by Pietro Vischia

On this blog, I have 10 blog posts in a draft state; some of them are at a somehow advanced stage, some of them have only the title and a general outline of the topic.

Almost all of them have been sitting there for months. Why?

Well, it turns out I want to pack a lot of content in a single post. My past posts are average long, and I put quite some work into them. The issue starts when I begin to be submerged by various tasks, but it is not a matter of lack of time: it is a matter of motivation friction.

I call motivation friction what happens when the way you are performing a task is actually generating friction against the completion of the task. You can find an extensive description of this in a nice book that I have read some time ago, and that I think we discussed with Giles Strong in this blog, some time ago, i.e.  Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

The main concept is that, in order to be effective at getting things done, you should set yourself up with the easiest way to accomplish a task, the way that makes it easiest for you to finish the task. This is what is not happening for me in the case of blog posts, and I will briefly discuss why.

The issue is that there are three factors that conjure against me:

  • having to divide my time onto an ever increasing number of tasks;
  • wanting to pack a lot of content in a single, extremely long, blog post;
  • not having a particular deadline for delivering a blog post in this blog.

If you sum up all those factors, the effect is that I may have a nice idea for a post, I may produce an actual draft, and if I have time I will also write a fraction of the draft. And then I get swamped, because there is so much stuff I want to add that I would need a lot of dedicated time for adding and polishing such a long text.

In the spirit of getting things done, however, I must find a solution, and define the next action to drift towards a nice, sustainable, and interesting series of posts in the blog, and here is the trick to have it done:

I will write short posts.

It might seem a silly idea, but it is actually a huge improvement, because it addresses simultaneously all the three points of the friction list:

  • I can get a single short post done in a single session (this is what is happening with this one: I have taken 10 minutes in total to think it and write it), which is very good to fill some 10-minutes dead time in my daily task list;
  •  I won’t have to worry about packing lots of content in a single post: I can actually produce a series of posts on a single topic, if needed, which would boost my blog post productivity almost for free;
  • I can easily allocate 10 minutes per week for that. Hum, this is not a promise. Yet.

And now the dirty trick: this is actually a quick trick that can easily work for any of the other contributors to this blog or to any other blog, so feel free to pick up and apply this trick to your case!

For now, that’s all! It’s time for me to check the performance of that DNN training I am working on 😉