Anyone who has ever procrastinated on anything (which is all of us, by the way) knows the exact feeling.
Fear not, however! There is a mind-numbingly simple trick—a ‘life hack’ if you will—to start writing and get over that initial hurdle of beginning to put words on the page.
The trick, my friends, is to set a short, 25-minute timer for how long you will write.
That’s it! Deceivingly simple and deliciously effective, setting a short timer for your writing will get you to start even the most intimidating of projects.
Let me explain how this works…
When you set you timer, you are taking that big, intimidating, unknown amount of time and making it into a small, manageable, un-intimidating amount of time.
With a blank page and a blog post on the slate who knows how long that could take you. It could be an all-day affair. However, with only 25 minutes the end is in sight, and its not even that far away.
25 minutes is the perfect amount of time because its long enough to get some flow going but not too long to be overbearing.
Just enter with the mindset of “I’m going to start for these 25 minutes and no matter where I am when I’m done I’ll stop.”
You’re not trying to finish it in that time.
It’s not going to be a perfect draft.
All you are going for is momentum. You just want to get started. You’re trying to move on from square one.
After those 25 minutes, one of two things will happen.
- You will be so relieved time’s up you’ll stop where you are mid sentence and close out the document. And that’s fine. You’re 25 minutes further ahead than you would have been if you didn’t start at all, and you’ll have an easier spot to start from later that day, tomorrow or whenever it is you start up again. Progress in baby steps.
- What is more commonly and likely the case, you will hear the timer, switch it off, and get back to what you are writing. As I mentioned before, 25 minutes is long enough to start building momentum. One idea leads to the next, and before you know it you are punching away at your keyboard without any of your early inhibitions and not wanting to forget the ideas that are now coming to mind. Before you know it you are closer to the other end of finished on a project you almost didn’t start.
Either scenario is a win, win.
Anything on the page is better than not starting at all.
You see, all the timer does is change your perspective. It doesn’t change anything at all about what it is you are writing, you are just giving yourself a short, manageable block of time you can wrap your head around. More often than not, that’s the little nudge you need to get running out the gate.
Give it a try. The next time you have a project you are dreading the start of, set a timer for 25 minutes and just start putting words on the page. You may be surprised how far that will take you.
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