- Standing up. When caffeine just can't get you over that early afternoon slump, here's what I discovered: writing standing up. I know I'm in good company here (see picture), but I never thought this was for me until I tried it. Putting the laptop on top of the small, ancient copier in my study, which is the perfect height for a standup desk (and also free), forestalls the faceplant into the keyboard and instant descent into dreams that seems just about unavoidable from 2-3 p.m. (Hint: Writing a blog post in this dead zone will also wake you up.)
- Writing in a cool room. My study gets too hot in the afternoons, even with the blinds closed, so I take the traveling circus approach and descend to the cool basement, where I set up a cardboard box, put my laptop on it, and write, yes, standing up. I also have one of those giant exercise balls that they make fun of on Portlandia, and that works when I feel like sitting down. A coffee shop would probably be good, except that that would mean putting actual going-out-of-the-house clothes on instead of running shorts and a t-shirt.
- Follow your impulse to jump up and move around. Now we have proof, because the goddess of NPR says so: it's good for you to get up and move around every 20 minutes. The words then start to click into place, like Tetris blocks falling, and you'll get some sentences that way.
- Stay away from FaceBook. Even if you don't find it a time suck, trust me on this: Everyone on FaceBook will be either (1) doing more interesting academic things (fabulous seminar!) than you, or (2) writing more than you and posting about it, or (3) uploading pictures from a more exciting, exercise-filled vacation spot than you are visiting. This goes double for Twitter, which can only confirm your assessment of yourself as a slothful waste of space. So banish these as best you can.
Jonathan at Stupid Motivational Tricks asks "What's your fuel?" What tricks have you found lately?