The creative mind is often a labyrinthine of thoughts and plans, and channeling them properly takes a lot of effort and perseverance. Procrastination or putting things off for the day tomorrow is what most people have to face with almost on a daily basis. Doing the things planned for the day, for the moment becomes an act of thinking, ‘There’s always tomorrow for it’.
What people fail to recognize is that resistance the brain offers does not spare you with these thoughts when the sun rises again tomorrow. The resistance your mind offers that leads to you putting off things right now would be more or the same when you sit for completing those tasks again the next day. Procrastinators are creative visionaries who dream about building a beautiful mansion or writing a bestselling novel, but don’t get the basics right like putting together the bricks and the words needed for accomplishing what they set out for.
The difference between a bestselling author and a wannabe author is not much to be concerned about. As Eugene Ionesco puts it, “For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing”, there isn’t much difference at the end of the day between both, apart from a few pages completed by the author. While the published author is laying down his words page by page, the wannabe just fantasizes about the perfect end he must have. At the end of the year, the author will probably have the first draft completed and the winnable will have. Well, Nothing! And that’s how procrastination tears down through the dreams of the creative visionaries out there.
Are you procrastinating? Answer these simple questions to know
- Are you checking your eMail multiple times without intend to reply to all of them?
- Are you opening social networking sites Facebook and just browse through and not taking any action?
- Are you doing small and low priority tasks and leaving important tasks for tomorrow?
- Always waiting for right moment to start that one important thing and you are still waiting for it?
If your answer is yes, you are Procrastinating my friend and now it’s time to take action and change your Procrastinating habits to get things done. Before you follow these life-changing tricks, I would suggest to make a note of it in your notepad and repeat it every day. This way it will become a habit for you rather than just one-time thing. If you are motivated enough to get more things done and achieve your goals, let’s go ahead and kick the hell out of Procrastination from your life.
Beating Procrastination With 7 Proven Ways
The thing with the creative work is that it is difficult and excruciating in its original senses. It is something that has to be endowed with, something that the muse speaks to you; it works in harmony with Mother Nature. The main problem that procrastinators face is their fear when faced with the actual process of brick-laying.
A wannabe author, fears for a sentence that might go wrong considers himself a perfectionist, but ends up with nothingness. Bloggers are also one of those creatively gifted people, but many of them are bogged down with procrastination and it hinders them to achieve what they’ve been working for. Here are some of the proven ways to beating procrastination and get more work done.
Follow the ‘2-minute rule’ – Get started now!
This is a good piece of advice by James Clear, an entrepreneur and motivational writer. According to him, doing any task should always begin with 2 minutes of your time. If the task is small, you must set aside two minutes to get started on it; if it is a new habit, it shouldn’t take you more than 2 minutes everyday in the beginning. The advantage with this system is that, you can get easily started on things you want to do, as it wouldn’t seem be too much of a burden to do so. The thing that you start out for 2 minutes usually ends up being worked upon for over an hour, i f you’re really into it.
For me as a writer, and many other similar people out there, laying down the first line on paper is always the hardest task; once done, the rest is itself taken care of. It has also been scientifically proven by psychologists and actually makes sense in the realms of the physics world, that starting with small thing provides you with the much needed momentum. This momentum proves to be a powerful procrastination enforcer. Once your dread about a daunting task is dealt with, you stop worrying and start doing.
Practical implementation: When you check your Emails on mobile or desktop, make sure you reply to it right-away if it takes 2-3 minutes. This way you will have one less task to deal with and you have defeated most common procrastination habit.
Break it down to the basics
Your tasks and priorities are not properly defined if you can’t break your big task into chunks of do-able tasks. Every big task is made up of pieces of little tasks that collectively work together. Once you’ve identified your task at hand, break it into a few set of small tasks. Having something like ‘Collect and organize all the available stats of the blog‘, seems less daunting than having, ‘Build a business plan‘ on your to-do list. The jest here is that when you break down an important and daunting task to its basics, you get a clearer vision of the things at hand which are absolutely doable and less likely to be put off.
Re-do your To-Do list and try and define each big task into chunks of different smaller tasks that are patently doable. When your mind sees the smaller doable tasks, there is very little resistance offered by it as it considers it to be fairly accomplish-able. The mind tends to avoid what it fears and it takes a fair amount of effort on your end to make it think in terms of smaller set of tasks.
Kill the fear, somewhat!
While I here mean to say kill the fear, it doesn’t imply to kill the fear of deadlines, that would be futile. Killing the fear here relates to the creative process at hand. You can’t be creative if you are doubtful or fearful about going wrong somewhere. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and learning from them is the only way to nourish your creative mind. If you fear of going wrong while producing a work, you end up not doing it at all.
While the fear of deadlines shouldn’t be attenuated at any costs, the fear of going wrong should be eliminated from your mind. Having a fear of the deadlines is a good way of staying on track while accomplishing your goals. Channel your anxiety about the deadline onto the creative part. Instead of worrying about an upcoming deadline, focus on the getting the work done and spend your energy coming up with creative solutions to the problem or situation at hand.
Slow, steady progress is the key
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare that overshadowed your childhood stories? Well, that’s exactly what works in real life. There’s a huge difference between doing things and doing things daily, it is perseverance, something harder to get by. Daily work on a task at hand yields far much superior outcome than churning out something just before the deadline strikes. Although two students are of the similar aptitude, the one who crams just before the exam is at a much greater risk of failing the test than the one who worked daily for a week on the test.
How many blogs are out there that are rarely getting updated and still nurturing lots of daily visitors? Little to none. No one would want to visit a website that gets rarely updated, so why would they want to come to you? As a blogger, persevering through all the situations thrown at you and still managing to produce content on regular intervals is the key to your blog’s success. The speed doesn’t matter as long as you are going in the right direction.
Try being accountable to someone
That is when you realize that your inner self is not strong enough to be too self-critical. That is when you need someone else to oversee the way you get about things. Some people tend to do better when done collectively and the group thing inspires them to churn out more work with relatively little efforts. That is when you need to join interest groups and forums, where like-minded people work to encourage one another.
One such good example for writers is the Writers’ groups, which comprises both offline and online groups where these writers gather and critique each others’ work. The advantage here is that you can get a clear and insightful suggestions and feedback on your work from a similar minded people. Find yourself one such group if you aren’t much of a self-starter when it comes to blogging.
Schedule, Timer and Batching similar tasks
I haven’t talked much about the tedious things that have been said almost everywhere earlier about getting things done – ‘Prepare a schedule’! Although this cannot be itself abolished from the things one must do to avoid procrastination, it needs a little tweak and diverge a little from its very basic definition. Just having a schedule with a fixed amount of time allotted for each task won’t make much difference in eliminating procrastination.
In your schedule, make sure you batch similar tasks. If you set aside some part of your time for social media promotions, have the very nearest task to it similar to this one – like doing something promotional. Same things when batched together tend to be a little easier on your mind and help you work efficiently and focus better.
It all comes down to choices
At the end of the day, the things you choose to do or not to do boils down to the very basics of your intent of doing for or against it. A psychology professor at the Bishop’s University in Canada says that, “You’ve got to dig a little deeper and find some personal meaning in that task.” Taking some time out to be introspective and redefining the ‘why’ of the things your doing makes it much easier to put off procrastination.
The personal choices you make define you and questioning yourself every now and then the whole purpose of your doing this would definitely set you on track. Thinking about why exactly do you want to do it, will help you re-define your plans and goals and propel you to get things done and achieve what you’ve been working for.
What actions do you take to eliminate procrastination from your work? Shout out your thoughts and comments about the techniques that help you beat procrastination.