Procrastination… We all do it. Hell you’re probably doing it right now! Hell, this post is out so late because I was bloody procrastinating (still on Monday though)! If you are currently avoiding your work/duties then I have to say how flattered I am that you’d rather be reading my blog than doing whatever it is you were going to do. On the other hand, “Git yer ass back te work!” *cracks whip.
But seriously. Procrastination is a little devil that all writers and even normal people (we just call them normies) have to deal with. But how does one do it? How do you bludgeon it over the head and beat it into submission? There are a few tactics that I’ve employed to help me whenever that old bastard rears his ugly head. I’ll share them with you if you know the password…
You really don’t know the password? *Sigh
Fine, I’ll tell you. It’s “Fudgenipples”. Remember that or write it down somewhere. I’m not letting you off that easy next time. Anyway, where was I? Oh, right!
Make a list, and check it twice
Every good list starts off with a little Santa Claus roleplay, don’t you think? So your first task is to make a list of all the stuff you have to get done. Try to get it as detailed as possible, because we both know you suck at focussing, don’t you Dave? Yeah…
Make a detailed list, because you have to know exactly what has to be done. It makes it way easier to keep track. If you can, try to put it in order. Chronological, not alphabetical! Weirdo. Once you’ve done that, you can proceed to doing the shit on your list. Fun? Not at all. Convenient? Sure, kid.
Not only is it immensely motivating to tick things off on your list, but you’re also able to check your privilege remaining tasks and see how much you’ve already done. It puts it all into perspective and does wonders for keeping track of it all. I can’t count how many days have gone by with me struggling to remember what I have to do.
A list is like the Chrome to your Internet Explorer. It’s just better to have it.
Appoint your own police officer
You’re the delinquent graffiti artist painting dicks on monuments. You’re out of control. You need structure and discipline. But who’s going to discipline you? Your mother? Sure, if you’re into that kind of thing… Otherwise you’ll have to find someone else. But who could you ask?
Family is good. You could easily find a willing cousin or sibling to do it. Maybe even your spouse. Any committed family member could be a good cop to beat your ass down. What if you don’t have a family? Sucks to be you, I guess. You could get a friend too. Got a pal that owes you five bucks? Make them work that crap off instead!
“Okay, but what the hell is my ‘officer’ supposed to do?” I hear you asking.
Well if you’ll look to your right (the side-bar), you’ll see I’m reading 1984 by George Orwell. If you’ve read it, then you know all about “Big Brother”. Your friend/family member/kidnapped hobo will basically be your Big Brother. The proverbial ‘eye-in-the-sky’ watching you. They’ll check up on you. Or, better yet, you’ll report to them (because we all know you’re great at being an insufferable nag).
This makes you accountable for your procrastination. You’ll do a lot more work if you’re afraid of admitting your lazy habits to someone you care about. And when you hear their words of praise for a job well done, trust me it’s like having God whisper sweet nothings in your ear. You’ll want to work harder just for that ear-gasmic experience.
Summon the Drones
If you have access to social media, you might consider the following approach. Update everyone on social media about how much you’ve done. Let the collective hive-mind of Twitter or Facebook praise you for your progress. Sure it’s not as great to have strangers praising you, but it’s better than none at all.
Wanna know how else this benefits you?
What’s the password?
There you go, was that so hard?
Not only do you have a way of keeping track of your progress via your timeline along with having an army of drones who will praise your accomplishments, but you’ll also be keeping your feed filled with content. Struggling to think of tweet ideas? Just tell them your latest accomplishments. Social media content combined with a procrastination-ender? I know, it’s brilliant!
But be careful. Fill your feed with shit, and you’ll get just that in return. Like alcohol, use responsibly. Also another word of caution: Drones are like rabid beasts. Feed them with your progress and they’ll reward you, but they get used to it. They crave it. Forget to feed them for a while (or allow yourself to procrastinate) and they won’t let you forget about how lazy you’re being. A double-edged sword, sure, but well worth it.
What do you do right before bed? Watch a TV show? Read? Cry because nobody loves you? Well no more! You’re going to be spending your nights planning ahead from now on. How? I’m glad you asked Bob!
Outline everything you’re going to write tomorrow. And I mean everything. Also be as detailed as you possibly can. I mean it. The more detail you can put in, the less work you have to do tomorrow (less work? Yay!). Also, try to write the introduction of your article, blog post or chapter (equivalent to the first or second paragraph).
What does this do? It lets you reduce your workload whilst simultaneously making it easier to start. You can have your cake and eat it too! Just be careful. Don’t risk ending up with a severe case of diabetes… That was a metaphor… I meant don’t overdo the work. It’s not rocket-science Bob!
Don’t overwork yourself. Get the work done and plan ahead. The last thing you need is writer’s-insomnia. No, just play it safe. Avoid the diabetes. Nobody wants that…
Now don’t go around killing anyone who distracts you. It was wordplay, Bob… Jeez… Anyway, try to avoid distractions at all costs. Distractions are cancer to a writer’s productivity.
Do your research first and save it to your pc, then unplug the internet. Don’t plug it back in until you’re done. Not even if it offers you cookies. If you need to take a break, read a book or something. Educate yourself, you uncultured swine!
Just avoid all things TV and internet. In fact, use it as motivation. Reward yourself after a long day’s work with an hour-long video of Nyan cat. Go on. You deserve it. You’ve earned it. The proverbial “carrot on a stick” tactic can work wonders on the simple-minded. Not that you’re simple-minded! Not at all… *Sweats nervously
Alright, so now you have a basic idea of how to give procrastination a good kick in the balls. Hopefully you found some of this useful.
If you have any ways of killing procrastination, let me know in the comments!