Task and time constraints are useful in any type of habit building. It’s empowering to focus your productivity practice on a specific output (3 sales calls or 100 words written) or time working (like a 25 minute Pomodoro).
The next level of difficulty is realizing the gap between beginner momentum and the work of the master. I'm seeing as I write 250 words a day in Ship 30, compared to how Stephen King writes 6 pages a day, every day.
Even a wildly successful writer like George R.R. Martin asks of King (1)...
“Aren’t there days you get distracted, check your email, wonder if you had any talent at all, and thought you shoulda been a plumber?”
Creators tend towards perfectionism because we have good taste. This is what Ira Glass calls “The Gap” - the difference between our time and talent now and what (or who) we aspire to be. The solution is simple: a volume of work over time that bridges the gap. To align with another essay, it’s 100 → 1000 rounds of complete AND published work.
Creative output is a lot like exercise. At the beginning you want to lift heavy weights and run far… but struggle with 10 pushups or running a mile. So focus on low reps (task) or short duration (time). As you build confidence and consistency - add reps or exercise longer.
The comparison is clear. Many writers don’t start with 6 pages a day for 60 days in a row. Focus on writing 250 words or recording 3 minute videos and build from there. This is how you close the gap.