Here are the core habits that I remind myself of, (all learned from Tiago Forte):

  1. Work on a packet of information. This packet is established in the beginning before you start working. What is that thing that you will finish by the end? Tiago talks about as long as you have that thing in mind, interruptions are no problem. You become flexible because you know exactly what you’ll complete that day.
  2. Lowering scope. The next piece to keep in mind is the scope of the packet that you’re working on. Today I decided to write 5 blogs. But now time is running low and my mental energy is fading. So I lowered the scope and decided to write these last two in a simple bullet-point fashion.
  3. Cherish your mindstate. “When you’re running errands, it takes no extra effort to do one more stop.” - Tiago. It’s difficult to get into a mindstate such as writing. There are major barriers. But once you get in it, writing just one more blog becomes easy. So over the last year, I’ve grown to appreciate and value when I’m in a good writing mood — or a meditative mood or a workout mood — and I don’t let outside distractions like social media alter that. This is a good argument for 2-3 hour deep work sessions. As well this shows the power in Niel Gaiman’s rule for writing: write or do nothing at all. If you do that, eventually, out of boredom, your mind concedes and says, okay, I’ll get in a writing mindstate. Lastly, I’ve also learned to recognize when that mindstate has been exhausted, and rather than force it, I begin to end the session and pivot to something else.
  4. Work opportunistically. Tiago talks about multi-tasking. He says if the opportunity to work on something and improve arises naturally, then do that and come back to your overarching task (the overarching packet that you are going to complete today). This goes back to the second habit of cherishing your mindstate. If I’m writing a scene and an idea for a blog comes to mind and at that moment it’s suddenly easy to throw together the blog, then do it. Each time you do that, you increase your future leverage and you’re doing it effortlessly. Once finished, you come back to your overarching packet of work. And always if you need, you can lower the scope on that packet so that you still end the workday with something complete.

Those are the principles I learned from Tiago, but it’s just the tip of his lessons. For further reading, check out his blog at