Susanne here, and lately, I have been stuck in the Procrastination Swamp.
We've all been there (I assume). Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the tasks facing us and we shut down; sometimes we get tired and need a break; sometimes we're distracted; and sometimes we just lack energy.
Yet deadlines don't care much why we procrastinate, do they? They must be met.
|It's not you, it's me.|
When things like this happen, an unfortunate cycle begins. I lost my groove, and had a hard time regaining it even when my house issue was under control. And when I lose my groove, I tend to procrastinate. AKA hide, because I feel so behind and the pile of tasks is so large, I am afraid of it.
Here are six tips I've found to help confront procrastination, and I'm going to put them into place this week:
- Divide your deadline into chunks. One big huge deadline can be overwhelming to look at, like, say, writing an entire novel or cleaning out the closet. Break up your deadline. For me, a chunk could be a chapter, or an editing project, or cleaning off a single shelf on the book case or organizing one drawer, not the whole desk.
- Create a timeline for each specific deadline you've made. Whether it's writing 2000 words in a day, vacuuming the bedrooms, or going through recipes for make-ahead meals, determine how long each task should/will take based on experience and go from there.
- Identify your distractions and don't indulge. This takes willpower! What lures you away from your deadline? Making graphics or memes can be one of mine (ahem: promotion, which is an important part of a writer's life, won't matter if there's no book to promote).
- Reward yourself when each deadline is met, big or little. Indulge in one of your distractions. Or chocolate.
- Get an accountability partner. It's quite embarrassing to tell someone you plan to write a thousand words and then later, when they ask how it went, telling them you didn't get to it. That's why telling people can be a good motivator! I've tried all kinds of systems, and they are all helpful. Try scheduling time with a buddy for a writing sprint (I've done this with people I've never met in person, but we engage on Facebook Messenger). Post it on social media so you can report how it went. Anything that gets you moving!
- Just do it (thanks, Nike). You really will feel better once you start. It will be easier tomorrow.
Susanne Dietze is the ECPA-bestselling author of historical romances. She also recently adopted a cat, which has added to her procrastination. You can learn more about her books at www.susannedietze.com