Do you ever look at your to do list and see something like the following:
- Write report
- Finish report
And you keep putting it off?
That’s because the task is ambiguous.
What do you actually need to do?
- Speak to someone about it first?
- Gather the data?
- Create images to go in the report?
- All of the above?
There could be loads of hidden tasks in there.
To counter this ambiguity, and the murky feeling of resistance that comes with it, David Allen (author of Getting Things Done) encourages us to get clear and specific about the very next step.
On top of that…
When I think about ‘finishing’ something, my perfectionist tendencies kick in.
It seems like a big ask. I build it up in my mind. And procrastinate…
So what do you do?
Two simple words make the world of difference.
Draft and edit.
Imagine you looked at your to-do list and saw:
- Draft report
- Edit report
Sounds easier, right?
I might not be able to do the whole thing. But draft it? That, I can do. I’m not saying it’s the finished article. Just a draft. And edit? Even at times when I don’t have much energy, I can easily go through a document and do some tidying.
Do that a few times, and before you know it, the job’s done.
The lack of ambiguity and finality in a task’s description reduces resistance.
It’s less intimidating.
On top of that, draft and edit are 2 different modes of operation. They require different areas of the brain. One requires our critical faculties to be switched off; the other, switched on.
The same applies to any creative task.
Getting the ideas down and critiquing them are best done in separate sessions.
Specifying and separating these two activities has massively increased my productivity and creativity.
Maybe it can help you too.
Draft and edit, my friend.
Draft and edit.