As a writer, it’s soooooooo easy to procrastinate. It’s so easy to procrastinate, period. For all of us. I often blame having no creative energy, having to recharge the batteries (ie. be lazy) before I can sit down and generate something worthy of your eyeballs. Sometimes I allow any number of distractions, be it the dishes, or emails, or shopping for stuff I think I might at some point need. But dang, if I don’t get a lot done when I don’t want to do something else.
Anyway, for whatever reason we procrastinate, it’s clearly hard to overcome. Here are a few ideas to help us get over the hump:
1. Establish a deadline. Establish a deadline and find some way to make it stick. That’s the thing, in theory anytime we have anything to do ever, we mentally assign it a deadline. Unfortunately a lot of the time, they don’t really hold. That’s why we often see our tasks get pushed back and back and back. We gotta care about the deadline. That’s the kind of accountability that works. So how do we care? Tell someone we care about. Tell your wife, your boss, your entire Facebook community what you’re going to do and by when. Then you’ll have your word and your reputation invested in the task and the deadline. With that type of padding, we’re way more likely to actually make it happen.
2. Give yourself a reward. Say you’ve been putting off clearing the clutter out of your office. Or off the kitchen counters. Wherever. And say you really want to go to this new musical playing in your city. Or you want to buy a new bike, or gun, or pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Attach the completion of the job you’re avoiding to the reward, and use that motivation to see it through. Then of course enjoy whatever you’ve earned! Double whammy of good feelings.. not only is something big checked off your list, you also rightfully earned your reward by doing the work.
3. Give yourself a reward that also establishes a deadline. Clearly this is a combo of one and two. Can be big, can be small. Smaller is easier because it’s easier for the brain to see the reward realized, which is what fuels our motivation. For instance, for me today, I want to go see the new chick flick, The Vow, at 4:10pm. I also know that this week has had enough goofing off, and it’s time to write. As such, I told myself that if I got a blog article composed and published, I could go have delicious popcorn and cry at a sappy love story. I love delicious popcorn, the entire movie experience, and I’ve only got a few hours to make it happen. As such, I’m highly motivated.
So here we are, 2:30pm and I’m already done with this useful and punchy little piece. And I’ve got nearly 2 hours before the reward I’ve earned… what else can I do?? See, that’s the thing.. sometimes we just need a little trick or tweak to the brain to get us off our butts. As soon as we start, we shift our momentum back to productivity and are then fueled by that. Once our momentum is going, we don’t need the tricks and tweaks. Ebbs and flows in productivity and procrastination are totally normal. Use these ideas when you need a boost, and most definitely let me know what you do and how it works.
Boom, Rachel McAdams and delicious popcorn, here I come.
Sometimes we just need a little trick or tweak to the brain to get us off our butts. As soon as we start, we shift our momentum back to productivity and are then fueled by that.