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Four steps that make writing less overwhelming

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https://www.fastcompany.com/90416503/four-steps-that-make-writing-less-overwhelming?partner=rss

fastcompany.com

Four steps that make writing less overwhelming
For many people, the easiest thing to procrastinate about is working on a big report, or really anything that requires a substantial amount of writing. With each new assignment, you tell yourself, "This one will be different. I'll get started right away." But it's hard, so you put it off.

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Break it down

Big projects seem overwhelming. Usually, when we're faced with projects like that, we tend to push them to the side in favor of smaller tasks that are easier to tackle.

Turn a big project int...

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Make an outline

Having a clear sense of structure in mind when you start writing is really helpful.

So make sure you generate an outline. Start by making a list of the various sections you think you’ll need ...

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Just get something down

Don't get stuck in the process of trying to find the perfect words. Start by drafting something.

Write down a bunch of sentences that relate to the outline you constructed. Then, you can go b...

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Write for five more minutes

When you feel the urge to quit writing, tell yourself that you’re going to write for five more minutes. 

You might even get a second wind and write for more than five minutes. And more i...

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The Physics of productivity

Newton’s First Law applied to habit formation: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. 

Once a task has begun, it is easier to continue moving it forward. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place.

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Why you procrastinate

Procrastination is fundamentally an emotional reaction to what you have to do. The more aversive a task is to you, the more you’ll resist it, and the more likely you are to procrastinate.

Make a task less aversive

When you notice yourself procrastinating, use your procrastination as a trigger to examine a task’s characteristics and think about what you should change.

By breaking down exactly which attributes an aversive task has (boring, frustrating, difficult, meaningless, ambiguous, unstructured), you can take those qualities and turn them around to make the task more appealing to you.

Unproductive responses

... people have when they procrastinate:

  • Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  • Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively
  • Downplaying the importance of what you have to do
  • Focusing on your other values and qualities that will solidify your sense of self
  • Denying responsibility to distance yourself from what you have to do
  • Seeking out new information that supports your procrastination.

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Tailor your to-do lists

Use the 1-3-5 rule when putting together her daily to-do list.

On any give...

Build good habits in two minutes

The “two-minute rule”  has two parts.

First, if something takes less than two minutes, do it now. Next, start building new habits for two minutes at a time. The rule for this is: When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. The idea is to make your habits as easy to start as possible. 

Think of these “two-minute habits” as gateway habits that will lead to your overarching goal.

Complete tasks in batches

It takes time to get into a rhythm to work on a task. Instead of constantly starting and stopping that process, it’s better to keep your rhythm going by bundling similar tasks together.

By doing this, you avoid interruptions and prevents himself from procrastinating.

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