History is filled with stories of writers doing all nighters in a rush of inspiration. We hear the same stories in entrepreneurship and in corporate business and so on. What is much more common, though, is creating something awesome within simple, boring discipline. Here's the funny thing: Discipline works.
Todd Henry, the author of the best-seller Die Empty, uses a basic strategy to have amazing results. Sometimes a routine is all you need to succeed.
Henry says that he writes 50 minutes a day. That's it. The rest of the day is spent doing other things. And once he put in this discipline, he says he was much more productive than before.
There are a few clear reasons why this works:
- Enabling deep work: It's wiser to spend a specific time every day doing a task than to do small efforts or, worse, multitask throughout the day. As Deep Work author Cal Newport argues, it takes the mind a long time to focus on a particular task - and, once it does, it is able to be more insightful and efficient than it ever could otherwise.
- Establishing routine: The most common thing among successful people is having a morning and/or evening routine. I have a young, active family, but even I have a routine that fits within my lifestyle. The point isn't to have an elaborate set of rituals, but to have a set plan that your brain and body will anticipate.
- Letting go of judgment: Henry doesn't talk about doing great writing or publishable writing. He just says he writes for about an hour every day. What a great attitude!
To paraphrase James Altucher, the point isn't to always have perfect output, but to continuously encourage creation - and the more you create, the better your chance of a home run. Or a best seller.