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12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

Unless you happen to be a professional writer, writing may seem like an impractical hobby to adopt. After all, who has time to dedicate to a practice that requires such concentration and thought, while juggling everything else in your day? Luckily, it doesn’t take much time to start a writing practice, and even just a few minutes per week can be profoundly therapeutic. You don’t need to get a novel published in order to consider yourself an active writer.

1. Finding clarity in your thought process

Let’s face it – sometimes we don’t know what we actually think or feel. The activities of the day can easily jumble your thoughts, stress you out, and muddle your mental clarity. By giving yourself space and time to write things down, you allow yourself to be honest and let anything out.

2. Making better decisions

We’ve all made pros and cons lists, even if just in our heads. But writing about a difficult decision gives the process of deciding a new, visual dimension. Upon writing about a problem, you may be able to go back and re-read what your wrote to find clarity. When thoughts are laid out on a page, it’s much easier to see your genuine thoughts, as well as problems and realistic possibilities.

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3. Becoming more professional

Nowadays, digital content is the primary vehicle for businesses to market themselves, communicate with their customers, and build a brand. Thus it is slowly becoming a necessity for professionals to know how to write with eloquence. Something as simple as knowing how to write a white paper, a blog post, or a professional email can propel your career to the next level.

4. Releasing negative thoughts and feelings

For years, scientists have be uncovering the emotional benefits of writing. This does not only apply to conventional pen-and-paper writing, but even blogging. According to Harvard researchers, blogging has been shown to be therapeutic. According to Scientific American, “Some hospitals have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites as clinicians begin to recognize the therapeutic value.”

5. Stimulating your creative juices

When neuroscientists observed participants brains while they wrote, they found striking similarities between the writers and the typical activity of someone playing a sport. While the physical act of copying words did not stimulate creative centers of the brain, the act of both thinking and writing did.

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6. Finding relief from physical illness

Believe it or not or not, a study by New Zealand researchers showed that patients who wrote after biopsies had wounds heal faster than those that didn’t write. Furthermore, asthma patients who wrote were found to have fewer attacks, and AIDS patients were found to have higher T cell counts. Amazingly, this reveals the possibility that writing can not only benefit your mental health, but physical health as well.

7. Disconnecting from technology

Grabbing a pen and paper is the perfect way to disconnect from technology throughout your day. It’s an activity that still stimulates and occupies your mind – but it’s not overstimulating like most things we find on the internet, our phones, and tv.

8. There’s a writing style for everyone

The common conception of a writer is basically an author – someone who meticulously slaves over their novel while working to get published. For many, this may sound daunting and tedious. However, not every writer is the stereotypical, Edgar Allan Poe-esque creative genius. Some writers are critics, writing reviews for food, movies, or music. Others may write grants for organizations, while technical writers create instructional documents.

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9. Improving memory

By writing with a pen and paper, those who are studying are able to retain more information than if they were simply reading. The act of writing information down activates the brain’s Reticular Activating System, leading to stronger memory retention.

10. Develop a greater ability to express yourself

Writing gets you into the habit of using language in a more particular way. It helps you to avoid being vague (e.g. She is doing good), and delve into the deeper aspects of what you are experiencing (e.g. Her performance has improved considerably). This will help others understand you better.

11. You don’t need to be an expert

Many people consider themselves poor writers, while others feel they just don’t enjoy the practice. But much of this discouragement comes from self judgement. Your writing doesn’t have to be free of error – it doesn’t even need to be good. The benefits come from simply getting into the habit. The more you write, the more skilled and fluid you’ll become with words and ideas.

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12. Slow down

It’s difficult to rush through a writing session. If you’re always on the go and feeling overstimulated, writing will force you to become more grounded.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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