July 22, 2020-Do you know about Parkinson’s Law? It states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” What does this mean? It means that if you give yourself a week to write a blog post, it will take you a week to write it. If you give yourself a year to complete your novel, it will take a year to complete it and so on. However much time we give a project is the time it will take to complete it; that’s one of the reasons we procrastinate. We always get it done on time, so why do it early?
Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, has a different approach. He knows about Parkinson’s Law, and to combat it, he shares this idea; “If you split your day into ten-minute increments and you try and waste as few of those ten-minute increments as possible, you’ll be amazed at what you can get done.”
I admit I do this often. When I need to complete a task, especially one that I don’t like, such as social media scheduling, I set a timer for ten minutes. I do as much as I can in ten minutes and then move on to the next thing. It’s not very often that I don’t complete my tasks this way. It’s a simple and effective way to get started and to set and meet deadlines. I repeat this multiple times per day. Don’t worry; it’s not the same as multi-tasking as you’re only focusing on one thing at a time! Give this method a try for your writing tasks and send me an email to say how you made out: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Writing, X LLB
March 1, 2019– I was boarding a flight in Toronto recently, and while we were getting on the plane, I overheard a woman and her son talking about a book. Of course, I’m always interested in book recommendations, so I continued to eavesdrop. The young man said quietly to his mother, “This book is amazing, it’s easy, straightforward, and I think this will work for what I’m trying to accomplish!” The book that he had in hand was titled, Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. I headed to my seat and took out my phone because the boy had piqued my curiosity. Of course, I had no idea what he was trying to accomplish in his life, but I thought the book sounded intriguing and he sure seemed to believe in it!
I looked up the book jacket info on Amazon and read some of the reviews; they were pretty impressive. I downloaded the audio version and plugged in while we waited on the tarmac. The book, in a nutshell, is about how most of our behaviour happens on autopilot and if we set small goals such as a single push up, once we’re in position, we’ll always do more. Eventually, these small goals will become habits, and we will operate from a place of automation instead of force. So, how can mini habits change your writing life? I’m so glad you asked!
- You’ll exceed your goals if you start small. When I first became an author, I created mini habits unbeknownst to myself; I would write every day for only fifteen minutes. Soon those fifteen minutes each day became a habit and the fifteen minutes turned into an hour or more. I have an author friend who started writing only fifty words per day. Soon, his fifty words per day multiplied into fifteen pages per day. The point is, if you set a small goal and stick to it, you’ll reach your goal, and you’ll be motivated to do more.
- You’ll create discipline without out even realizing. If you create a mini habit of listening to a business audio book every time you get in the car, or a mini habit of reading one page of a book per day, you’re creating discipline in your life and discipline equals freedom. You would have a massive amount of knowledge in one year if you read one page per day or listened to something while traveling! These mini habits will translate into big results because they will become as automatic and as disciplined as brushing our teeth before bed. Why do we brush our teeth before bed? I don’t know, because it’s a habit that we’ve had since childhood and we just do it. See what I mean?
- You’ll get out of your comfort zone. I make it a mini habit of handing out one business card per day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a year it sure adds up! You can cover a lot of ground and grow your writing business if you just implement this one small thing. You could use this approach for sending out queries, submitting manuscripts, connecting with a stranger, or meeting new people. Having a mini habit is an excellent way to get you out of your comfort zone and into a better writing life. Imagine sending 300+ queries out to publishers or agents in a year? That’s a lot of action, and statistically, something is bound to happen!
Start with small mini habits and watch them grow into something amazing! In a later post, perhaps we’ll talk about taking this concept one step further with habit stacking. Stay tuned!