Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How To Have Outlandishly Productive Writing Sessions In Just Three Weeks

Imagine starting each day with an explosively productive writing session. You slip rapidly into an engrossed flow state where time simply flies by. An hour of writing passes by and it feels like minutes.

Well, I have some bad news. If you start off your day checking Facebook, this glorious flow state ain't gonna happen.

However, if you make creative work your "first action" each day, and gradually build the length and intensity of that creative session, you will experience this kind of flow state more often than not. And your productivity and output will explode upward.

What follows is a three-week map for boosting your start-of-day productivity.

Week One: First, start with a small but significant step: set a goal of writing for 30 minutes before you do anything else with your day. Just sit down at your laptop, set a countdown timer or an alarm, and write. When the timer goes off, reward yourself with a quick check of your email. Do this for one full week.

Note: If on one of the days during this week you lose discipline and don't do your 30 minute writing session first thing, start the week over. Remember, we're trying to build a new habit here.

Week Two: The next step is to build up this session. Expand it from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. If you're feeling aggressive, try expanding it to an hour. For some of you, this might seem preposterously difficult. But try it. Try it for a week (just a week!) and see how much it impacts the quality and quantity of your work.

Week Three: Next, build in a second session. Instead of rewarding yourself with a (short) session of undirected websurfing after writing session #1, reset your alarm for a second writing session. Don't think about it, just do it. Reset your timer and set it for a shorter session of another 30 minutes.

Hey, it's only a half an hour. Now that you've built up your first writing session to an hour, a piddling half hour more is a piece of cake.

There. In just three weeks, you've created a daily habit of writing for an hour and a half every single day before allowing yourself any distractions.

Remember, the internet is always going to be there, and it's always going to want to distract you. Let it wait. You can go for an hour or two before checking it.

And in the meantime you'll have dedicated a significant amount of unfiltered, undistracted and mindful attention to your work. Maintain this habit for a year, and you'll be a different, more focused, and more productive person. And you'll never look back.

A mere three weeks. These habits, if you put the time in to build them, will change everything.