Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
I am a procrastinator, but I am able to overcome it! Do you procrastinate? I’m willing to bet that more than half of you do. I have a hard time believing there’s anyone out there who doesn’t procrastinate, but I know these people exist because I’ve met some of them.
If you are like me, this week is for you. I’m going to share tips to help keep procrastination under control.
Today’s tip: Set small goals along the way. If you are undertaking a big task, like writing a book, it’s best to set daily goals (or even hourly goals) so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the task. I find I’m motivated to work even when I set a goal like: If you do this, then you can fold that load of laundry.
Typically the laundry folding would be a procrastination tool, but instead I’ve turned it into a motivator. After the laundry is folded, I get back to work with a new goal in mind.
Make sure your motivators are brief rewards. Fifteen minutes at the most!
Also, when it comes to food motivators, be sure you balance that out with exercise. Often a fifteen-minute walk is just what the brain needs to be re-stimulated anyway.
Fortunately, I work out of the main Books & Such office most of the time, so I don’t always have household chores calling to me, but I know that’s not the case for most of you who write from home.
At the end of the day, I treat myself to something fun only if I accomplished my goals. 🙂 This something fun usually involves ice cream or coffee or coffee ice cream. Thankfully caffeine late in the day doesn’t keep me up at night.
What things do you usually do instead of your work? How can you can use your procrastination methods as motivators? Do you work best on an hour-to-hour basis, or can you motivate yourself with a daily goal?
Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are usually where I go when I’m procrastinating. I usually stick with a daily goal. With a full-time job and a three-year-old, 1,000 words is an achievable word count for me.
Hmm. Housework would not work as a motivator for me. Blog reading and email checking are my things. I set a timer when I’m writing rough draft and I’m not allowed to check email until it dings.
Speaking of coffee ice cream have you ever tried Edy’s Espresso Chip ice cream? To die for.
Thanks Rachel for your blog. Setting two-three days or weekly goals suit me better. And ice cream is a better motivator than folding the laundry.
If I have a book anywhere near my computer when I’m supposed to be writing, I’m tempted to pick it up and read for “inspiration.” 😉
Yesterday, I was alone in the house-a very rare thing. I wanted to go for a run, but I made myself finish the chapter I was working on first. That usually works for me.
And as you mentioned, ice cream. There’s nothing more satisfying than coffee oreo ice cream at the end of a productive day!
A bit of reading is nice (like a chapter), a game of FB scrabble. Things like that.
Jessica R. Patch
I don’t write in daily word count goals. The math throws me off! I write in daily scene goals.
Social media can suck me in. I’ll look up and wonder where the last hour went. My goal is to write X amount of scenes, then check it.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes not so much.
Internet in general (including Facebook, email, etc.), and then there’s Spider Solitaire. And television – my husband has become obsessed with “American Pickers.” 🙂
“Research” is one of my favorite procrastination tools because it sounds so convincing. But I always know when I don’t really need to do more research, I just need to sit down and write.
My almost 4 year old and 21 month old keep me busy,
but I also procrastinate big time. Yes, reading blogs and
the internet in general are my procrastination tools. When
I write, I tend to do all in one sitting (not impossible if
you write picture books that are 700 to 900 words).
My problem is actually getting to the point of sitting down
and starting. Once I begin, it’s usually fine. I then am
absorbed for about 24 hours in a distant fairy tale world
of dreamy scenes and playful plots. Once finished, I’m
snapped back into reality and realize that the laundry is
backed up, the kitchen is a catastrophe and everyone is
hungry. 🙂 Okay, maybe that’s a bit of dramatic.
I agree with the ice cream reward, except mine would be
chocolate and peanut butter. Rachel, your lucky that
caffeine doesn’t bother you. I love coffee, but if I have even
the smallest cup in the morning, I can’t sleep for two nights!
Great post, Rachel. I’ve find the only time I procrastinate is when I haven’t remembered to say no to things I should, and therefore, my schedule is overloaded.
The Internet can be a big time waster for me, so if I really want to write without interruption, I do it long hand.
Great post, Rachel! I’m right there with you on procrastinating, so I make myself 3×5 cards with various 10 minute “fun” things on each one. I keep these in a jar on my desk. When I sit down to write, I can pull out one card for every 45 minutes. Whatever’s on the card gets done (or partaken of…like coffee!), then back to writing I go. Since I work full time, I normally only get to choose 2 cards each day, but I still get lots done. Woo Hoo!
Randy Ingermanson recommends a method to fight procrastination which works for me. I’ve set a predetermined time to begin writing each day. My accountability partner knows to expect a two-word email from me (writing started) at that time. If I fail to email her than I owe $5.00. It’s not a lot of money, but coupled with the shame of not doing what I’m supposed to, its a strong deterrent. Once I’ve begun, I’m usually so into the writing, that time ceases to exist, and I’m surprised when the timer goes off.
I like to say I’m a recovering procrastinator. I used to be horrible. My mother is stunned that I ever meet my deadlines, much less that I’ve met all of them 🙂
Internet can be a powerful procrastination tool, so I limit it to first thing in the morning, a check over lunchtime (now), and again in the evening. I use a goal calendar, which I break down to weekly and daily goals. Those are posted on my bulletin board by my computer to keep me focused. I don’t really use motivators, but I gain great satisfaction from checking items off my list.
Now…back to work!
Donna, I love the 3×5 index card idea! I should try that!
Sarah, I wish that checking items off a list was a good enough motivator for me. I’m just not a list maker.
Barbara, accountability partners are perfect for procrastinators. The $5 idea is something I’ve never heard before, but it sounds like it would work.
It’s not that I enjoy laundry that much, but it’s something that irks me until it’s done, so I’m always wanting to get it out of the way. Maybe I’m a little “Monk-ish” about the laundry…
I am so glad I am not the only one who motivates myself with laundry! Thanks for sharing, Rachel.
Sarah Joy, an associate agent-in-training.
In the spirit of setting small goals, when I used to make a “to do” list, for the first item I would write “make to do list.” Then I would proceed with the rest of my list.
Once the list was complete, I would immediately cross off “make to do list.” What a sense of accomplishment!
I then felt motivated to tackle the next item right away.