Diagnosis: Procrastination

6:00 AM

I was pondering what I should write about today, and after starting several posts and losing my train of thought/drinking tea/scribbling random things in journal/trying to find a word to play against my dad in Lexulous/why, what an amazing world this is we live in/what do you think souls are made of?/if we didn't need to breathe do you think we could and would live underwater?/what if our eyes were on our elbows?/and how about I go get some popcorn and coffee at 2 A. M. because that's a wonderful idea.

Ehem.

...what was I talking about?


OH LOOK LEGOS LET'S GO PLAY WITH THEM FOR FIVE HOURS


*actually procrastinated for an embarrassing amount of time while "trying to find a cover picture" for this post*

Do you struggle with sudden bouts of opera singing? Do you grapple with the ever present pull of Pinterest, or the jaws of Tumblr? (I don't actually have a tumblr but I hear it's highly addictive.) Do you find your concentration and determination slipping at the sight of a good book, your will power crumbling at the faintest whiff of fresh coffee being brewed, which reminds you that you need to go and get a mug of it before it gets cold and-oh look, the piano. You really need to practice ... and oh look, a flower. Let's go outside and frolic in the green for a couple of hours and ponder the deep questions of life and existence and humanity.

Procrastination is a problem for ... dare I say everyone? Let's be safe and say most people - cause everyone is different and some strange beans out there might have the ability to stay on track always because they have lots of self control which I don't understand but THAT'S AWESOME and I'm jelly. A jelly dohnut.

And these, ladies and gentlemen, are what my thought trains look like.

Now that you've read a very procrastination-y intro, I will deliver to you my usual prime quality and top notch blog post, this one on procrastination.

*snaps into productivity mode*

There are ways you can fight procrastination, and it might not be as hard as you think. The first one I've already given to you.


#1: Choose to be productive.

This is very important. If you want to get stuff done, you have to sit down and say, "I'm going to get stuff done today." I don't know about you, but it's very easy for me to get distracted. I could spend an hour staring at the wall or sprawled out on the floor staring at the ceiling and thinking. My thoughts are so loud, I am deceived into thinking that I'm actually doing something or talking to someone, when really I'm just sitting there. Staring. And doing absolutely nothing.

But if I've told myself, "Alright, Hannah. You're going to sit here and write this blog post." Then part of my mind clings to that task. When I do get distracted looking for a cover photo and trailing off to look at possible cover pictures for my third book, that part of my brain tugs me back and says, "Remember, you're supposed to be writing a blog post. And you want to edit tonight too, and you have to go to bed at a sane hour so you really need to get this done."

It's much easier to stay on task when that little voice is in there reminding you. But that voice will only come if you put it there in the first place, by thinking through what you want to accomplish.

Otherwise, what do you have to get distracted from?


#2: Put your distractions away.

You can't get distracted by what you don't have. If it's something online, put your phone on airplane mode or turn your wi-fi off. If you have your music online, then just close the browser. To keep me on track one time, I pulled up a picture of a scary looking Gandalf captioned, YOU SHOULD BE WRITING. WHY ARE YOU NOT WRITING. so that every time I pulled up Pinterest I saw that instead of enticing pictures of pretty pathways and intriguing settings.

It worked.

But don't deny yourself of procrastination completely. Instead,


#3: Give yourself rewards.

If you sat down to write a chapter, and you write a chapter with lots of spare time, reward yourself. Don't say, "Oh well now I can write A WHOLE OTHER CHAPTER LET'S DO IT." That'll just wear you out. Instead, let yourself get on Pinterest for a bit. Set a timer so it stays a reward and doesn't turn into procrastination.


#4: Know what you're doing.

This kind of ties back to the first point I made.

Right now, I'm writing this post. But I'm also hiding from my WIP cause I'm not sure what's going to happen. Rather than keep hiding, however, I will sit down after I'm done here and get my notebook and think things through and write it out. I get so much done when I know where I'm going with the scene and what needs to happen to get there.

But there's a flipside to this one.


#5: Give up perfection.

Say you don't know how the scene is going to go. Yes, that's going to make it harder, but that doesn't mean you should just pout and go burn eight hours on Pinterest. Write anyway. It doesn't have to be perfect. It can't be perfect. It can only be really, really good, and that comes after a lot of drafts when you probably won't be having this particular issue anyway.

Just write it out.


#6: Know yourself.

Every bean is different. Thus, every bean has different weaknesses and strengths. Find your weaknesses so you can be wary of them, and work on them. And find your strengths so you can take advantage of them.

If procrastination is something you struggle with, find different ways to treat yourself. Ways that work best for you. Writing is such a deeply personal thing. Find your groove, your style. Find yourself in what you love to do, and strengthen it.



I hope this gave you some ideas for how to beat the procrastination bug. Further prescriptions to various diagnoses may come in the future, but due to the spontaneity of the writer, they cannot be promised. You might get a post on Holding onto Your Story next week, or you might get a post about wombats.

We'll see.

Do you struggle with staying on the task at hand? What are some tricks/tips you've learned that help?

<3

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24 comments

  1. Oh gosh okay I'll be back to leave an ACTUAL comment when I've read the post but let's just establish here and now that the picture of the legos to go with this is 100% brilliant and I have died of laughter XD

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    1. Eeeehehe this cracked me up XP I'm glad you liked! I was like, Hmmmm what's messy and in full abundance and distracting? And LEGOOOOOS.

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  2. *finishes the post* YES. TO ALL OF THIS. #1 is basically a must for me- like if I don't mentally decide to be productive it's like 'LOL NOPE.' Also I relate to #2 so hard because my attention span is probably the same as a goldfish's maybe so killing distractions is my area of expertise. (or at least... should be my area of expertise. still working on it heh) AND YES TO GIVING YOURSELF REWARDS. I've never actually done that....? But I definitely need to give it a shot haha :D Great post!!

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    1. The rewards don't have to be physical things, either! Like chocolate or candy. They can be reading a chapter of that book you're really into, or going on Pinterest for ten minutes or watching a new episode of your current show. Whatever motivates you, and whatever would tempt you to procrastinate with anyway! If Pinterest is a place you find yourself procrastinating in, make that a reward for NOT procrastinating!

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  3. OMW, I struggle with procrastination so much. It's bad. I can easily find a million other things to do instead of what I'm supposed to be doing. :P And it doesn't help that I get distracted very easily. I can go from one thing to another without even realizing that it happened. Then two hours later, I think, "Wait, how did I get here? Wasn't I doing something else?" And then there are the times when I sit down to do something, but just as I sit down, I see something else and it distracts me. I haven't done much with rewards, but I should probably start. :P Thanks for the diagnosis! :D

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    1. Ugh yes XP I relate to this comment so hard. SINCE WHEN ARE WALLS SO CAPTIVATING?? Sitting there and doing nothing should not be so tempting, but somehow it is?? *sigh*

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  4. James Oliver1/28/17, 1:12 PM

    Now I feel like my entire life is procrastination, but the tips help! They really do. Another thing that helps with procrastination is going to a dojo. If you procrastinate during a sparing match, you get punched. Therefore you learn to do things OR DIE.

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    1. AHHHHHHHAHAHA. YASSSSSS. I mean, um ... man that sounds rough. *hands you an ice pack* But good metaphor for life!

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  5. Ooh I really like allllll these points, but particularly I like how you did mention perfectionism here!! Honestly I think that's a LOT of we artists' problems right?!? We want it to be perfect so we accidentally end up procrastinating forever while hoping it'll become magically perfect for itself. 😂 It can be a seriously problem!! I procrastinate a LOT of things, generally when I'm not sure how to do it. Like writing in my bullet journal or cleaning out my room hhaha. Or writing book outlines! Although for me, if I write really detailed outlines before I start writing, I don't procrastinate writing. I kind of treat it like a job. I can't not show up to a job because I don't feel like it, right?!? Having that mentality has helped me to actually fooooocus and write in my allotted writing time instead of, ya know, playing with legos for five hours.😂

    I loved this post!!

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    1. I could do a whole post on perfectionism. I should. *nods to self* That is very smart to treat it like a job, though. Cause someday it will be!

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  6. HOW DO YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO WRITE THE EXACT POST I NEED, my goodness, I find I've been struggling with procrastination a lot lately so this is definitely helpful thank you.

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    1. Eeee! I love that this came when you needed it <3

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  7. *repeated headdesks* i know this way too much. like. ugh. legit rn I should be working on my end of the month posts but look IMMA READ A POST ABOUT PROCRASTINATION AND FEEL THE GUILT *cough cough*

    but yes. thank you for this post *stumbles off to work on that post*

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    1. *gives you coffee and chocolate and other necessities* thank you for reading but now GO WRITE YOUR POST! XP

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  8. I also have a problem with staring. I literally slap my face or shake my head until I can focus again (mostly shaking 'cause slapping is painful, OKAY?)

    Things that help me battle procrastination: I feel bad because I've been singing this all the time this year on the blogosphere but BULLET JOURNALLING.

    Yeah.

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    1. Ooooh like bullet journaling your to-do list??? That's a good idea o.o I should try that ... I haven't really tried bullet journaling. I've only done good old fashioned journaling (though i do get artsy with it)

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  9. THIS IS SO PERFECT. You're totally right, a lot of times if you don't force yourself to sit down and do something, NOTHING GETS DONE. Sigh. Why must we be so easily distracted?

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    1. Yuppers. Just the human way XP Then again, if it weren't hard, everyone would do it! Weeds out the passive ones, I guess. If it doesn't mean much to you, it's not going to get done.

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  10. This was exactly what I needed! I tend to get sucked down the Wikipedia wormhole while researching for my stories.

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    1. Ahhh that's a good way to procrastinate though! If there IS a good way ... XP

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  11. THANK YOU for this post, Hannah! I am SO GOOD at procrastinating. My brain will decide that HEY it's done with this epic story we've been working on for a year because OH LOOK, A PLOT BUNNY. And that = much procrastination xD.

    But honestly, visuals help me A LOT when it comes to wrecking procrastination. Covers and collages never fail to get me all pumped up to work on a story again xD.

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. PLOT BUNNIESSSS. *hugs the stubborn little creatures* Ahhh that's a good idea! I haven't really thought about that aspect of refocusing ... good advice! I have a theme song for my MC that I put on repeat when I'm struggling with her POV, which is kind of the same idea XP

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  12. AHHH HELLO HANNAH I AM BACK (IF YOU REMEMBER ME)

    I used to comment around the blog for a bit but then school killed me but I'm back alive?!?! And I have a new blog! And I casually come here to read your posts every now and then! And I think I have my life together now so I'll be coming here more often now :D

    - Andrea at https://asurgeofthunder.blogspot.com

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    1. AWWWW I REMEMBER YOU *hugs* AND YOU JUST POSTED ON GTW AHHH. THAT'S BIG STUFF, MAN. *dances* And can I just say I LOVE the name of your new blog? It gives me feels. I'm glad you didn't fully leave Stan. Gives me all the warm fuzzies <3

      *runs to check out your new blog*

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