View Full Version : My Method to Avoid Procrastination (it works! it works!)

04-29-2008, 09:22 AM
I know I'm not the only writer on this board who suffers from procrastination. I open my Word file, type in two or three words and oh look! X updated his blog! Have I checked my mail? Dammit, I haven't watered the pla- oh look! I finally found my old Nightwish CD.

Sounds familiar? :D

Anway, I used to get seriously annoyed with myself because of this. So I developed a little trick to help me get into focus.

I got myself a timer. I set it to go off in 5 minutes and began writing. For 5 minutes, I did nothing but write and stare at the screen. You'll be surprised at how little time 5 minutes is! So, after the 5 minutes, I set my timer to go off in another 5 minutes. I spent those other 5 minutes procrastinating and doing anything that struck my fancy, or doing the chores I realized I had to do while writing. When that time was over, I wrote for another five minutes.

At first, it may seem like you're wasting more time than what you are actually winning back. But after a few days of this exercise, you can start playing around with the times: 8 minutes of writing for every 4 minutes of procrastination. 20 minutes of writing for every 5 or 10 or even another 20 minutes of procrastination.

The best part about this little trick is that, like I said, 5 minutes isn't really that much. For a restless mind like mine, 5 minutes is about as long as I can concentrate without my mind wandering off too much. And, as you get used to focus only on your WIP (because you know you'll get a chance to fool off in almost no time), you start retaining the capacity to concentrate on it for longer.

Cool, eh? I'm posting this hoping that it will help someone else overcome their procrastination problems :) If you have any way to combat procrastination (for us folks who can't just BIC and be done with it), share!

04-29-2008, 04:44 PM
The most effective tool I've used for battling procrastination is not having any internet. ;)

Unplug the modem so you CAN'T get on the net.

04-29-2008, 05:35 PM
Reminders are wonderful things. I've started giving myself reminders in Outlook at work for this very same reason.

Haven't tried it with writing, though. Good idea!

04-29-2008, 05:38 PM
I got halfway through reading your post, then got distracted by an article on the BBC News website. Pity, because I'm sure your advice is....ooh, what's that over there....

04-29-2008, 05:56 PM
What did you say? ;)

What really works for me is deadline. If I have a deadline (whether it's actual or self-imposed) I'm less inclined to procrastinate. I wonder if setting a timer would work for me, since there really is not "deadline."

04-29-2008, 05:59 PM
That's great Dama! I do a similar thing everynight with another group. We do 20 minute timed "challenges". Provided I have nothing open but the WIP, I'm limited only by my typing speed. It's a great feeling.

04-29-2008, 06:00 PM
Shutting off the Internet works for me. I also find I need to be relaxed and not stressing about something else, otherwise things stay stuck.

04-30-2008, 06:37 PM
What works for me, for nearly anything, is to promise myself I will just do one little thing, then quit if I want. Sit down at the desk, read my last line of work, just check spelling on the page..any little, easy thing. Once I get started i find that I keep on going about 99% of the time.

04-30-2008, 06:46 PM
I've heard the timer trick for other areas of life, and for a lot of people it works like a charm. Sounds like you've stumbled onto a good thing. I might try it.