Procrastination is a killer. Remember that Saturday morning when you were 11 and dad told you to go wash the car? As soon as it was done you’d get to go to the movies. Well, the sun set on that Saturday. Dirty car = no movies. Or how about we flash forward to high school, when you had three weeks to prepare for that big lit exam. Then two weeks. Then two days. Then it turned into an all night cram session because, sure, Hamlet only takes a day to figure out. What a piece of work is man, indeed.
It doesn’t get any better when you’re a “grown up” either. Procrastination still rears its ugly head. College term papers, business spread sheets and cost analysis reports are often shoved off until the last minute. We give ourselves undo stress and anxiety because we put off what we must do. D.W. has a great mantra, “Do what you supposed to do, so that you can do what you want to do.”
Simple, I know, but absolutely truthful. Listen, I put off doing this post last night, so I have to do it now. What I want to do is work on Necromancers’ Pride – Storm of Shadows. What I have to do first is get this post out. Just three chapters to go, by the way!!
See what D.W. means? Simple but truthful. Just so you know, writers are the most notorious procrastinators on the face of the earth … and we LOVE to write! So, I can’t put it off anymore, without further delay, here are some tips to avoid putting things off.
- Do it first thing in the morning. Get up and get it done. Up an hour early saves you several hours on the back end of the day. It also avoids the stress you feel in putting it off. Besides, as the day goes on, you will find more excuses to not do something.
- Have a partner. Committing to someone else is a great way to keep you moving forward. If you put it off, you not only fail yourself, you fail them. Be accountable to someone else until you have made it a habit of being accountable to yourself.
- Don’t let little tasks put off big ones. Sure, answering emails is important. As is doing the laundry or fixing that leaky sink. However, are those things as important as the big project? What I need to do today is write my novel, not check the latest thread on Facebook. Tweeting my voice is not as important as giving my characters voices of their own. Jump into that big project with both feet. It gets smaller as you go.
- Write down your goals. Simple yet effective. Nothing is as satisfying as crossing off a completed task from a list. Write blog: check. Write chapter: That one will be checked by this afternoon. Putting a list together lets you know just how much you have to do, but more importantly, it lets you know how much you have gotten done.
- Be proud. Even the smallest accomplishment is a big deal once you have stopped putting it off and gotten it done. Give yourself the right to be proud of the work you have done. That feeling will carry you onto your next goal. There is such a rush of success both D.W. and I get when we complete a goal and meet a deadline. It is an infectious feeling that will push you further ahead.
There you go. Five tips to stop putting things off. So, what are you waiting for? Do what you supposed to do, so that you can do what you want to do. As for me, it is time for a shave and then time to write the next chapter. Wait … I should refer to rule number 3. Write first. Shave later. Let’s get to work, people. We will all be happy we did.
What tips do you have to avoid procrastination?
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