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10 Reasons You Should Write Something Each Day

10 Reasons You Should Write Something Each Day

    The written word is a part of every day life. At its most basic, writing is a way of communicating. This is the one inalienable characteristic of writing itself, whether you’re communicating with a colleague or friend or you’re actually communicating with yourself – though a shopping list, for instance.

    Aside from the fact that writing is an inescapable part of every day life, there are many good reasons you should make a good session of writing part of your daily routine, even if it’s just a few hundred words. You don’t have to be a pro to reap the benefits of creating the written word.

    1. Remove stress from mind, place on paper

    Writing can be therapeutic. It can be a way to vent all the pent-up frustrations burdening your mind into a far less volatile form, paper (or screen). You can address your anger, fear, worry and stress without bludgeoning the person who embodies those emotions for you with a paperweight.

    Writing can serve as a form of cathartic stress relief where you finally get to say what you can’t say out loud, in real life. Just don’t let your vented feelings get into the wrong hands, or you may end up paying some pretty hefty blackmail cash.

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    2. Sweep Your Mind

    A daily writing habit gives you regular time to sweep your mind for forgotten tasks and ideas that have been fermenting in the back of your head without your knowledge. It allows you to take the unordered thoughts floating around your head like lost puppies in zero gravity, and turn them into ordered plans and actions.

    This is the fundamental principle that the mindsweep and weekly review are based on: getting everything you can think of out of your head, and into a written format. This simple process can save your life when things are getting overwhelming and complicated.

    3. Keep Your Writing Skills Sharp

    Write every day to keep your skill with the written word sharp. Like any skill, the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and aesthetically degrades without practice. As a result, many people who don’t write regularly can freeze up, lost for words, on something so simple as an email to a friend.

    Writing every day, even in a stream-of-consciousness, unedited format will maintain and gradually improve your writing skills, and since dealing with the written word is a fundamental part of daily modern life, there’s nothing bad about that.

    4. Make Some Pocket Money

    If you’re not a professional writer, pocket money is probably all you’ll ever want to earn from your words. But if you’ve got a knack for it and just had a great dinner at a new restaurant and written about it for your daily pages, then isn’t it better to have a shot at getting that review published instead of letting the piece do absolutely nothing?

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    These days, it’s easy to submit to many publications without spending considerable time and money doing so. While you’re unlikely to get too many bites without a good track record as a writer, it’s certainly easy enough to be worth the effort, and your wallet will be pleased.

    5. Turn the Noise Off

    Get away from the constant low-quality input and output systems of day-to-day life, such as meaningless small-talk and weather conversations, text messaging, Twitter, checking the mailbox, and most email and many websites. You receive and create barrages of useless distractions that don’t help you or the people you know; sitting down to write lets you get away from it all.

    It’s important to keep the noise to a minimum so you can focus on creating and receiving strong material, things that are really worth reading and writing.

    6. Enhance Your Communication Skills

    Use daily writing to enhance your communication skills. In this culture, communication is so often hampered because we don’t know how to express ourselves, whether it be verbal or written. Writing regularly can hone the skill of self-expression, something that is useful in written communications such as email, and that can translate into improved verbal communication.

    If you have trouble communicating what you want or asking tough questions, regular writing will give you a mind for structuring words quickly to achieve the desired affect in a diplomatic way.

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    7. Know What You Want

    Part of the reason so many people do not get what they want in life is because they do not know what they want from it. Certainly not the main reason that people don’t get what they want, but in so many cases it is the obstacle. How can you get what you want or achieve your dreams if you’re not 100% clear on what they are?

    Writing each day gives you time to think carefully and reflect on what you want to achieve the most, and develop a clearer, achievable image and plan for that result.

    8. Develop Your Analytical Skills

    Writing regularly develops your analytical and rational skills. Working through your problems with a piece of paper encourages you to think things through clearly, in both linear (sequential) and non-linear (creative) ways. The best solutions come from a mix of both logical and creative thinking.

    Many people tend to panic and react emotionally to their problems, but if you’re used to solving them by processing each component of the problem in writing, you’ll develop a better approach and skillset. You’ll at least pause to think through the situation before hitting the panic button next time something comes up!

    9. Get Away from Technology

    In #5 we talked about turning the noise off for a while, which comes from all sorts of sources – not just tech-related sources. But another problem of ours is our dependence on technology, and it seems that everything that can be done on a computer, is done on a computer.

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    If you opt to use a pen and paper instead of a computer, you give yourself valuable time away from technology to gather your thoughts without constant, meaningless interruptions and distractions. But more importantly, you give yourself time with the tactile and real.

    10. Meet Yourself All Over Again

    In a fast-paced society it’s easy to forget things like what you believe in and what you’re doing this (whatever this may be) for. Letting words flow out of your brain unedited can introduce you to a part of yourself you’d been censoring from yourself to cope with everyday life. Why did you start down the path you’re currently on? This is an important question whether you consider your current path to have begun on the weekend, or a decade ago.

    Discontentment, disillusionment, and unhappiness often come from forgetting why we’re doing something (or, on a different track, not having a good reason for living a certain way) and it is important to keep those simple reasons at the forefront of your mind or you run the risk of letting your life become a series of boring, menial actions.

    It’s not only important to remind yourself of your motives for your current actions; it’s important to monitor your actions to see if they align with your life goals so that you can change them. Sometimes, the only way to keep such a close monitor on your actions and goals is to write about them every day.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

    Mastering the Art of Prioritization The Importance of Scheduling Downtime How to Make Decisions Under Pressure 11 Free Mind Mapping Applications & Web Services How to Use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage

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    Last Updated on June 18, 2019

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Making Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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