home   ·   back

The breadcrumb trail to efficiency

To overcome writer’s block, Ernest Hemingway famously stopped writing in the middle of a sentence so that he had a clear starting point the next day. This is a nifty trick, but how can we apply it to modern creative work?

Modern work is rarely simple. There are many moving pieces and a lot of people do several different kinds of work every day to make a living. For example, you might give a presentation in the morning, then write a piece of software and end the day replying to emails.

Switch. Switch. Switch. That’s what the modern world requires.

But how do we switch elegantly and efficiently?

That’s where the Hemingway trick comes in handy.

What if you had a clear starting point for every day for every task?

Doing marketing? First watch this short clip and then read this summary. Coding? Here’s the line where you finished yesterday. Meeting someone? Here are the notes from the last meeting with them.

Wouldn’t that make you more efficient? But more importantly, wouldn’t it prevent the procrastination caused by not knowing where to start and the needless guilt trips to social media?

Leave a breadcrumb trail to your future self

Here a few ways to bring yourself on track:

  • Leave a note in the calendar saying: “Read file before This way you can review the work you did yesterday or on Friday.

  • Review a file outline to bring to mind the main points

  • Leave physical notes to self A post-it note saying “Do this in the morning”

  • Have a video to remind yourself of the essentials For instance, before doing marketing, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B47eKMeUPY

Work would be simpler if we after every session paid more attention to the end and left a little something there to kickstart us the next session.

I’m working on leaving breadcrumbs for my future self.

Will you?