Featured Image Credit: Renita Kalhorn, fortune.com
For months now, I’ve been sitting across from procrastination, seeing it as my enemy. While there have been instances where I’ve been able to put my head down and write, it’s been mostly stress and pressure with no results, yet it’s the only angle I tackled my lack of productivity from.
You can fight procrastination all day, all week, all month and get nowhere like in my case. Another option would be to stop fighting and work with it. All it takes is trying out a few little tricks and seeing what works for you. Thankfully, I’m never without examples.
Write One Thing Down
Whether it’s one sentence or one word, add one extra thing to that work in progress. Are you able to sit in front of that screen/notebook and not feel compelled to write any more? Or has an itch to continue been created in your brain?
If you don’t feel compelled, look at this way: that’s one extra thing there you never had before and of course it counts as progress! If you have an itch to continue, don’t fight it. Go with the flow.
Regardless of what has happened after writing down that one thing, you still took a step forward and a step forward means you’ll get there. Anything worth doing takes time.
Use Different Techniques
There’s practically an unlimited supply of techniques various creatives have undergone in the name of productivity. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The times they don’t work is when they’re forcing their strengths instead of using their weaknesses – the weakness in this case being procrastination.
A few days ago, I put ‘The Pomodoro Technique’ to the test with a slight tweak. This technique requires putting your head down for a 25-minute period, followed by a 5-minute break, repeat. For me, 5 minutes is nothing. It’s a blip of time and I can’t take a blip of a break, so instead I get busy for 20 minutes and take 10-minute breaks afterwards.
The workload was lightened, not by trying my hardest to cut out procrastination, but by using it to my advantage. We’re only human and in 2019, we’re going to get distracted quite easily. You’ll get frustrated by trying to cut out all distractions, so don’t cut them out. Work with them.
Read Your WIP
Credit: Stephanie Nelson, freezefantasy.com
If there’s any diversion you’ll indulge, it’s reading. You mightn’t even know you’re reading when you’re reading! So why not read your WIP in its current state? This will lead to all sorts of developments as ideas, rewrites, etc. start springing to mind. Is there a simpler strategy to make headway than by doing something you do every day and letting your brain run away with itself? I don’t think so!
If there’s anything else you can think of to work in tandem with your procrastination rut, try it out and see whether or not it helps you.
To fight & possibly overcome is hard work. If it’s still a challenge you’re willing to undertake, make sure you succeed because it can be draining, especially if it doesn’t pan out.
Some people just can’t do hard work, not simply because they’re lazy but because that way of thinking has been deeply embedded in their minds for too long. If you’re one of those people, it could be a good idea to shake hands with procrastination and work smart.