This is a lesson from the course “Hack Time: Achieve 10x More Through Godlike Efficiency and Speed“ (see below for a 20% discount code for the entire course).
Our minds have many different facets to them and distinctive personalities.
We have the playful, free-flowing and creative side of mind which is active when we are in a state of flow…
And then we have the analytical, critical, observing mind which is judging and sizing up everything, including ourselves…
When these two sides of the mind come into conflict, and we try to play both roles at once, our productivity screeches to a halt.
This self-analysis and self-doubt is the real reason for creative block. Because on the one hand, we try to write something, draw something, or create something but on the other hand we have a critical eye on everything that we’re doing, judging it, analyzing it, and deeming it (and ourselves) unworthy of the attempt.
This is at the heart of all procrastination, and is often the culprit we find ourselves in when we are not as productive as we should be.
This is a secret that I learned when I became a writer. My first book took about one year to write, and then I wrote five more in one year afterwards, as well as created an online course.
And I really stumbled my way through the things that I am about to teach you, because I was horribly disorganized; in some sense I kind of belabored through things when I began, and it wasn’t the most graceful or free-flowing way of doing things.
What I learned is that when we write, we cannot engage the critical thinking part of our brains. This is counter-productive when you want to reach desired word counts if you are constantly editing while you are writing.
When we write, or come up with any kind of creative ideas, the worst thing we can do is critique ourselves. In such a situation, our own critical thinking is the worst enemy of productivity.
What we have to do instead is simply to write everything out, and do it quickly. We can critique our work later, when the time comes to edit. But if we become too critical during the writing process we spend far too much time trying to find the right words and stumbling over ourselves.
Also, the pressure to perform perfectly, is what forces us to procrastinate and not enter into an ideal state of flow where everything feels natural.
When you’re in this state, you just have to get it all out first, finish the writing, and ONLY when you have a first draft complete should you go back, review your work, and begin critiquing.
And this doesn’t only apply to writing but all types of brainstorming and creative work.
Sometimes we have an idea or we start a thought, but we don’t finish it. It’s always very useful to write down a little note to remind yourself to follow up, or to perform more research next time you sit down and revisit the work.
When I write or create content, I will often add notes in brackets before or after paragraphs such as:
[*Note: research this later]
[*Note: edit this later – sounds too confusing]
If we don’t leave these small (but important) reminders, many of our best ideas will go to waste. Leaving these notes for next time will also save you a ton of time when you sit down to complete your work during the next work session.
Outline Your Ideas
Many people take too long to start or finish projects because they are not able to create good outlines. During the ideation phase, I will create an outline of my ideas and save important notes that I want to be able to reference later.
I’ll practice a technique called “mindstorming.”
I start out by writing the topic of the blog post or chapter I’m writing about at the top of the page. Then I simply write down everything I can think of related to that topic. I’ll usually write down all of my own ideas related to the main topic, and also any related external resources I can think of that I can use to check out and reference. I’ll list out any third-party sources to use for research as well.
The process of mindstorming uses the same “Creative Brain” – do not think too much.
Just write down everything you can think of at the moment. Do not be critical of your ideas – write them all down, even the dumb ones. Sometimes these are the most valuable.
After I mindstorm, I’ll take a separate page and outline the structure of the piece I’m writing.
I’ll write down a numbered list, and separate each with a few empty lines. These become the header titles within the content. Then, in the empty lines I’ll write down 3-10 different ideas which will fill out that section of content. I will write down all of my ideas and often record them using my phone before I ever sit down to a keyboard.
The most important thing to remember is that all of this is done using the creative brain; and giving the creative brain safe modus operandi to freely express itself. We are not doubting ourselves, we are not analyzing or critiquing ourselves, we are just allowing the free form of expression.
There is a time and place to do editing work; to go back and review our writing, our ideas, but we have to keep these periods of work separate from one another if we want to be productive and effective.
This lesson is from the course “Hack Time: Achieve 10x More Through Godlike Efficiency and Speed“
Use the code “timehack#2023” for a 20% off at checkout.