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Finding time for important projects

David Sherry
3 min read
Finding time for important projects

I've always wanted to write a book, in fact, in my future I always pictured myself having multiple books, maybe more than 5 or 10. I've looked up to authors like Seth Godin and Ryan Holiday, and while I felt a kinship to them I haven't really done anything to make that picture a reality.

The size of a major project feels daunting. If you're thinking about starting a business, writing a book, creating a film... it's easy to feel like you're not ready or that you should keep learning before you dive in. Of course, this is a backward way of thinking, as time is only going by and you're not really any closer to realizing some of those dream projects of yours.

Things flipped for me in a few ways, and I'm happy to say that I should have my first book completed by the end of Q1. And when did I decide to write it? Mid-December.

What clicked first was realizing that, hey, if I'm going to write 5 or 10 books over the course of the career, why put any pressure on the first, or even second in that series. In this way, my next project will always be better than my previous one, so there's no need for perfection.

That killed perfectionism.  There's always the next project.

The second was that thinking this was going to take one or two years sounds like an incredibly long amount of time for me. Maybe I could do that eventually, but I'm ADD, and taking two years doesn't work for me.

In reality, I only had about 5-10 hours a week, if that to focus on this. What I realized is that I had to use this constraint to my advantage. I already have taken years and years not writing a book, so why not spend a few hours per week actually writing one.

That killed my ability to procrastinate. There are always 4-5 hours a week available for what is truly important.

So I set out to write my first book in Q1 of this year. I'm about 12,000 words into a ~15,000-word book, so I think I should be on track.

My process for writing a book in 90 days:

My process is as follows; Every Saturday from 8-11 (roughly) I write. I just write what I can in that 3 or so hour window, and see how far I can get. I don't question, and I don't wait, I just go (that's all the time I have).

Then, on Monday, I meet with an editor to review my writing, we discuss what is working, what needs to change, and what I should write in my next writing session in the week ahead. This way the following week I already know what I'm going to write about... things are planned out.

This kept me accountable. Having a partner helps not only improve my writing and process but stay on track.

The point is that it's not that I'm dedicating my entire life to this project, and yet... I'm making more progress than I have in the past few years combined, which effectively produced zero. I'm also learning that doing what you find is most important doesn't always need to take a lot of time, and that sometimes thinking it's going to take so much of your time is the exact block that's keeping you from getting started.

I share this not because everyone should write a book, but because everyone can put in an hour or a few hours per week on that thing they find most important to them. Starting today is better than nothing, and you'd be surprised at how much progress you can make when you add some constraints.

I'll share more about the book itself when it's finished, so you'll see me share about this again in a month or two.

Until then, I hope you're well, and finding some focus,


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