Do you need to beat procrastination as a writer? Is this something that takes up the hours in your day with nothing to show for it?
Procrastination is annoying. Everyone struggles with it now and then, whether they’re on a long project, writing short blog posts or even researching a favorite subject. You may not even realize you’re procrastinating at first.
I’m guilty of it – I start researching a historical figure and then click links about people connected to that person. Eventually, I’m generations into the future (or the past) with no information for my article! There are other times that I visit Facebook to post a link for a group, only to end up looking at what friends are up to.
To be able to beat procrastination as a writer, you need to know it is happening. It’s important to own it and accept that you’re doing it. You’ll make excuses–I always do. But even if you’re getting something else from your list done, you’re not working on your writing. You’re not aiding your content creation, business building, or other tasks that are at hand right at that moment.
Once you accept that procrastination is happening and a problem, you’re ready to tackle it. Here are my five tips to combat procrastination and even avoid it occurring!
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Allow Yourself to Browse for Fun
It’s easy to think you have to keep working to get to the end of a project but your mind wanders. If I force myself to do something, I’ll end up thinking about something else and it consumes me until I do it.
Allow yourself to check Facebook and your emails or watch fun videos on YouTube. Just 5 or 10 minutes at a time is perfect to give your brain a break and have fun.
Every hour I will take a 10-minute break from writing. This is something I need to do for my wrists and my mental health. Sometimes those breaks are away from the computer but there are other times that I’ll use the time to watch a video on YouTube or chat to a friend on Facebook.
Make sure you set times to browse for fun. You get all the things that you’d rather do out of the way, so you can focus on work and beat procrastination.
Give Yourself a Break
You need to have a break from the computer regularly. Some people say 20 minutes while others say an hour. Like the above tip, find something that works for you.
You don’t need to take a long break. It could be a trip to the bathroom, making a cup of tea or even just some time to enjoy the fresh air.
By having the breaks, your mind will get the rest it needs and you’ll be ready to go back to work.
Set longer breaks during the day. I try to take an hour off for lunch but will always have at least 30 minutes. I’ll have breaks staggered throughout the day to make sure my mind is in the right place when it comes to working. During those breaks, I’ll physically get away from the computer, whether it’s to do some desk workouts or just sit out on the balcony for the fresh air.
Take your breaks away from the computer to give your eyes rest too. You’ll be surprised at how tired you can feel after long periods at the computer, and this leads to procrastination.
Create Deadlines that You Can Stick To
Deadlines make me work better. I know that I have a set period to do some work and will get on with the work until that time is up.
I always have deadlines with clients but they’re often into the future – some even say “no rush”. When that happens, I have to set my own deadlines closer to the time. If I don’t set a deadline, I’ll keep pushing the work off to the next day and then I’ll struggle to complete it.
If I don’t set deadlines for my own blog posts then I won’t actually write them! I could go months without updating a blog if I didn’t set a deadline!
Longer projects need to be broken up. There are some that will take days of research before the writing. Set deadlines for this, so you’re not rushing everything at the last minute.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Much
Having goals is great but they need to be achievable. If you push yourself too much, you won’t want to do it. You’ll burn yourself out and it’s harder to combat procrastination.
- Stop spending so much time at the computer.
- Stop taking on large, multiple assignments.
- Stop agreeing to the short deadlines when you know it’ll mean working late.
- Stop accepting low paying jobs meaning you have to crank out hours of work for a basic wage.
You’ll put so much pressure on yourself that you’ll stop liking your job and you’ll be bored. You’ll want to check out Facebook more because finding out what others are up to is simply better!
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Try to Take a Day Off a Week
I used to work around the clock. This was a time when I didn’t have kids.
To be honest, I’m a workaholic, but working 7 days a week didn’t do me or my work any favors. I quickly suffered from burnout and I wasn’t as productive as I could be. It was also much harder to beat procrastination when at the computer.
Now I make sure that I get one day off a week. I aim for two but always make sure I get one. I’ll take longer during holidays.
I also try to avoid working late unless it’s on my own projects. This works for me to combat procrastination but you may prefer to work in the evenings. You’ll need to find a time that works for you. I’m most productive in the mornings. After lunch, my mind strays.
Don’t overwork yourself. You’ll get bored with work and you’ll find something else to do that isn’t important.
Yes, procrastination will affect you and there are times you won’t realize you do it. But, most of the time you will! You’ll know before you click on Facebook, Twitter, your emails or anything else that you have listed under your favorites. By knowing when you’re about to do something else, you can stop and think.
Following the above tips won’t just help to beat procrastination, but you’ll be a more productive writer.