Radical incrementalism – a principle embraced by psychology professor Robert Boice. He studied the writing habits of fellow academics, and discovered that the most productive of them made writing a smaller part of their daily routine than others. That is, they accepted that they may not produce much on any individual day, but by approaching their writing in small bits, they found it much easier to keep doing it daily. Apparently their daily writing sessions might be as short as 10 minutes, and never more than 4 hours. And they always took weekends off!
Now of course we may already have our own writing routines which work for us (and weekends may be our best time for writing!), but this can be a valuable approach, especially if you are working on a large piece of work which seems a bit daunting.
Critically, an important aspect of radial incrementalism is the willingness to stop when your allotted daily time is up. This helps eliminate the feelings of not being productive enough and cultivates patience in not being finished. Apparently, the result is that you can return to the project again and again over a period of time, feeling fresh and always ready to work. It’s a great way to eliminate procrastination and also helps us give up the idea of finding an ‘ideal time’ for writing work. Moreover, it develops a writing habit that can be sustained for a lifetime.
Perhaps it’s worth a try?
[source of information, Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks, pp. 181-82]