Writing in Sprints

I love to start something new, I soon get bored though, things don’t stay new for long.

Public FootpathThere are times, though, when, like today, I need to see something through for an extended period of time.

What I find is that I start off in the morning and do a solid period of time and then allow myself to get distracted. I then get back to it, but don’t retain my focus for as long as the first time before distraction calls. This continues until, by the end of the day, I’m struggling to write a sentence before boredom kicks in.

This behaviour is most evident when I’m writing a document.

It’s not that the subject is boring, or even that I don’t see value in the document, I’ve just lost all of my impetuous.

In order to overcome this I set myself a schedule, the one that works for me is 30 mins on and 10 mins off. Each 30 minute section is a sprint to get as much done as possible, each 10 minute break is enforced. I set an alarm on my phone and go until the alarm rings, reset the alarm for the next section and go again.

The alarm is important because it stops me spending all of my time clock watching.

The 10 mins enforced break is important because it seems to be just about the right amount of time to refocus myself away from the task that I was doing such that the next sprint feels like a new one, but not so long that I’ve forgotten what I was doing. Even if I feel like I can keep going I force myself to stop.

I use the breaks for all sorts of things, but primarily for stretching and walking. There’s a couple of routes from my house where I know that I can walk for 10 minutes and be back in time to restart the sprint.

If I keep the rhythm going I can write all day and make a lot of progress.

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