You probably think I’m procrastinating. (And you’re technically correct.) But in the context of my life, things are right on schedule.
This is how I operate. I’m not defending it, nor proud of it. It’s just a fact.
Remember that one time I pledged you’d want me by June 1? Because I said I’d be in good shape by then? I didn’t even start seriously working out and altering my diet until a week before June 1. I can’t be entirely sure you’d want me today, but it’s at least 200-percent more likely than before. You’re welcome.
In April of LAST YEAR, I told you about the book I am planning to write. And I do have several thousands of words written for it. It’s not like the workout thing, where I literally did NOTHING I said I would for a few months.
But, still. I’ve been putting it off. And that has to stop. Now.
My 500-Words-Per-Day Strategy
I won’t know I can do this until I actually do it, but there’s nothing particularly daunting to me about the prospect of writing 500 words a day. I think it might help.
My favorite writer James Altucher preaches generating 10 new ideas every day. (It doesn’t matter what for. It only matters that you do it.)
Bestselling novelist John Grisham has published 33 novels in 25 years because he commits to writing at least one page daily, and sticks to it.
Perhaps the most successful comedian of all time, Jerry Seinfeld, set a simple target for himself: One new joke per day.
It’s a productivity hack to harness the power of momentum and reap the long-term benefits of incremental gains.
Writes Cathryn Lavery in the Medium post that inspired this one: Persistence creates luck and experience.
I know it to be true. Now, it’s time to apply it to finishing this book project which I hope will lead to new ones.
I am the captain of the ADHD squad.
And I am a little bit childish in that I prefer to spend pretty much all my time doing whatever it is I want to be doing, and pretty much never wanting to do things that don’t fit nicely into that little Things Matt Likes silo.
I can continue to use those things as excuses and never achieve goals I set for myself, or I can make small changes and slowly but steadily inch my way toward the finish line.
The key takeaway from going through the StrengthsFinder program in May was the realization that I need to sometimes protect myself from myself and structure projects and parts of my life in ways that minimize the negative effects of some of my (less-than-desirable) tendencies. In other words, in order to finish this book, I need partners.
A friend and co-worker agreed to be the person to hold me accountable to writing 500 words per day. If she does her part, and I do my part, the book should be written by the holidays. I am grateful to have people in my life who want to help me with this project. Much like the workout thing, one morning it was finally time to move. For book writing, today is that day.
Improve at something 1% each day, and you’ll be twice as good at that thing in 70 days. Improve 1% each day, and at the end of the year you’ll have improved 3,800%.
All it takes is repetition and the will to say yes every day. And like working out and disciplined eating, I can do that.
Which is good.
Because it’s time to scare the hell out of Bruce Lee.