I wrote a book a couple years ago and it never failed that whenever I would sit down to write, my mind found other things it wanted to do.
Check email. Mow the lawn. Clean my desk. Organize my space. Move my to do list from several legal pads onto one legal pad.
My mind tricked me into seeing every accomplished task or every thing crossed off a to do list as being equal. It wanted the short term satisfaction of doing something- anything- that gave it an instant 'hit' of being able to cross something off the to do list.
The things in life worth achieving can rarely be checked off that easily. All completed tasks are not equal.
If you want to write a book, you can't put "write a book" on a to do list, write for a half hour or so, and then cross it off the list. It's weeks or months of writing. It's weeks or months of editing. And that's just the actual book part. Doesn't include publishing decisions, marketing decisions, and design decisions. You're not even thinking these things when you write you first book.
Your brain won't like this. It will get frustrated you're not accomplishing more quicker. Because you've started the book writing process, it wants to cross it off as quickly as possible. Your honorable desire to write a book will conjure up all kinds of emotions: fear, anxiety, impostor syndrome, shame, and guilt to name a few. You don't like these feelings. Your brain doesn't like feeling these emotions. It perceives these emotions as a very real threat to your continued existence and wants to eliminate the threats as quickly as possible.
So your brain barters with you. It tricks you into doing the dishes instead of writing a chapter. It entices you into cleaning the garage instead of editing the prologue. It seduces you into taking an afternoon to get a pile of clothes ready for Goodwill instead of choosing a cover design. Completed tasks give your brain what it wants: enough accomplishment to shut down the emotions causing it stress no matter how artificial the stress is.
This is true for anything on your bucket list. Running a marathon. Owning your own business. Going back to school. Changing careers. Having better relationships with your spouse or your children or your friends. These are items you can't cross off a list. These are items you work at every day until finally you have a copy of the book. You run 26.2 miles. You open the restaurant. You attend your first class.
So what hack can trick your brain into doing harder things? Do those things first.
I don't know what it is. Maybe the brain isn't as susceptible to hard things in the morning. Maybe it's able to resist the fear just enough for you to write the chapter. Or get the run in. Or work on your spiritual life. Maybe there's a magic to the morning where you and your brain can get on the same page about what you want to do.
Your window for doing hard things is from the moment you wake up to the moment you're time is no longer yours. Use it well.
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