How One Simple Tool Measurably Improved My Content Creation Productivity

One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs who create content for a living is to always come up with new ideas. If you run out of stuff to talk and write about, you don’t have a business anymore. Whether you sell courses, write articles, make videos, or all of the above, you need a constant stream of inspiration to publish more content.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and I started my blogging journey over 2 years ago. Since then I’ve put out over 250 articles, which is an average of almost 2 articles per week for 130 weeks straight, or 910 days. The secret to my consistency and ability to come up with ideas is based on 2 key components:

  1. I have a notepad where I always write everything that crosses my mind. I write down all my ideas for content, even the bad ones, because one, they may turn out better, and two, by getting rid of the bad ones I make room for the better ones.
  2. I use a bunch of digital tools to help me keep track of my output and make my work more efficient.

Up until now, I had used a combination of Notion, TextEdit, and Grammarly. One of my main problems with this framework was sourcing. Especially as I started to write more research-based articles (analyzing data, gathering quotes, reading bios of entrepreneurs…) I often found myself drowning in a sea of open tabs, PDF documents, and paragraph drafts.

I love to write research-based articles because the writing process they require makes me a better writer. By basing my insights on different sources and crossing data points together, I learn to not only write better but also to structure my content and my thoughts in a way that people will understand.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a writing/research tool that changed the way I manage my content workflow. It’s called Typed, and in this article, I want to share how I’ve used it to measurably improve my productivity output not only as a writer but also as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Staying in Flow

Flow is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity. It’s a term coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a professor who published a book on the subject in 1990. In the past 20 years, the concept of Flow has seen a tremendous rise in popularity, because we can’t seem to focus anymore.

The past 2 decades have seen exponential progress in the technology we use every day. Although this has had many positive effects, it has also created a lot of noise. We are constantly interrupted in our work by notifications, emails, phone calls, social media. Phones ding, screens light up, watches vibrate, notifications pop up in the corner of our eye…

We’ve never been more busy and unproductive at the same time. It’s like technology has enabled us to save so much time and energy, but it’s been stealing our attention simultaneously. The result is a smorgasbord of unused productivity apps, unreplied emails, self-improvement advice from productivity gurus we never seem to actually follow, and missed deadlines. It’s the great paradox of “helpful” technology.

For this reason, people are looking for ways to get back to basics, and Flow is part of that new movement.

Here are the 8 founding principles of Flow:

  1. Complete concentration on the task
  2. Clarity of goals and reward in mind
  3. Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down)
  4. The experience is intrinsically rewarding
  5. Effortlessness and ease
  6. Balance between challenge and skills
  7. Actions and awareness are merged
  8. Feeling of control over the task.

These key elements are all bound together by one core concept: never leaving context. When it comes to writing on an electronic device (usually a laptop), the more you can stay on the same screen, not moving your mouse and/or getting lost in a sea of tabs, the more you’ll be able to maximize the output and the quality of your writing.

Google Docs on Steroids

If you’re like me, you use the Google Suite a lot. The Google Docs editor is easy to use, there are a lot of quick export options available, and it’s convenient to have a backup of everything on the cloud. But like with any normal text editor, you still have to leave your document and open up a new tab if you want to double-check a source or gather content from different articles. Well, imagine if you didn’t have to anymore.

Typed enables you to work in a split-screen interface, where you can see your content on one side, and load up your sources and references on the other. You don’t actually have to learn how to use this new tool, because the left side panel is exactly like Google Docs, and the right-side panel is exactly like a web page, 2 components you already know about.

My workflow using Typed is very simple:

1. Create a project + blank google doc. This is the place where my article draft, my sources, and my research will all be connected together.

2. Browse the web and save everything I find relevant with the Typed chrome extension. I can choose in which project to save the sources so that everything gets automatically organized. I can also copy-paste any link straight into my inbox in Typed, and it will be saved there as well.

3. Start typing.

Once I start typing my article draft, I always turn on the “Read mode” in the right panel (the one with my sources and inspiration) because it removes all unnecessary content embedded on the web page (like ads, headers, footers…) and focuses only on the text. This goes back to the first flow principle: Complete concentration on the task.

From there, I’m able to highlight content, and all my highlights show up below the corresponding source under my project folder, in the library panel.

The library panel is where all your content is displayed in Typed. By default, it only shows the content related to the project you’re currently working on, but you can also get an overview of everything by clicking on “All” right below the “Current Library” icon:

One of the most powerful features of the library is the range of “data format” it can save:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Images
  • PDFs

You can also upload your own documents as references (.doc, .ppt, .xls) and create memos to jot down notes.

The Typed effect

As I said in the introduction, my publishing pace during my first year of blogging was pretty intense, and although it was very productive I sometimes lacked the quality required to gain more traffic and attention from my content.

Based on my learnings from the first year, I started my second year with the main goal of prioritizing quality over quantity. I was successful at it, more than doubling my business income and reaching over 1 million views that same year.

Halfway into the third year, my goal is to diversify my income streams, mostly through video content. This means I now have to write both articles and video scripts.

When I discovered Typed, I noticed I was saving so much time on research and putting together my sources, I decided to try and quantify how much more productive this tool was making me. To track the results, I focused on one core metric: the time I spent compiling my research.

Before this experiment, I was spending at least 1 hour per day organizing my research. That is, not reading and learning, but trying to organize everything based on what source was connected to what article. I wasn’t using any bookmark system or anything like that, again I’ve never been great at being organized.

My process for getting back to my sources and the links I’ve come across for one article draft is usually to either:

  • Save them in a text file without any formatting no content preview, or
  • Search for them in my browser history using words I think I remember reading

Needless to say that a new way of doing things was much needed.

The results

In order to track my time using Typed, I used a simple timer extension for Chrome called Otto, which is convenient because it shows a preview of the time running in minimized view:

After a week of tracking my time use on Typed, the results were striking: I was spending 75% less time organizing my research. Again, all I had to do as I was reading references and articles was to click on the Typed chrome extension icon, choose what project to link the resource to, and that was it. This simple action took me 15 minutes per day on average, for around 7 hours of research across the working week.

With this much time saved (45 mins x 5 working days = 3h45), I was able to dedicate 3 more hours to video script writing over the week. This enabled me to finish/publish 2 Skillshare courses + 2 Medium articles within 2 weeks. On top of that, I was able to use the remaining 45 minutes to end work a little earlier and spend more time relaxing.

The future of content organization: the Knowledge Network

At the bottom of the Typed homepage, you’ll find a bunch of sections where they mention their upcoming features. One in particular caught my eye because I think it can be a game-changer not just for content creators but also for people who have to manipulate a lot of data from different sources. They call it a “knowledge network”, and it looks like this:

Typed generates a mindmap of your projects for you, and shows you how they interact with each other, and what sub-components they’re all made of. This is very powerful because you’re able to visualize together docs and apps that could not be connected otherwise. This creates an ecosystem where your network of information becomes your easy-to-browse knowledge database. The classic “tree structure” of folder systems becomes something of the past. This type of interface also has a huge potential for teamwork within businesses.

Final words

One thing I always say about digital tools is this: you should probably have as little as possible in your life, because the more you use, the more complexity you add to your life, and the more it slows you down. Again, think of the great paradox of technology: more efficient tools don’t necessarily mean more productivity.

Typed helps bring more clarity to your “app ecosystem” by connecting all types of documents and sources in one main interface, and it’s been a game-changer for me.

I hope you found this overview useful for your productivity, and I highly encourage you to give Typed a try. Let me know if you found it improved your productivity in the comments down below!

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