Dieting tips that will turn you into an editing machine

Distractions are the editing equivalent of ‘just one’ cookie. Follow these approaches to stay on track and get that project done.

Not long ago I started and finished a tiresome editing project that had been hanging over my head for about a month. In my defense, I can say the delay was the result of holidays and an excruciating back spasm. But if I were being totally honest, I’d also have to admit I was, well, procrastinating.

I finally finished the job with reasonable dispatch by working for a total of nine hours—three hours per day—over a long weekend. As I diligently put in my time, I noticed that editing is a bit like trying to lose weight. So with apologies to Oprah, Jenny Craig and Dr. Atkins, here are three dieting tips that also work for editing:

1. Have a clear goal that is both measurable and realistic. Not very many people succeed when they vaguely set out to “lose some weight.” You need a number—is it 10 pounds or is it 50?—and you need a plan.

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