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Similar to many folks around here, I love solving problems; however, I lose all interest in writing and producing papers once I had solved the problem. Some of my favorite things to do at that time are to either solve other problems, procrastinate, not do it and dwell on it, or just screw around doing nothing meaningful. This problem also extends to paperwork and administraiton work

I lack the self discipline to write about my projects and it's starting to catch up with me.

I've tried the following techniques:

  • Start early in the morning (works sometimes but not always)
  • Dedicate daily time to write (never works)
  • sit in an environment with no internet and nothing but the material I need to write on (works but I can't do it for a long period of time)
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How do you write? Do you brainstorm and mindmap? Do you do an outline first? Do you try to write the introduction first, or get the main ideas out? What's your process? – Raystafarian Jul 15 '13 at 20:48
@Raystafarian I usually do the outline first. Wake up early in the morning after a good night's sleep, and go to a quiet area such as a boardroom, and sit and write. that is my most successful method so far, but even then it has a very poor success rate – dassouki Jul 16 '13 at 12:47

In my highly biased opinion, the ultimate lifehack for this kind of problem is a commitment device. Here's a list of apps that employ commitment devices:

(As you can guess, my own company, Beeminder, is in that list.)

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Here are a few things you could try:

  • Do something small every day: Instead of trying to set out and write an entire paper now, set a goal that you're 90% confident you can reach every day and track it. It might be something that seems really low like 10 words per day, but that's more than 0 words and will build a habit (and you will grow this goal over time).

  • Write with someone: Find someone to be a co-author, and meet regularly to go over progress, brainstorm.

  • What worked in the past?: You've probably worked on papers before, what worked well for you? Maybe it's been a particular location to write.

  • Remove distractions and work in chunks: If you haven't already, try something like the Pomodoro technique: Write for N minutes with no interruptions, at which point you take a M minute break (the break is just as important as the work).

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You said "I love solving problems; however, I lose all interest in writing and producing papers once I had solved the problem."

Solving the problem in your mind is like doing the 80% of the solution. It better to think that a solution is only complete when it is written down for others to see it. In Mathematics they say you cannot say that you solved the problem if you have not written it down in precise, formal and full details. Often lots of gaps only appear when doing the formal writing. Pareto principle says the remaining 20% of the solution will require 80% of the time. This can explain why lots of people do only the 20% of the time investment.

There were lots of techniques proposed in the current answers. Lots of them are very good. I just tried to preset a new angle on the problem.

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Use a voice recorder of some type to get your thoughts out while they are fresh. Even if you wait longer to put into writing, you won't miss any content. Voice to text software is getting better, but could have lengthy learning curve.

If the act of writing becomes more like taking dictation, you may see it as less stressful and not such a mentally taxing task.

Improve your typing skills. For things you don't like, get them done as quickly as possible. The more obstacles you remove the better.

Ultimately, having a boss with deadlines may be the only motivation there is. You can't like doing everything.

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Try using the Seinfeld Calender technique described here:

Basically what you have to do is have a big calendar up in your room and make a promise to yourself that you will do a bit of writing everyday - no need to do a lot - just a minimum of 10 min per day - or something like that. For each day that you actually do it, mark a big cross on the calendar - after you have quite a few days/week of markings on the calendar you will be automatically motivated to do it everyday.

Instead of having a big calendar on your wall, you can also simply make use of an android app - their are many apps available in the Google Play market made specifically for this purpose.

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