Cutting Procrast-Oh look! It’s a new game!
Show of hands – how many of you get distracted? How many of you put things off to last minute? Who has succesfully shredded their procrastination habit?
None of you better have your hands up! Kidding, kidding…But seriously, if you’ve buried it, danced on its grave, and moved on to marry its twin, Proactive. Congratulations! This post is not for you.
Now that we got rid of the over-achievers we can complain till we are properly satisfied – or till we stop putting off whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing. Whichever comes first, right?
So how do we kill procrastination? I have no idea but I’ve found two sites very useful during my NaNoWriMo days. It got hard to reach my daily word count sometimes. That was when procrastination snuck in and ruined everything. It set me days behind. I got nervous about catching up then I got worried that my nerves would make my writing a pile of goo. Obviously the next logical thing to do was put off writing till I got my mojo back.
Never Fall For That Line. That’s Procrastination speaking. It’s evil.
You can have somebody hold you accountable. If I’m the only person who knows the end goal, I’ll overwrite myself and change the details but if a friend or a family member knows, and they’re expecting it from me, then I have no choice; I have to get it done. No, Procrastination, I cannot come out to play.
Having notes and reminders around help. My notes have to say things like, “Shouldn’t you be writing?” or “Don’t you dare change windows” to be effective. They don’t always work but that’s me. They could be your golden ticket.
Run. Run away from electronics. Go to a place where you won’t be tempted and go back to the pen and paper method. You might surprise yourself with how much you get done. This means no phones, tv, computers, handheld devices or any other distraction. My one exception would be music but it has to be instrumentals otherwise you may start singing along to your favorite song rather than getting the job done.
Time yourself! It sounds childish but who doesn’t race to beat the clock? You know you get a rush when you open the microwave before it hits zero and starts beeping. The same principle applies for writing. You can’t procrastinate if there is a countdown in front of you. I usually do short bursts like ten or fifteen. Anything bigger than that and I tell myself, “What’s five minutes on deviantArt?” Five turns to half an hour pretty fast. That’s what.
Do rewards. For every 300 words, you get chocolate or an extra an hour of your favorite show. Make the reward something you’ll work for. If you pick something you could go without then it’s not a reward. This technique works great for people are strict with themselves and do good with external motivation. I’ve used this with The Sims as my reward; if I wrote 1,000 words for the day, I got to play The Sims that night. I’m not one for external motivation but that game will make me do tricks.
If beating the clock didn’t work, disappointing others didn’t faze you, life sans technology failed you, borderline note shaming was a bust, and rewards weren’t your thing then I suggest these two sites:
Write or Die: I never hit a wall I couldn’t get around in under ten seconds again, not while using that app!
WrittenKitten: if you like pictures, kittens, and getting a reward for every one hundred words you write, then WrittenKitten is for you.
Should they fail you too, then I regret to inform you that you are a terminal procrastinator. There is nothing I can do for you. It’s best you make friends with it and don’t make it angry. Good luck.
For those that did get one of these tricks to work…Whoohoo! We did it! Now go find a solution for the terminal procrastinators out there. They need your help.
Have a trick you don’t see up here? Leave it in the comment section.