Do we procrastinate because of our fear of success? Is it our fear of failure? Or are we just lazy? Whatever the reason, itâ€™s a common problem amongst us freelancers.
Well, this year I thought Iâ€™d make it my resolution to try and kick the habit for good. â€˜An impossible taskâ€™ I hear you say, but as with every bad habit Iâ€™m hoping it can be overcome with the right strategy and frame of mind. Otherwise that novel is never going to get written.
Here are a few procrastination tips that might help:
1. Switch off the internet â€“ The internet is one of the biggest distractions known to man. When itâ€™s time to start writing unplug the router from the wall. Just disconnecting your PC isnâ€™t going to be enough to stop you wandering off on another misguided jaunt on the information superhighway.
2. Reward yourself â€“ Whether itâ€™s a cup of tea whilst doing the crossword or a quick stroll, plan a small reward for working diligently for 50 minutes. When working on larger projects this could equate to going out for dinner or an afternoon at the beach (thereâ€™s no snow in Malta!) for much deserved time away from the keyboard.
3. Do something else â€“ If youâ€™re really struggling, do something else thatâ€™s productive. Going for a run, washing the dishes or reading a book can help clear the mind and unplug whateverâ€™s blocking your inspiration.
4. Work from somewhere else â€“ Changing your location (even if itâ€™s just another room) can help break out of the mental prison thatâ€™s stopping you from working productively.
5. Set a schedule â€“ Work out a list of targets for the day to pressure you into getting things done.
6. Remember itâ€™s your job â€“ You donâ€™t get paid for staring out of the window or playing minesweeper. So remember that writing is paying to keep a roof over your head, and not a hobby for whiling away the hours.
7. Get dressed â€“ Writing in your dressing gown might be a clichÃ©, but if itâ€™s something you do thatâ€™s holding you back consider dressing up in your smart business clothes to put yourself in a â€˜professionalâ€™ frame of mind.
8. Work out a good outline â€“ Research and planning what to write is half the battle. Failing to plan can leave you struggling through a quagmire, draining you of energy and time. Make sure youâ€™ve got enough notes to structure whatever youâ€™re writing and to give you a clear sense of direction towards productive victory.
9. Write during your â€˜power hoursâ€™ â€“ Whether itâ€™s first thing in the morning or the twilight hours, work out when is your most productive period and assign writing to those hours. Facebook and Twitter can wait.
10. Caffeine hit â€“ Some say caffeine can disrupt your creativity, whilst others swear by it to get the words flowing. Alcohol is another popular writing stimulant. Just make sure you have another read through in the morning.
Will these tips work? Well, I think Iâ€™ve got a long road ahead of me. Before sitting down to write this post Iâ€™d already done the washing up and spent 10 minutes sat on the balcony. Getting that novel done might take some time. Maybe next year.