This weekend I had a conversation with someone who has been trying to start a blog but has had trouble posting consistently because he finds that writing posts just takes so darn long and it always seems to fall to the wayside when life gets busy. So he was basically asking me how to write more efficiently.
Unfortunately I didn’t have any profound advice, but I thought I’d share my number one tip that I gave him because I think it’s something we all struggle with from time to time, not just with writing, but with all sorts of tasks that end up taking longer than we’d expect/like.
How many of you can relate to that? I know I certainly can. There are days where it seems like you’re so freakin’ busy and working non-stop yet at the end of the day you seemingly have nothing to show for it. Sound familiar?
So anyway, the thing that helps me most is to set self-imposed deadlines. Usually the stuff that ends up taking so much extra time is the stuff that doesn’t have a hard-fast deadline because it’s easy to get distracted and forget about it and even easier to keep putting it off and procrastinate.
Deadlines light a fire under your ass to get stuff done in a timely fashion.
I used to have a saying back in college: “If you put it off til the last minute, it’ll only take a minute.”
I usually said it as a joke, but I think there’s actually quite a lot of truth to that statement. I’m not advocating procrastinating, but I do think that when you’re faced with a deadline you’re productivity increases exponentially. I can’t explain why, but it just happens.
So with that in mind, try setting deadlines for yourself on all those open-ended tasks that tend to take you forever and get drawn out, and more importantly, stick to those deadlines. I think you’ll find you’re able to get a lot more done in less time.
The timeframe for the deadline should be commensurate to the task at hand, meaning more important tasks get more time and less important tasks get less time. That way you avoid spending tons of time on the unimportant stuff and focus your efforts on what really matters. It also helps if you’re the type to get overly perfectionistic.
This applies to all sorts of tasks other than writing, but with regards to writing, this strategy may actually improve your message because it will teach you to be more concise, which is generally appreciated.
On that note, I’m going to end this post because I don’t want to ramble and I’ve reached my self-imposed deadline for finishing it up.
Hope you’re having a great week!