Daily Archives: May 31, 2013

The Secret to Great Writing

One of the things that’s always been a source of my procrastination, is the idea that my writing isn’t great; therefore, I’m overly-critical of any one to three sentences I start writing. I get so caught up in crafting a masterpiece that I forget the fact that I’m writing and have the ability to revise. I think that a major turning point for a lot of people when it comes to writing or really any endeavor in life is when you realize that you have a license and a right to get it completely wrong the first time. When you think about it, how many people who try something for the first time, succeed at it for the first time? Probably not a lot. The secret to great writing is to just push through and allow yourself to write possibly complete garbage the first time. Procrastination is brought about by a series of factors, but I definitely feel like fear is at the top of that list. You realize that once you pass that mental block, procrastination isn’t as much of an issue anymore. Once you start writing, you keep writing and whether it’s good or bad, you’re acting rather than over-thinking.

For those who don’t know, one of my other blogs, Irrational Health, is actually a complement/promotional tool for a book that I’m writing by the same name. It’s a book that’s about modern psychological fallacies that stem from irrationalities and irrational thinking. That aside (shameless plug), there are days when I’m writing either a blog post or the actual book and I think to myself, this is terrible and why would anyone actually read this. It really takes passion combined with courage in order to push through and give myself the ability to fumble this for a few days to hopefully get it right later. That’s the thing. Why be so afraid to get something wrong when no one’s even aware that you’ve gotten it wrong? The several drafts that I go through are only visible to me so when all is said and done, I’ll be the one to look back at all of this work and realize that it took that courage in order to take some mediocre or good stuff and make it great. The secret to great writing is to just write. The secret to success is to just push. It’s one and the same. It’s simple and yet, you’d be surprised how often simplicity gets obfuscated.

Paper, 43 Folders, and Systems

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked a lot about different productivity topics and things that Merlin Mann has created, from Inbox Zero to the Hipster PDA. One of the major themes has been simplicity and how simplicity leads to positive habits. For me, paper is often the simple solution and while I have a lot of different devices in my repetoire that all do a lot of different things, they often breed complexity. One of my most useful gadgets is my notepad which has four five features: an inbox, a next actions list, a projects list, a section for references, a section for possibilities, and a general notes section (the makings of a hipster PDA). It never runs out of battery life and is easily adaptable. The point is that even in an increasingly digital world, sometimes paper is still the best option and I wouldn’t tackle anything without a notepad. 

Personal productivity is contingent on a system. The truth is that without process and heuristics for what you do with a particular anything, you set yourself up for a lot of ambiguity and unhealthy productivity habits. A system that I’m going to try for the first time is the actual 43Folders system as seen on 43Folders.com by Merlin Mann. It comes down to a file box ($9.47), a set of 31 folders ($3.42 with extra folders), and a set of hanging folders with labels ($4.32). You label your hanging folders with the 12 months of the year and the folders 1-31. You  end up with a total of 43 folders. What you have is a perpetual system of task groupings by days and months that switch that move with everyday, in such a way that you know what tasks are critical for each day. It’s a transparent, simple system and I’m finally going to give it a shot so please, for those who are interested give it a try too. I’ll get back to a review in a few weeks. 

Click Here to Go to 43 Folders.


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