06 March 2013

The Procrastination Solution

I was going to title this post “How to Deal with Deadlines,” but I realized I actually don’t have the answer to this problem. I’m by no means a professional writer, and don’t have experience in meeting a deadline for a manuscript or article. And setting goals for myself never goes very well. However, since last week I had to finish a novel draft for a contest deadline, I was having flashbacks to high school and college when I would always wait until the last minute to get something done. While I wouldn’t recommend procrastination if you have no experience—if you’re good at getting things done early, more power to you—I do have some tips for the amateurs and even the most skilled of procrastinators.

  1. It’s all about PRESSURE. What’s more likely to light a fire under your ass than the fact that you absolutely have no choice but to get your work done? It’s either get it done or fail, or you may even lose money or integrity if this is a professional piece. So what else can you do when you have only a few hours left? Pressure leads to greater concentration. 
  2. Make a sacrifice to the caffeine gods. Who needs sleep when you’ve got all this great writing to do? The more sleep-deprived you are, the crazier you are, and so your ideas could be more interesting! You know what? Skip the quadruple shot latte and invest in an IV that drips espresso.
  3. Commercial breaks. Sometimes concentrating too much on one thing can be overwhelming. Maybe there’s a marathon of your favorite TV show on at the same time you’re doing your work. The mute button is now your best friend. You can turn it into a game and see how much work you can get done during one commercial break before you can relax for a few minutes and watch your favorite detectives solve a murder.
  4. Take a shower. I figured this one out in high school. When the ideas weren’t coming together, I’d take a break and hop in the shower to wash my hair. There are no distractions and you can be alone with your thoughts. I would always have some sort of epiphany under the hot water.
  5. Don’t panic. Don’t bother asking yourself WHY you waited so long to do this. That’s irrelevant now and it probably won’t make a difference the next time. Don’t fight your nature. You were born a procrastinator and you’ll probably stay that way. Just fight onward! Every time you’re successful will just reinforce the fact that you were right to procrastinate in the first place.

I’m sorry, I have no idea how serious I was trying to be anymore. Maybe I shouldn’t have put this off until nine o’clock…

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