You can’t stop procrastinating. Even if you’ve been given a writing deadline.
As it gets nearer, you know you’re not going to make it.
You’re not really sure how you spent the time but it’s become obvious that you just can’t stop procrastinating.
You promised yourself (and everyone who would listen) that it would never happen again, yet here you are.
You even hired a coach, attended an expensive programme and got someone to be accountable to. Yet, your latest writing deadline has passed you by and AGAIN you have nothing to show for it.
As frustrating as it is, you’re not alone. And you can get lectured till your lecturer is blue in the face about how many words you should be writing in a day.
Or about how you (or your career) can suffer really dire consequences if you don’t stop procrastinating.
Coming up with strategies for overcoming procrastination is fine. But there are ways to ensure that whatever you learned about beating procrastination, actually works.
First, admit that you are procrastinating. How are you going to address something if you’ve not identified it?
No, you didn’t have to be on social media for four hours today, even if you meant to be on there for only half an hour. Let’s face it, you didn’t even have to be on social media at all today.
That was a choice you made.
Neither did you have to spend two hours on the phone.
Just like you didn’t need to have access to a brand new laptop to meet up with your 800-word count target today.
You didn’t have to get lost in your emails when you should have been writing. Or wait for inspiration to strike before writing, either.
The truth is you did them and ignored your writing because you were procrastinating.
Second, be honest with yourself – why are you procrastinating?
It’s one thing to know you should do this but not that. It’s another thing to unearth why you’re actively doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing. Especially when it’s at the expense of what you know you should be doing.
Creating a to-do list is a strategy but people can ignore their own to-do lists; why?
Can you remember a time when you found a way to do something you really wanted to do, even when you were told not to AND you had to surmount many obstacles?
People scale fences to sneak out of one place and break into another place, in order to see a forbidden someone.
Sometimes, even strong reminders of the consequences of getting caught isn’t enough to stop them. Some girls knew what would happen if they hung out with a particular boy, but that didn’t stop them.
As you read this, there are people trying to cross a desert to get to Libya. Not because they don’t know they shouldn’t or because it’s easy. Not cos they haven’t heard what happened to others. But cos human beings find a way to do what they want to.
Just like if you really wanted to write, you’d use your phone or write by hand if you didn’t have the computer you’re saying you needed.
Maybe you’re procrastinating cos deep down, you feel like your writing isn’t really all that and you’ll flop.
Or you’re afraid that you might succeed and your success will cause you to lose your anonymity.
You can chant affirmations till you convince yourself that you sound like a guru.
Get an aspire to pespire motivational speaker to shout at you like a Pentecostal preacher simulating an asthmatic attack.
Delete your social media accounts and disconnect all your devices.
Create a vision board and put it where you’ll see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Remind yourself that failure is looming and how bad it’ll be.
Visit the Instagram profile of your favourite celebrity for ‘inspiration’.
And these strategies wouldn’t make the tiniest bit of difference to what you do.
Cos we often procrastinate when faced with things that deep down we don’t really want to do. Even if we know we should be doing them.
If anything, some strategies can even become new ways to procrastinate.
Admit that you are procrastinating. Then, find out why you are procrastinating.
That’s how writers stop procrastinating.
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