Constraints and Focus

In the summer of 2013 I decided that I wanted to write a blog post every day. I didn’t want to sink tons of time into it, so I came up with a plan. Every morning on my way to work, I’d get on the Metro, pull out my laptop, and write my post during the 20 minute ride into Washington DC. Once I got to work, I’d publish it and start my day.

20 minutes is not a lot of time, especially for someone who tends to agonize over every sentence. It was a bit of a struggle, but I learned how to to keep my posts short, sweet, and potent.

When I look back at my blog archives during that time, I can’t help but notice how many of my best posts were written on the subway that summer. Something about that 20 minute time-constraint gave me the focus to do my best work.

Constraints force you to focus on what’s most important. That tends to produce good results, whether you’re blogging, writing software, building a business, or working towards any important outcome.