What’s your writing dream?
Do you want to write a book, but you have no idea how you’d find the time?
Do you have a great idea for an online course, but work priorities keep putting it on the back burner?
Have you wanted to write just for fun, but you’re too overwhelmed to start?
I’ve been there.
Back in the mid-2000’s, I wanted to write a book about SEO copywriting. I was motivated. I was excited. It was time.
And then, I got stuck. Yes, I’m a writer and I got stuck!
I had every excuse in the book. I travel too much. I’m too busy. I’m burned out. I really want to have a life away from my computer…
(You may have used similar excuses.)
The excuses only took me so far. I kept thinking I’d work on my book when things slowed down or got easier. But that day never came. Instead, I’d feel crappy because work was “taking me away” from something I really wanted to do.
Which is stupid, because I knew even back then that I controlled my time. I could do this if I wanted. I just couldn’t find my writing groove.
I tried a few things to get on track…
– I continually put “work on book” on my to-do list. Some days, I could cross it off. Most days, I couldn’t.
– I tried the “get up an hour early” technique. I’m not the best sleeper anyway, so losing an hour felt like losing five. It’s hard to work on a writing project when you’re drooling into your coffee.
– I tried taking “workcations.” I’d bring my laptop and promise myself that I’d JUST work on my book. Nope. I’d either ignore my laptop (I was on vacation after all!), or find myself checking email…and getting sucked back into work.
– I told myself that I’d start in three months. After three months passed, I set a new start date. And so on, and so on.
Did I mention how guilty I felt during this time? It’s amazing how much I beat up on myself. Mind you, I’m not a weak-willed person. I get stuff done. I set goals and prioritize. I just had this…block.
There were wonderful times when I would overcome my block. I’d write like hell for a few days straight, barely pausing to eat, sleep or talk to human beings. I was focused and cranking out a LOT of great content.
But then the inevitable crash would hit. I’d burn out. I’d put the book aside. And there it would stay for a few months.
So I was either working too hard and burning out, or procrastinating and feeling guilty. I was in a major no win.
Finally, I figured out how to break the habit and get stuff done. Here’s how I do it.
Every morning, before I check email, do any real work, or jump on the phone, I work on my writing passion project (right now, that’s updating the Certification training modules.)
I set a timer, work for 25 minutes and stop. No matter where I am. I stop. I save my files and I’m done.
And wow, can I get a lot done.
There’s a few reasons why I think this works.
– I know I can stay focused for 25 minutes. Even on my most tired, brain-dead days, 25 minutes is workable. I never feel like, “I’ve got 47 more minute of writing time and I have no idea how I’m going to survive.” I just do it.
– I write first thing in the morning before I check email. To me, email is the most evil invention ever. Once I check it, I’m off to the races and thinking about everything else I need to do. Writing before I check email eliminates this issue.
– Although I’m writing early in the day (from 7-7:30 a.m.,) I feel rested. I’ve had my coffee. I feel relatively calm. That’s a huge change from when I was getting up at 5 a.m. and feeling like a zombie the rest of the day.
– I write during my most productive writing times. If your most productive time is in the evening, you can still use this productivity hack. Just find a time when you’re relaxed, calm and not in-between projects.
– I stop after 25 minutes. This is important. If I kept writing, I think the hack wouldn’t be as successful. If writing for 25 minutes feels overwhelming, slice the time to 15 minutes. That’s OK. The more easily you can fit this time into your life, the more successful you’ll be (and the more writing projects you can complete!).
Just think about what you could accomplish in 25 minute a day.
- You could finally finish that book that’s been rattling around in your head for years.
- You can finish your online course and sell it to the masses.
- You can rewrite your website page-by-page and really love the results.
- You can build another money-making website.
- You can blog about you favorite hobby and maybe even get paid for it.
Pretty cool, eh?
What would you create in 25 minutes a day? Let us know about your dream project in the comments!
Photo thanks to © Cusycon | Dreamstime.com