I have been answering questions on Quora for a while now — though never with the frequency and fervour as in the last 2 weeks. One problem which I always used to have was deciding on what to answer. I would try to evaluate and choose on a number of different parameters:
- Does the question sound interesting, or is it a run of the mill one?
- Can I add some value to anyone by sharing my thoughts and insights? Do I even have insights on this particular topic?
- Does one of the answers already address the point I am trying to make and do I see any need for my answer to even go there?
- Do I have something interesting to share here or would I go blank once I start writing the answer?
Needless to say it was a time consuming process. I would scroll down in topics of my choice, looking at questions, and point #1 itself would need a lot of scrolling. Not to mention, it was distracting. I would end up spending a good deal of time just browsing through content, never really writing anything. And off the times that I did start writing, a lot of them stopped midway, just getting saved as drafts. Now that is a special place where my supposed Quora answers go to die.
2 weeks back, I decided to instill some discipline in my life. Started with making one small change — No matter what, I will write every day.
So I decided that come what may, every single day, I would be sharing a story on Medium, and answering a question on Quora.
A day later, I had made a more important decision and added a much needed constraint to my resolution.
If I need to do this, I need to do it before 9:30am. Every. Single. Day.
Now. I gave myself an out. I could have one cheat day every week. A day when I can not follow my target and yet, not feel bad about it.
So far I have wasted two cheat days (as it has been 2 weeks).
Now, I just made time my keeper. This caused me to get over that morning inhibition of getting out of bed. No more snoozing alarms. Every morning, as soon as I get up, I know I have work to do, and I am running against the clock, so things get auto-organized.
I do the medium article later. I am not sure why, but getting done with the Quora part first helps. Probably because on Medium I need to start with “So, what do we write about today?” That is a problem I don’t have on Quora. There I just need to choose. And by the time I am done, I have one idea or another at the back of my head on what to write about today.
I am not sure, but I think having this time restriction really helped me. I, typically, open up two topics and in less than 5 mins I have come across a question that I would be answering for the day.
Does that mean I have compromised on the parameters I used to have in my question screening process? Not really. I still try to write insightful pieces of questions I find interesting.
I think being bound by time has just made the process faster.
I know I have no time to waste, and a deadline to meet, so I think faster, work faster.
That’s what was missing earlier. I had plenty of options to choose from. And I would keep on moving from one to another, without actually stopping by any one of them. Having this one curfew-time has simply changed that for me. I now have more clarity, less indecisiveness and more good old action.
And it all starts every single morning. With one simple race. With the tick tock on that stupid clock.