Entrepreneur, want-repreneur, business analyst, or concierge, you probably have a job that requires writing. And occasionally, that writing will need to be much more substantive than a standard email reply or smartphone check-in. These weightier, lengthier writing tasks sit at the top of our scientifically optimized To-Do lists, gathering procrastination-based dust while adding stress with every furtive glance at the day’s agenda.
Ultimately, they also get us in the most trouble in our professional lives, as demanding clients, bosses, or partners wonder why Document X isn’t complete yet, and that’s not even taking the editing process into consideration. In my experience, longer or more in-depth writing tasks cause about 75% of my work-related stress. If I’m working on a side project or starting a new venture, they’re the major roadblock that keeps initiatives grounded for longer than they need to be.
Let’s be frank: It’s not the actual duration of the assignment that causes anxiety (which builds and builds in vicious spiral of “let’s put this off again”). It’s the prospect of FORCED CREATIVITY that really holds back completion. These are tasks you can’t (or at least imagine you can’t) complete on autopilot, and it’s really the prospect of starting hard work that prevents work from getting done in the first place.
There’s no magic formula for overcoming this in one fell swoop (though there are certainly dietary changes and supplements that can help boost creativity). However, by attacking these FORCED CREATIVITY tasks at one particular time of day, they’re much easier to overcome and much easier to prioritize over the minute distractions and smaller items on your checklist that can almost certainly wait until after your next water break. And that one particular time of day just so happens to be the period when you’re LEAST likely to even THINK about hitting the very top of your agenda.
It’s after breakfast, coffee, and supplements, but before you even think about doing anything else; it’s basically first thing in the morning, and it’s the ONLY real time you’ll have for distraction-free creativity. Your mind is free of accumulated stress because you haven’t had a chance to fixate on the day’s challenges. There’s no room for mental gymnastics to prioritize a smaller task over the important one in front of you. Your goal is clear, straightforward, and singular: It’s time to write.
Some of the world’s most successful writers and researchers (notably Food Politics mastermind Marion Nestle) use this strategy to pump out insanely original, informative content, and the same principle is mastered by titans of business who tackle tough tasks first thing and then watch as their competitors play catchup throughout the day.
Sleep well, wake up, fuel your brain, and then WRITE. Everything else can wait until you hit “Save.”