Three moments of insight have helped me with this:
The first, and simplest, is being accountable to something/someone. I wrote most regularly when I wrote for a monthly column for magazine (10 years!), and later, a weekly article for an online art marketing newsletter.
The embarassment of being late ONCE (and not getting paid) resulted in not missing a single article going forward (11 years!) (Er…I wasn’t LATE once, I only got reprimanded for it once. Changed everything.)
Second, I came across a book written by someone who HAD figured it out: They found they became extremely motivated to take on OTHER PROJECTS when they were procrastinating about another one.
It was really funny, their list of what they accomplished while putting off yet another ‘unmotivated’ project. I immediately recreated their strategy for myself. You can read it here: Procrastination: Love It or Leave It Til Tomorrow
Sometimes, meeting the expectations of others, works better than meeting our own.
Sometimes the motivation we need is how to avoid doing something else.
Sometimes, we need to clearly understand the “all steps by going backwards”’ in order to take that first step forward.
Finding whatever works for YOU is what matters most. Good luck!
6 thoughts on “A QUORA ANSWER ON PROCRASTINATION: What I’ve Learned”
Loved your blog on procrastination that you linked to in this post, so funny and true. I too will sometimes consciously pit two of my current stress-producing procrastinations off against each other. I call it dueling procrastinations or my procrastination ladder. If I don’t want to write a blog post I do the first half of my taxes. If I don’t want to do the second half of the taxes I leap willingly back into writing. Or usually, I find a third thing to do instead that I have put off for ten years- like planting a pot that has been empty for a decade. In this way I move up my ladder by leaping away (well leaping across and one rung up) from the project I’m avoiding. Embarrassing but it works right?
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Thea, so good to hear from you! Love “dueling procrastinations”. And when such a prolific and emotionally-mature person says this (YOU, THEA!!) then it’s obvious that there’s a place in the world for all of us, no matter what our “getting things” method is. The more I read about other artists who are brave enough to share their own writing process, the more I realize that whatever works for US is all we should care about. And the more I respect and applaud those folks for having the courage to show their imperfect, human selves, so the rest of us can set aside our self-doubt and feelings of “not doing it right” and simply do the work of our hearts.
I find it so very true that one activity on the list can get bumped by another item on the list that looks a lot more fun or interesting or timely! I’ve taken to typing up my to do list on Notes in my cell phone and erase each one as they get done or noting that I did something towards that task. My notebook with a written ‘to do list’ could get buried under a pile of magazines, etc, but I always know where my phone is. Also using it to put my grocery list on too!
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What a great idea, Christine simply, practical, and portable! Glad this resonated with you, and honored you took the time to share this–thank you!
I’ve posted on my blog every week for the last year and a half; I rarely write the posts on the day. I have a big file of post ideas and themes, and write when I feel motivated, so that I can just put up one of the pre-written posts if there’s nothing I feel like writing about that week. Some days I’ll write four or five posts; other days, I won’t even look at the file. I’ve learned the stress of a blank page and a deadline often doesn’t work out well… 🙂
Lee, thank you for sharing your writing prompts and strategies. I’ve created lots of drafts, but I always forgot to go back and publish them! And you are living proof that no single ‘solution’ works for everyone. Finding out what works for US is the key.