Lately much of my time (and my writing) has been focused on the technology and workflows that help reduce the friction that keeps many of us (read: me) from achieving our goals. While I have become a big believer in these kinds of structured efforts, the problem is that they pale in comparison to the power of momentum. More and more, I find myself believing that once you strike a balance between structure and momentum, you truly become unstoppable!
Ok, I know that is all a bit esoteric, but stick with me. Let’s look at my efforts to write this site. While there is no exact way to measure this, I am fairly certain that my first two years of writing will go down as the worst blogging in the history of humanity. I was inconsistent, infrequent and generally all over the place. It wasn’t until I settled in on a posting schedule and found focus that things started to improve.
One of the biggest changes for me was getting into the habit of capturing the ideas that my ADHD-addled mind is incapable of holding onto. When an idea for a post pops into my head, I immediately stop what I am doing, capture it and go back to whatever I am working on. Later on, when I have time, I come back to these thoughts and expand the good ones into posts.
Then something happened. I was taking my regular commute back from work on the subway when an idea came to me. I jumped into Simplenote on my iPhone to capture it and before I knew what happened, I ended up writing the entire post1.
I thought it was a fluke, but then it happened again and again and… well, you get the point. The system I had intentionally created accidentally led to the momentum I needed to create. I found my own personal sweet spot, which is unfortunately different for everyone, where structure + momentum = velocity2.
You have to know what you want to do. You have to have some idea of how you want to do it. But most importantly, you have to allow for the momentum to actually do it. Give yourself some rules, give yourself some room, and I have a feeling that with a little experimentation, you will be amazed at what you can create.
Note: For those who are curious, this post was written in that exact style on the ever-inspiring B train.
If you ask me, it is still one of the least bad things I’ve posted on this site. ↩
Yes, I know I’m butchering both math and a metaphor. ↩