Open loops are unfinalized tasks, all that ‘stuff’ you gotta do. They are the perfect distraction from writing and can be used to avoid hard work. Open loops are the BFF of procrastination and hog up valuable RAM in your brain that could be used to power your writing.
To get into a creative flow state, you must close the loops. Here are few ways to ensure the background tasks are shut down.
- Choose a writing time – Start waking up at 4am to have quiet time to write. What? No, just kidding. For some of us, such a drastic change sets us up for failure. It’s easier to carve out a writing time that already fits into the routine we have. Whatever you choose to do, designate this block and stick to it. After a few weeks of regular practice, your brain will expect to be let loose at this time and be primed to focus.
- Make a to-do list every day – Write down every thing, big and small, that you have to do. Most of the time we’re not actually worrying about ‘doing the things.’ We are trying to figure out what are all the things we need to do. Are we missing something? Once you have them all listed, you close that loop. You don’t have to worry about what you’re supposed to be doing or if you’ve forgotten anything.
- Prioritize tasks – What absolutely must be done now? What can wait till after your writing time? Put them in order of importance.
- Knock ‘em down one at a time – Focus on one item at a time. Try to check off as many items as possible. Each check gives you a sense of accomplishment and closes that tab in your brain.
- Plan remaining items – Prioritize and schedule the remaining items for later times or dates. That way you know what you have to do after writing. You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get it all done. You already have a plan of attack.
Now you’re all set. Sit down and write. Slip into the zone.