Trigger failure

I forgot to write yesterday morning, then sort of left it to the afternoon, then got distracted playing Minecraft in the evening. I worked from home, so I didn’t have my normal Caltrain ride, which was my trigger for writing, which makes me think that more than anything related to energy or creativity, writing in the evening is less good for me because there’s no clear trigger to hang the habit off.

Sam Gentle wrote about habits as raw material—the more you have to work with, the easier it is to do things. Developing a habit gives you space to fill, once you have the habit of writing every day, you’re no longer thinking about whether to write, but rather about what to write. Developing habits in that way is, I think, useful not just for what the habit itself gives you, but also because it helps you get in the habit of developing habits. Things that you learn about how you work and think in the course of developing one habit can transfer to others, and you can use one habit to bootstrap another (like using a writing habit to develop a prototyping habit).

I tied my writing trigger to my morning train ride, which turned out unsurprisingly to fail when I didn’t have a morning train ride. So I’m going to try another trigger for days when I don’t commute: coffee. I reliably drink a cup of coffee in the morning even when I don’t catch a train, so I’m going to write while I drink my coffee. This will mean decoupling it from breakfast, since I can’t write and talk to my lovely girlfriend over scones at the same time.

Until tomorrow. ☕️

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