A Procrastinator’s Guide to Procrastination

“Time’s Ticking” by Heather Foust – click image for info

It’s time to come clean: I’m a planning and productivity geek who procrastinates.

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I have about four hours to write and submit this article. I had plenty of time to work on it this week, but I chose to spend it elsewhere. Now, here I am.

Procrastinating is not my preferred way of working, and it’s certainly not sustainable, but it has, in the past, been very effective. And if you find yourself in the procrastinator’s hot seat, it can be for you, too.

Here are six tips to help make it so:

Stop beating yourself up. It’s a waste of creative energy. You may have left something to the last minute, but you’re still fabulous, competent, and all things good. You know this; claim it and move on.

Ground yourself. It sounds counter-intuitive, but take a few moments to be still, breathe, and clear your mind. Clarity does wonders for productivity.

Get rid of distractions. Shut down email, clear your desk, quickly take care of any nagging loose ends that can be tied up in less than five minutes. Let go of the rest; it can wait. The feat you are about to attempt requires focus.

Focus on the first draft. Remember the magical first draft? It’s time to pull this one out of your productivity toolbox. Give yourself a time limit and go to it; don’t edit, just do. It’s amazing how a time constraint can fuel the creative juices, and how doing without editing can bring out some of our best work. You might be surprised at what comes out!

Take a break. If time permits, once you’ve finished your first draft, take a break. Check email, do the dishes, take the dog for a walk. Step away from your task and come back to it with fresh eyes for the next round of edits.

Let go of your inner perfectionist. If time is short, you may have to adjust your expectations. The end result of what you produce may not be perfect, but it will be good. Sometimes good is good enough.

How do you deal with procrastination? Do you work well under pressure?

Share your tips in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “A Procrastinator’s Guide to Procrastination

  1. I’m a huge procrastinator, always waiting till the last minute to do things. I’m trying to work on this and I do the first draft thing. If I remind myself is just an outline of my final product it makes getting started so much easier.

  2. the first draft thing is my savior. and i find sometimes, that though i HATE being a procrastinor because it causes so much stress, it does help me to just get words on paper. there’s no option for fiddling around. and it also comes after i’ve been mulling things over in my head so much that i’m usually more in touch with what i want to write than i was when i first coud’ve sat down to do it.

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