The phrase, “Procrastination is the thief of time,” is a famous mantra we employ to prompt ourselves to get into the game and get the work done. It is a reality we are no doubt familiar with—the fact that procrastination, if not correctly dealt with, can stifle specific opportunities and even cause us to miss out on some incredible rewards.
Yeah, we know all these. But the truth is that sometimes we just can’t help the urge to procrastinate. Whether it is postponing the instruction to take out the trash before it overflows or changing the oil before the engine breaks down or meeting that deadline at work before the time for appraisal, procrastination can creep in slowly until we are blindsided by the consequences.
Unfortunately, even as writers, we get bitten by this bug too often. There we are, staring at the blank page, and we just can’t summon any motivation to get started; or perhaps we have gotten started, and we keep pushing back the timeline for completion.
Several factors are responsible for our procrastination as writers and here are three of them:
- Getting bored or frustrated with the subject matter: Yes, this is very much possible. One of the things that keep writing flowing on an even keel is the writer’s continuing identification and interest in the subject he is assigned to write. Once that is lost, the writer inevitably puts off work on the project.
- Fear: This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination. The fear of failing, criticism, and not meeting up to expectations have caused many a writer to push back what would have been great pieces of writing.
- Laziness and lack of consistency: Practice and consistency are defining traits of any good writer. The more you write, the better you get at it. On the other hand, the less consistent a writer is, the easier it becomes to procrastinate until he ends up not writing at all.
Fortunately, no matter how deep the tentacles of procrastination seat, we can beat this monster and get right back to our writing game. The following five ways show us how:
- Choose a writing niche you are passionate about: The more a writer enjoys his work, the faster he longs to get back to it. If you desire to overcome procrastination, then get involved in subject matters or themes that you are passionate about rather than ones that put you to sleep.
- Schedule your writing and set a deadline: When it comes to writing, it is easy to think you can just fly by the seat of your pants and wait until inspiration strikes. But more often than not, inspiration is a product of discipline. Therefore, it is crucial to plan out each writing project and set a deadline for finishing. Doing this goes a long way to keep you committed to the work and to stave off the temptation to tarry.
- Deploy tools to fend off distracting influences: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other forms of media entertainment have been the bane of productivity for many writers. While they are not bad in themselves, the difficulty lies in knowing when to indulge or abstain. If you seek to jack up productivity and overcome procrastination, then it is vital to block out such distractions from your workspace. Apps like Rescue Time and Self Control are deployed to limit such frequent usage and visits to these sites.
- Get an accountability partner: Often, knowing you are being watched and rated may be the key to getting rid of procrastination. Get someone trusted who can keep you accountable and disciplined enough to follow through on your projects. Note that this must be a person whose instruction and mentorship you are willing to follow.
- Institute a reward system: Our psyche thrives on pleasure and reward. One way to beat procrastination is to set ourselves a target for each project and create a reward for every milestone reached. Knowing that you have something worthwhile to look forward to can accelerate the pace with which you approach the work and hasten the process of completion.
Finally, as writers, overcoming procrastination starts with the willingness to devote ourselves to the art of writing. These tips and many other suggestions that abound will be fruitless without a sense of dedication and commitment to the craft.
Therefore, don’t let procrastination steal your thunder; get working instead.