Winning the war against procrastination

We all fall into the trap. Maybe you sit down at your computer to finally start working on that blog, or even work on first draft of your short story. You’ve sectioned off this time in your schedule to be creative and productive.

Suddenly, your brain resists. No! It screams, let’s do something less taxing! Like look at Pinterest! Or maybe something is happening on Twitter? Let’s check Twitter. Or hey, don’t you have to do some laundry? Let’s put in a load. You know what’s good with writing? Snacks. Let’s make a snack. And hey, we might as well make an elaborate snack, with tiny slices of quince paste and mint leaves and three kinds of cheese.

So now, two hours later, all those little time-sucking distractions have eaten up your work time, and all you have is that annoying blinking cursor. Fortunately, none of this is your fault. Evolution has afforded us the ability to take the path of least resistance, so we’ll have a better chance of not dying. The problem with this instinct however, is that it causes an uncomfortable struggle between our need to create and our need to relax. It’s not an easy struggle to win for the creative team, and your solution for winning the battle will likely be different from mine. Personally, I cannot do unstructured time, because I get overwhelmed by choice. So if I want to be creative, I have to go to a class or at least get out of the house. I need structure to be creative (counter-intuitive, I know). I write best in coffee shops and dance best when the teachers are exacting in their expectations.

Getting out of the house is frequently a suggestion for improving your chances of working on your creative projects. LifeHacker, one of my favourite blogs for all-around life management, also talks about an interesting technique called “Solar Flaring.” The idea is that if you commit to doing the little things that get you pumped for the big thing, you’ll be powerless to resist the momentum to keep going. Also, it makes for a pretty sweet away message (sorry I can’t respond right now, I’m Solar Flaring).

So how do you do it? What are your top tips for keeping the procrastination bugs at bay?


2 responses to “Winning the war against procrastination

  1. Urgh. I find sitting at a desk in the office one of the least creative and hardest to focus on places…Not only as you are constantly bombarded with emails every 30 seconds, (in fact, I JUST got distracted writing this by the ‘ping’ of an email) but also as there are so many distractions as you say, by multiple tabs on your browser. If I really need to concentrate and write something / do some creative work – I have to close my email down, or actually leave my computer completely.

    The best, most creative ideas I have normally come while in the shower, or walking to work in the morning, or when I’m working from home. My brain isn’t so good at mult-tasking these days…

  2. This is truly so cool. Thankyou for putting this online!

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