Tag Archives: procrastination

Wednesday Inspiration: A Mish-Mash of Stuff

Wednesday inspiration

I still haven’t settled into anything resembling a groove yet. My mom gets discharged tomorrow, though, and will be settling back into her place so hopefully things will get back to normal soon.

I’m spending a bit of time every morning reading stuff online, though—all those newsletters I get, right? And occasionally getting inspired. So I thought I’d share those mini-hits of inspiration with you all today.

I mentioned on Monday how much I love Austin Kleon’s newsletter. A while back, he shared what filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt said about his writing process, and the description just took my breath away:

“it’s like you’re floating in an ocean, and you want to build a raft. so you just float there and you wait and wait. and eventually this little piece of something comes drifting by, maybe a memory, and you hang on to it, and then another little piece comes around, it is unrelated, maybe it’s a funny sentence you overheard somewhere. and you keep collecting all these little things that just sort of drift by… a dream, a beautiful sentence in your head that just appeared while doing the dishes, an anecdote you stole from your old diary… and eventually you find connections between all the things and with all these parts you’ve gathered up you now have enough stuff to build a raft. and then once you have the raft you can remove all the bits that don’t quite fit anymore, the spare parts that you didn’t need after all, you toss them back or maybe save them for another raft later. when i write, there isn’t a lot of active effort or swimming around, or calculation… for me that can be very poisonous to creativity. the big ideas won’t happen right when you mentally stress on them… it is more a matter of being patient and being open to all the things that just drift in”

I’d really like to write like this all the time. I’ve only done it once, for the most recent short story I wrote. Things came to me line by line. I wrote the story in about four or five days, and in the beginning I didn’t know who my characters were, or what they were doing. I’d pull open my Word document and jot down a few lines throughout the day. At night in bed I’d think of another line. And miraculously, when I finished, everything fit. The story somehow ended itself.

I really liked the way it felt.

So maybe if I took more meditation breaks I could get into this drifty kind of headspace? What do you think? Another piece that spoke to me recently was this one, about ten minute meditation breaks, or time-INs.

I could definitely use more of that.

And this morning, I was very inspired by the idea of Structured Procrastination, which I found through David Seah’s blog. Structured Procrastination. Don’t you just love the sound of that term?

All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it. However, the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.

Could it really be so easy? There’s only one thing in the world I procrastinate, and that’s my writing. If I can find some tasks that “have clear deadlines (but really don’t)” and “seem awfully important (but really aren’t)”, maybe I could give it a go.

So that’s my inspiration for this week! What’s inspired you this week?

May Intentions: Tackling Procrastination

imagePhoto credit: Darren Hester

When I first started writing this post in my mind, I filled it with the wide range of intentions I have for this month.

And then I realized something.

Every single one of my intentions has to do with tackling procrastination.

I am, I confess, a Master Procrastinator.

My main dilemma? I don’t just procrastinate when it comes to things I have to do. I also procrastinate when it comes to things I want to do.

It’s that last part I don’t like. It’s that last part that can make me feel like I’m getting nowhere when it comes to my hopes and dreams.  And it’s that last part I’m going to deal with this month.

The Things I HAVE To Do

You see, when it comes to the things I have to do, despite my procrastination habits, I actually still manage to get these things done. On time.

It’s because I’ve honed the procrastination of my to-do list to perfection.

Here’s an example: I’ve been very successfully self-employed for over 15 years. And I owe my success to one main thing. I am a pro when it comes to meeting clients’ deadlines.

So you’re probably wondering, how is it I’m so good at meeting deadlines when I’m also a Master Procrastinator?

There’s only one reason. I am very deadline oriented (I blame my legal training. In the legal world, a deadline is not something you take lightly. You miss a date to file something, your client suffers. End of story.)

My Procrastinating Mind deals with my deadline orientation like this: it automagically looks at the days leading up to the deadline, factors out time I won’t have available due to other commitments, tallies up the hours that are available, and then sets a start time for me that has me finishing the project right on time. When that start time comes, I get to work. And I don’t stop until the project is done.

Invariably, I’m able to email in the completed project right at the stroke of the due date. As you can probably see, this leads to a very imbalanced life for me. But it does work.

The Things I WANT To Do

Unfortunately, self-imposed, personal deadlines don’t work for me. Which is why I am woefully unsuccessful when it comes to all the things I actually want to do.

As in, all the things that are the building blocks to realizing my dreams.

Of course, the way I handle client deadlines and other things I have to do isn’t ideal and does need to be changed (despite it being so successful for me) but since I’m in my not-so-busy work period right now, the better thing for me to do is deal with my habit of procrastinating all the things I want to do.

Also, I figure if I can get into the habit of not procrastinating when it comes to what I want to do, this habit will spill over into my work life, too.

I have a lot of interests. There are a lot of things I want to do. Writing is one of them. It’s not the only thing, but it’s the biggest thing. But there are a lot of other things I want to do, too.

So if I can just get out of the habit of procrastinating, I’ll be much happier. Because I’ll actually be doing all the things I want to do with my life.

What Works For Me: Getting to the Doing

All those smaller intentions I mentioned at the beginning of my post? They were all ways I’ve been thinking about to entice me to start Doing. Doing, with a capital D.

I’ve noticed that it’s only the initial Doing that stops me. Once I start Doing, the need to procrastinate melts away.

What else works for me:

1. Getting organized.

2. Feeling the fun.

3. Feeling playful about something.

4. Feeling the ease.

5. Visual props.

And one very powerful tool for getting to the Doing: creating new habits, using the 30-day rule.

At the End of This Month

At the end of the month, I will write up a post that will tally up all the ways I’ve discovered to tackle my habit of procrastinating and start Doing.

I hope! As always, there’s nothing like setting out my intentions in writing like this, on my blog.

What are your intentions for the month of May?

Battling Writer’s Procrastination

It’s 12:48 am right now; I seem to have developed a habit this week of opening up Scrivener (my writing program) at the stroke of 1, so that I can get my daily bit of writing down.

Then, you see, I can go to bed, feeling, for today, I’ve done what I’m meant to be doing: being a writer. Because a writer writes, you see. I’ve been really holding onto that bit of truth for the past little while.

Tonight, though, it’s been a bit of a struggle as 1 am approaches. (First of all, I’m thinking, I’m really getting too old for these late nights …)

I knew I was on the verge of dipping my toes in some major procrastinating waters.

So I went online, and got motivated again.

And now, I’m going to write.

Leaving Procrastination Behind for Five Weeks

It’s funny how a month can go by, just like that – and before you know it, the new month is literally just a handful of days away.

So, much like I realized yesterday that NaNoWriMo is nearly here, this morning I sat down and entered in all my latest work deadlines. October has been a very slow work month for me, which was a little bit unusual because between now and February is normally my “busy season”.

So last week I sent out an email to a wonderful client of mine, and she let all her colleagues know that I had time available.

And now my November is crazy busy. And yes, it’s also the month I’m going to write a 50K novel.

But I figure, no worries. My main problem has always been procrastination. So, surely, the answer to the dilemma is, quite simply, forego the pleasures of procrastinating between now and November 30.

(Because, no doubt about it, procrastination is pleasurable. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t indulge in it so much. Right?)

Plus a boatload of deep breathing and relaxation exercises might come in handy.

I’m also trying not to think about Christmas, my favorite time of the year. December’s looking nice and slow right now, so I expect to have time to do all the holiday things I love in December. It’s okay that I can’t get a start on things in November. Really. It’s okay …

What about you? How’s your November shaping up? And, for those of you who celebrate Christmas, when do you get a start on all your holiday shopping?