided by full grasp of well-established cost theory and generally accepted accounting principles. For example, when examining cost tracing and assignment, firms should determine how closely to allocate individual expenses. With modern computer systems and cost analytics, it is often possible to trace every expense driver even when there are multiple products -goods and services.

Further, not all expenditures are material. And because there are costs and benefits associated with search, analysis and assignment of expense data, firms must decide to what extent to account for expense drivers. This is the accounting concept of materiality. Firms must always weigh the costs and benefits of all managerial decisions. Business managers must decide whether the benefits justify the costs and what amount of cost analytics is optimal as it pertains to firm profitability.

Finally, firms should create and maintain multiple costing systems. And use appropriate techniques such as traditional costing, job-order costing, process costing, or variable costing to facilitate internal managerial decision making and external financial reporting requirements. Please note that variable costing is not permissible for external reporting but may be useful in assisting managers to make resource allocation and other business decisions, efficiently and effectively. Often, successful businesses maintain managerial accounting costing systems to facilitate internal planning and financial accounting costing systems designed to support the external financial reporting function.

In sum, cost accounting systems and activity based costing facilitate accurate estimation of expenses of products-goods and services which is critical for profitable business operations. Business managers should know, understand, and anticipate which products are profitable and which products are not profitable. Therefore, cost analytics must be relevant, accurate, timely, and consistent with the calculus of economic advantage. To create and sustain competitive advantage in the global marketplace, firms need effective identification of cost drivers, cost assignment and optimal expenditure management strategies-the appropriate mix of expenditures management strategies that maximizes the return on investment and shareholders’ wealth while minimizing the cost of operations, simultaneously.