This article of Unlearning Labs is personal. I sat down this week to write and had crickets buzzing around me. I stared at the screen for a while, wrote a few sentences and walked away. I had no idea what to write. I had to break down my process to create a new one.
This happens when we learn. Some days what we learn gives us goosebumps, but there are days when all we have are crickets buzzing around.
In this article, you will learn how to build systems and how to recover if you slip, all from my personal experience of this week’s blog.
Until this week, I had a set pattern for writing. The pattern looked like:
a. Surf through topic list:
I have 25 themes listed as potential blog topics. These themes have been picked up from research, conversation with peers from different industries and random musings during walks and downtime.
b. Draft on Tuesday
On Tuesday’s, I dig into themes and pick one based on its relevance, connection to previous articles and interest. After picking a topic, I dig into research, synthesize insights and begin the draft. On Tuesday, I only write a draft and avoid edits to help embrace the process of writing without pauses.
c. Final version on Wednesday
I edit the draft and schedule it to publish on Thursdays.
This process had been successful for the past 9 weeks and yet it failed. What went wrong?
a. Shifting priorities
I started a course this week with projects and tight deadlines. My assumption that I could give my 100% to the course and blog was proven wrong.
b. Lack of planning
After attending an in-person event on Tuesday, I assumed that my writing capability would be comparable to the previous weeks. I barely wrote half a page and that was it.
I love this quote by James Clear:
‘You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems’.
Over 9 weeks, I followed the same routine, curated life around it and the system made sure to accomplish the goal.
Thinking back, is it wise to follow the same routine? I think not.
Systems break due to external circumstances out of our control. The focus should be to prepare for our systems to fail.
In the next 9 weeks, I will follow three steps to curate my routine to plan for system failures:
1. Build pipeline
I write one blog a week. This helps me build my creativity for the week and deep dive into focused work. While this is an acceptable process, the challenge arises with disruptions. My focus will be to build a pipeline of articles prepared to be published to avoid slips.
2. Finding inspiration
To write more than one article a week, I need to increase the funnel of ideas. Four habits help me hunt and seek ideas:
- Long walks with an interesting podcast
- Long walks without tech
- A mix of activity time – gym+yoga
- Reading non-fiction books
3. Remember the value of Unlearning Labs
While a blog is a one-way conversation, some editions could be different. I asked you in May ‘why is unlearning important to you?’ and received warm and inspiring responses. The value of Unlearning Labs is our community and I’d love to keep the conversations two-way.
One reminder: We all fail at habits and systems but the focus is to get back up, brush away the fall and keep riding the wave.
Think of big leaps, but work on tiny steps.
If you are feeling the same about systems failure or have recommendations, I am all ears! I’d love to keep the conversation going on firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter.