Deliberately imposed constraint: Write a post in 10 minutes or less

If you haven’t read The Six Thinking Hats by Dr. Edward de Bono, I strongly suggest giving it a read.

In case you haven’t, here’s the quick run down.

You have 6 metaphorical hats that you encourage everyone in a meeting to metaphorically put on. Each represents a different way of thinking. One of the benefits of this approach is getting everyone thinking in parallel. Instead of a back and forth, you get everyone contributing in the same way. Additionally, you can take advantage of each different individuals natural abilities in one of the thinking styles.

Here are the hats:

  • White Hat: Facts and Figures
  • Red Hat: Emotional
  • Black Hat: Pessimistic — Looking for risks and liabilities (Devil’s Advocate)
  • Yellow Hat: Optimistic
  • Green Hat: Creativity
  • Blue Hat: Structure and Order

The same ideas that can help you run a meeting more effectively can also be a unique way to construct a solid argument, pitch, or piece of content.

Here’s how…

What this post is about (Blue Hat)

In this post, I’m going to give examples of using each hat in the process of brainstorming and writing a piece of content and show how it can help build a well rounded architecture for an idea. I’ll use each hat with a relevant heading then explain.

The many ways of writing content (White Hat)

There are many styles of writing content such as using narratives and personal stories, citing data and research, or explaining a topic thoroughly using a mix of objective and subjective experiences. There are many sub categories and genres which would make it difficult to list each and every one in this post.

There is no supporting data that any one style is superior or better performing than another in all contexts.

My favorite types of posts (Red Hat)

If you ask me, the best posts are the ones that combine something that people really care about, with something they know about or have researched, with an easy to follow framework.

I gravitate toward this type of content.

This post won’t work for everyone (Black Hat)

Some people reading this have already tuned out and want my content to be more explicit and less conceptual. Similarly, there is no data cited for those who want well-researched and data-driven concepts.

Finally, the time constraint may pose a problem for filling out the idea to write a sufficiently interesting or useful piece of content.

People appreciate novelty and new ideas (Yellow Hat)

Some people will gravitate toward new frameworks that they hadn’t heard about and will incorporate it into their approach toward writing, pitching, and ideation. This may, in turn, change the quality and comprehensiveness of the work some readers will produce in the near future.

New Ways to Blog (Green Hat)

I should write a post presenting ideas from a book in a new way, but also combine it with a writing experiment where I constrained the writing time to just 10 minutes.


Try using all of the six thinking hats to think through an idea and then determine which pieces make the most sense to keep. At minimum, you will have ensured your approach has already considered some of the various perspectives people reading or listening may bring to the table.

Clock stopped

This post took almost exactly 13 minutes. This was hard. I felt like I was moving at blazing speed and couldn’t help but notice what a bad typist I am. I knew that my ideas were only half-formed and I could feel a deep itch to say more though I knew time would not allow.

So, if you’re feeling up to it, put on your different hats, and critique this post.

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