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7 Steps to Help you Better in Writing

7 Steps to Help you Better in Writing

Do you want to be a fast writer? Do you want to write effectively? Does it take you hours to think of what to write and when you get something on paper, and then you tear it off? Well, if you’re interested in writing faster, more effectively and efficiently, then you have come to the right place.

Structure
Any piece of writing, regardless of its genre, has to be composed of the following sections: Introduction (with a thesis statement), Body (with Supporting Paragraphs), Conclusion (Summary of previous).

Now depending on the type of your piece of writing, the contents of your Body and Conclusion will be different. However, the Introduction’s style will more or less stay the same, giving the audience a brief idea about the topic’s background and the topic itself while outlining the thesis statement.

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Thesis Statement
According to the “Tips and Techniques on Writing Better” research, the Single Biggest Mistake Students Make When Writing Essays is their inability to formulate clear and concise thesis statements.

Allow me to take this research finding and generalize it a little. The most common mistake people make while writing any document or paper is missing the core point or purpose of their writing, in other words: the Thesis statement.

The Thesis statement is the single statement (or 2) that outline the core of the paper; its focus and direction. That’s probably why we will deal with it as a separate step in the writing process.

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Steps:

  1. Brainstorming – Writing down anything that comes into your mind about the topic without attention to structure, sentences or even correct punctuation.
  2. Examine your audience – more often than not, even professionals seem to deliver incomplete or incorrect messages because of jumping onto the writing phase without attention to whom their writing is directed.

    For instance, if you were writing an economic report, then no personal opinions are to be incorporated in it, but rather statistics, mathematical calculations and extrapolations only. Whereas, if you were a Systems Analyst writing as System or Software Requirements Specification Document, then you will outline all your client’s requirement in the system and your expert’s opinion as to how the final solution or system will be structured and on what technology it should be based.

  3. Writing your thesis statement – think of the core purpose of writing this document and try to formulate a sentence that incorporates the whole idea.

    Look at the sentence once it’s written – is it clear enough? Let someone read it and explain to you what he/she understand from it. Re-iterate this step until the thesis statement is clear enough to your target audience.

  4. Formulating the introduction – based on the thesis statement, start formulating your introduction with background information on your topic leading to your thesis statement.
  5. Writing the paper (body and conclusion) whilst thinking of your audience.
    Look back at the notes you wrote while brainstorming and extract those that satisfy your audience and thesis statement. Now organize these extracted ideas (and any others that pop up in your mind) in the way that best develops your main idea or thesis statement.
  6. Proof read for content errors – revise your audience and thesis statement and then read your whole paper to check on whether or not it conveys the message you want to deliver in the structure you wish; otherwise re-structure your paper content-wise.
  7. Proof read for vocabulary and grammatical (/punctuation) errors – the last step in the writing process where you focus on revising the grammar, punctuation and correctness of the English (or whatever language your writing in).


In an effort to point out how the thesis statement and introduction are parts of every piece of writing, we will hereby depict a few examples:
When writing a business proposal, your introduction would focus on the product or service your activity will be based on, but also your thesis statement has to be clear in your mind before you begin to write. The thesis statement here would be where you state the product/service you’ll discuss, its importance, market relevance and significance.

While writing an economic report, your introduction takes your audience through the most recent relevant economic changes (recession/prosperity), the current trends and international market impact, etc. and reaches to the thesis statement. The thesis statement would again be clear enough to sum up what the report is aiming onto elaborating on, achieving or establishing.

The 3rd example we’ll discuss is writing for the web. Although a little different from writing to newspapers or research institutes in the real (off line) world – in terms of audience and your power to attract their attentions – the foundation prevails. You still have to think of a brief introduction that would grab your reader’s attention and a thesis that would intrigue him to read the whole article.

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Another technique is to imbed the thesis statement right at the beginning of the introduction and work backwards (events and background information wise) through the introduction. However, the former discussed technique (thesis in the last 3rd of the introduction) is the more common one.

To add to the steps above, there are a few pointers that when practiced, will lead to even better quality of writing.

  1. Read more – the more you read the more educated and well rounded you become; and hence you will be able to write in a better and more experienced quality of writing (College Board).
  2. Write more – as the famous saying has it: “practice makes perfect”. The more you write, the more you’ll be better are writing the type of papers you’re focusing on (College Board).

References
The Keys to Effective Writing – Tips for Tackling Your Essays and Papers – [CollegeBoard]
Tips and Techniques on Writing Better – [Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL)]

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

So what changed?

I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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How to Tackle It?

Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

How to Tackle It?

Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

How to Tackle It?

Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

How to Tackle It?

It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

How to Tackle It?

Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Bottom Line

I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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