How to set up your goals and attain them.
According to conventional wisdom, the most challenging part of a race is approaching the finish line. In recent weeks, I have been working on a short book that is scheduled to be released in late April or May. The book will focus on dumbphones, digital minimalism, and the benefits of leading a low-tech lifestyle. When I started this project, I never anticipated the difficulty of consistently writing with creativity and enthusiasm. Nevertheless, three key factors have enabled me to show up every day and make progress towards completing my 25,000-word manuscript. Let’s dive into them.
The first crucial element is setting achievable goals. By establishing a target of 300 words per day, I can easily accomplish this task at any time of day. While editing the manuscript will require more extended sessions, putting my thoughts into the word processor doesn't require as much time. Whether it's in the morning, afternoon, or evening, I can write 300 words in about ten minutes. This approach has enabled me to overcome morning grogginess and keep my momentum going. For example, last Friday, I started writing in the morning and ended up exceeding my goal by five times. It felt incredible because it brought me one step closer to completing my manuscript, which was equivalent to a week's worth of writing. If I had set a goal of 1500 words per day, it would have been overwhelming, and I may not have had the energy to complete it. Similarly, if you have a daunting project or a significant life event to plan, break it down into smaller tasks and accomplish them one at a time. By taking the marathon one mile at a time, it's easier to tackle the challenge.
So far, I've written 17,827 words for my book, but the majority of them haven't materialized while sitting in front of my computer. Since my college days, I've used a technique to organize my thoughts and get the writing process started. I set a timer for 15 minutes, jot down everything that comes to mind, and then take a 15-minute walk to reflect on my writing and plan the next steps. To minimize distractions during my walk, I purposefully leave my phone, watch, and any other physical items at the office. By allowing my thoughts to roam free and getting some fresh air, I create space in my mind to generate new ideas and overcome writer's block. After my walk, I come back and write for another fifteen minutes. If my goal has been met, I leave it aside and continue with my day. If not, I repeat the cycle until I am finished. Whether it's writing, designing, or coding, taking a mid-day walk can help you establish new connections with your brain and teach you to work at a sustainable pace.
The second essential practice I follow is writing only in designated spaces. There's much debate around productivity levels for those who work from home versus those who work in an office.However, for me, having a physical location where I write every day makes a significant difference. Whether I'm at the office or at home, I have a specific nook designated for writing my book. I even take walks around the same area during my breaks to reinforce and automate my thinking process. By consistently writing in the same location, I ensure that my brain is in the same state of productivity. Additionally, I make an effort to keep my writing desk organized and clean to avoid any distractions or impulses that may arise. Creating a predictable space and using it to your advantage can bring new outcomes for your creativity and productivity.
Share your progress
You know what motivates me to keep writing? Knowing that someone is invested in my progress. Every night, I share with my wife and some friends the number of words I've written that day. Discussing the book with them and exchanging ideas has not only brought me joy but also kept me accountable. My friends check in with me throughout the day because they know how significant this project is to me. Having a support system by my side has helped me stay focused on my goal and excited to finish. By sharing my progress and challenges, I have created an expectation among those around me. I am committed, and I will finish.
If you need extra focus on a project, be sure to have a group that cares about you check in with you and create a timeline for your goals. Vocalizing your intentions and sticking to them will create more momentum for you and those around you. Whether it is your boss, coworker, a loved one, or even your pet, sharing your goal will spark a desire to see it come to completion. Whatever that goal is, you can do it. Stay hyper-focused, practice some news skills, and make it to the finish line.
Thanks for reading this short newsletter. I hope that the ideas found in here help you in your work or life projects! Make sure to share what those are with me if you want to, I’ll be there to cheer you from afar :)
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See this article to get a feeling of where the research is going: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/review/are-we-really-more-productive-working-home