Writing articles: how to make it a habit? Case study

Elizaveta is a researcher and significant part of her job is dedicated to writing articles in her field of study. She used to force herself to work on articles, driven by dead-lines, working in a rush under stress.

Writing articles as an everyday habitIn November’17 she went through the Habits Bootcamp, an online program where people are learning how to turn useful behaviors into everyday habits. There she learned how to turn this occasional practice of working on the article into a solid everyday habit. That’s is her story.

Working on my article is now the first thing that I normally do when I come at work. I turn on my desktop, that serves as a «trigger». My “habitual action” is to write an article for 25 minutes. That approach is also known as “Pomodoro technique”. I don’t set my goal as to “write an article” or “to finish the chapter X”. No, I’m just saying to myself: now I will write my article for 25 minutes, and after that I’m free.

In fact, in most cases I work much longer than 25 minutes. But that feeling that my task is so short, helps me to start the work right away. Of course, sometimes I slip and check mail or chat with colleagues before writing (or get carried away with paperwork or a meeting, etc.) but I try and stay on track.

When I just started working on that habit I used to reward myself with a nuts bar after I finish my 25-minutes work cycle, but I no longer feel that I need a dedicated reward to carry on.

To get less distracted while working I also installed a browser application that blocks Facebook, YouTube and other social media. That helps me stay focused on my work. I also put on my headphones to signal people around that I’m focused and I should not be distracted.

During the Habits Bootcamp Ekaterina Akulich advised to install the RescueTime mobile application, that tracks how you spend your time on your gadgets. And I discovered that just in a few days I spent whole 3 hours on Instagram alone! So, I installed the app that blocks Facebook, Instagram and some other sites on my phone at specific periods of time. For example, when I’m at work. That helps to stay focused!