Wednesday, December 16, 2015

7 Tricks to Stop Procrastination

Writers suffer from the same things as everyone else: self doubt, deliberate stalling, excuses, and overall procrastination. Here are a few tricks to help writers, and others, overcome procrastination and get back to work.

1. Create a Daily To-Do List

Each night, before you go to bed, write out a to-do list for the next day. Write the most important things you must do first. Include everything else after the most important items. In the morning, read through your list and tackle each task on the list, from most important to least important.

2. Make a Time Schedule

Create a schedule for each day and give yourself so much time to complete each task on your to-do list. Keep your schedule realistic and give yourself plenty of time to complete each task. For example, I can easily write a 500 to 1,000 word blog post in well under an hour. On my schedule, I give myself a full hour to complete the task because of the possibility of interruptions or I might get stumped and have to do extra research. If I do finish before that hour is up, I call it free time and you’ll probably find me folding laundry just to get away from the computer.

3. System of Rewards

Offer yourself a little reward for each task you accomplish or whenever you reach a certain word count. For example, if one of the things you need to do is niche research, offer yourself a piece of chocolate or let yourself play a quick game of solitaire on the computer as soon as you are finished with the task.

4. One Thing at a Time

Focus on doing one thing at a time. Avoid multitasking. Studies have shown that you will accomplish more tasks if you work on one item at a time, from start to completion.

5. Break It Down

When a project feels overwhelming, break it down into smaller tasks and tackle each task, one step at a time. For example, if you want to write a novel, break the tasks involved down into research, outline, rough draft, second draft, etc. You can break the rough draft down even further into time allotments, such as 2 hours of writing each day, or into word counts, such as 4,000 words a day.

6. Give It 5 Minutes

On those days where you just can’t seem to break out of the rut, force yourself to do the task for 5 minutes and tell yourself that after 5 minutes, you can do whatever you want for the next 20 minutes. Sometimes you will find yourself able to work past those 5 minutes and continue writing for a much longer time. Other times, it will take a few sets of 5 minute works to get your creative motor going.

7. Read Motivational Books

Get motivated by reading self-help books, watching motivational videos on YouTube, and reading motivational quotes. I like to post a daily motivational quote each day in my work area. Whenever I feel like stopping or giving up, I’ll look up and reread the quote to get myself motivated to get back to work.

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