Let’s talk procrastination. While in a lot of ways our last two misses were less about procrastination and more about forgetfulness, I’m a procrastinator, so let’s just go there.
You aren’t lazy if you’re a procrastinator. It’s not about that. It’s about some combination of the following three things:
1. You’re scared. Doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not, it’s real to you, and it’s preventing you from getting stuff done.
2. You like that adrenaline hit of last minute achievement and you will bend time and space and other people’s deadlines to get it.
3. Procrastinating reminds you that you’re a rockstar for whom some things are easy, so it’s okay to blow stuff off until the last minute.
All of these things can suck and mess with your goals. None of them mean you’re a bad person, no matter what your mom, your school, or you yourself has ever said.
So now what? You want to do the thing and you want to do it later. Here are some tricks that work for me to get the thing done right now:
1. Can I multi-task it? If so, I put on the TV and pretend I’m not really doing the thing I feel freaked out by doing while I do the damn thing.
2. Fake deadlines. Much like deadlines in corporate work, internal deadlines are deadlines for you before it ever gets to the client/editor/etc. Of course, many of us procrastinators will just blow these off too, but it’s worth a try.
3. Positive self-talk. Seriously, you’re already procrastinating, why have shame about walking around your house getting some adrenaline up and telling yourself, loudly, how you’re just going to sit down and write the hell out of this thing and knock it out the park. So what if your pets mock you.
4. Long-term: Find other ways to get those adrenaline hits and find out what you’re really afraid of — rejection? success? being alone with your thoughts? editors? readers? spiders? You gotta know the dragon to slay the dragon (or to befriend it and have it be your awesome minion).
Like all the other Things we talk about here, procrastination isn’t a Thing that gets solved or fixed or whatever we want to call it overnight. Sometimes it doesn’t get fixed at all. Sometimes, the best you can do is find a workaround. But little fixes do add up, and it’s something you can start in some small way right now.
So what’s the thing you’re putting off this week? Or better yet, how do you solve procrastination? We’re always in the market for a good tip.