I sat down at my screen today wanting to write for my project, A Thousand Watchful Eyes. This resulted in the usual pattern of procrastination – surfing the internet, watching a video, writing notes about future projects, eating a snack… The list goes on. I have faced this dragon before, and I have defeated it many times over. When you don’t feel like writing, try these five simple steps . . .
Stop Writer’s Procrastination in These Five Steps
Feed Your Brain So You’re Not Fighting Hunger and Dehydration
Here’s what I suggest… Drink a glass of water. If you have not eaten in hours, eat a light snack with a little protein and fat. You don’t want to lose out on your precious writing time because your body isn’t ready for you to sit down and use your brain. It takes effort and persistence to write, so feed your brain.
Feed your brain so it is up to the task.
Make your writing space comfortable and enjoyable.
I suggest setting yourself up in a comfortable place – a place that you enjoy. Ideally, this is an area that creates the right mindset for you to write. In the long term, try setting up something permanent. In the short term, work with what you have!
For me, my favorite spot to work is at the kitchen table when no one is home. Make sure everything you need is available to you, including whatever writing implements you use.
Clear away all possible distractions.
Put your phone on silent and close all social media, and make sure all your extra tabs and windows are gone. Music is the only exception, as it can get you pumped to work. A playlist is the most ideal, as you won’t shuffle through songs every minute or so.
Set a timer.
Set a small amount of time. I suggest five minutes or under.
The bigger the urge you have to run away from your project, the smaller the amount of time you should set.
For example, to overcome procrastination today, I did Steps One through Three, and then I set a timer for three minutes. I wanted to get three solid sentences finished in that time. This is a simple and manageable task for me.
You should strive for your own simple and manageable task. Maybe it’s just writing for that small amount of time. Maybe it’s describing a character or a detail of your setting.
You could set your timer for thirty seconds or thirty minutes! The point is to set a small goal, and that’s relative to what you are doing.
This tiny writing sprint moves you from procrastinating to actually starting your work. Crushing this tiny goal will give you enough motivation to move forward.
Make what you just wrote better.
Take what you created during your tiny writing sprint and revise it to make it better. This may involve re-arranging the sentences, editing for punctuation, or re-arranging the order. In fact, it may involve a few other processes I failed to mention. The point is to improve what you just created.
Now, your brain has switched gears.
Now, you are no longer procrastinating.
Now, you can stop, if you want, but you’ll probably feel like working on your project! Maybe you will even feel like repeating steps four and five again. In all cases, you can say, “I worked on my project today, and tomorrow, I can try to do the same, or better.”
A Quick Tip
While these five steps work for Writer’s Procrastination, you can apply the same method to any task. You just need to get creative with Steps Four and Five.
If you procrastinate frequently, don’t worry. You’re human. It’s better not to beat yourself up. What you could do, however, is see what can be fixed. Maybe one small area of your life needs changing for you to work on your project.
A desk may need clearing, or a light may need fixing. Maybe you just need to adjust the little things in your life that help you focus 1% better. Maybe you need to rest. Sometimes there are a thousand little things that call for our attention and we have to decide to attend to them immediately or budget time later.
In all cases, I hope you try these five steps yourself. They work rapidly for me, and I hope they work for you.
Do you have any tips for overcoming procrastination?
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WP Daily Prompt: Rapid