Force yourself to start

Force yourself to start


Table of contents

If you want to start something, don’t wait, just start.

Writing a personal statement or an essay? Great, just start typing and force yourself to write something. It doesn’t matter if it sucks, because you can always edit it later, but you need to write something. Want to start a blog? Great, start writing your first post in Notepad and figure out the logistics of setting up the website later.

If you’ve studied chemistry, you’ll know about activation energy - the ‘hump’ of energy required to get a reaction started. It’s the same in real life - if we want to get anything done, we need to put in a burst of activation energy to begin with, and things become a lot easier.

This is one of the best ‘productivity hacks’ that I’ve ever come across - the idea that to overcome activation energy, you can force yourself to start. Everything takes care of itself after that.

I often find myself needing this advice when writing these emails/blog posts. There are some weeks when I spend an hour trying to work out what to write about, and then another hour working out the first paragraph. That’s a pretty unsustainable way of doing this. This week however, I just started typing whatever came to mind, and then edited it a bit afterwards. That reduced the amount of time it takes to write the email from 2+ hours to around 15 minutes - much more manageable over the long term.

As someone famous once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I think that’s probably relevant.

Have a great week!

This post originally appeared as part of my email newsletter that I send out every Sunday. Click here to check out the previous issues and maybe subscribe :)

Browse Topics

Sunday Snippets

Sign up for Sunday Snippets - my weekly newsletter where I share actionable productivity tips, practical life advice, and high-quality insights from across the web, directly to your inbox.

Join 157,912 friendly readers

Join 157,912 friendly subscribers getting Sunday Snippets every week

You've successfully subscribed to Ali Abdaal
Welcome! You are now a Ali Abdaal subscriber.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! You are now a paying member and have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.