Procrastination, Deadlines, and Goals (Part One)

“Oh no I've done it again,” You scold yourself. Your nervous habits get the best of you as you run your hands through your hair and glance away from the screen, up at the clock. Or maybe, rather than check the clock, you check the word counter and you’re several hundred words away from where you want to be. Or maybe you’re not sitting at the computer typing at all. Maybe you’re in the kitchen eating when you told yourself you’d start tonight.

How did I get to this place again?” You cry in disbelief.

Unfortunately this seems to be a common occurrence for all of us, or at least all of us that aren't super-humans. We all procrastinate, run past deadlines, and fall short of our self set goals. Even as I'm writing this article I'm making up for procrastinating. Even though it happens to everyone, writers can suffer from extreme discouragement when facing these minor setbacks, and it can even cause some to want to quit writing altogether. However a true writer never quits, they only take long hiatuses. So give yourself a break, it happens to everyone.

"But wait just one minute!" I hear you angrily typing in the comments already, "You can't just end the article like that! Do you want us all to become complacent and become uncommitted to writing?!" That was not my intention, but I see how it would be frustrating to suffer from these problem continuously. So, while there is no "cure all" solution, I will do my best to analyze each of our three problems and find a chink in each of the monsters' armor.

Procrastination is simply defined as putting off something that could and/or should be done in the present for a later time, that may or may not ever come about. Many people relate procrastination with deadlines but this is not always the case. Procrastination in relation to deadlines is what I like to call Short Term Procrastination. Short Term Procrastination typically consist of having a deadline, waiting until the last second, and then trying to complete all of the work just before the deadline. While this is a good definition of procrastination, it is often mistaken to be the only kind of procrastination, when that is simply not the case. Long Term Procrastination is when you have something you want to do that has no deadline, but keeps getting put off to the side because other things have been prioritized. While not as recognized, I find this kind of procrastination to be the kind that wraps most writers in it's nasty snare (myself included).
A solution for short term procrastination is simple. Will power. It's the little things like making an intentional effort. Set up reminders and make your environment as distraction-free as possible. A solution to long term procrastination is more complex, because it can't always be precisely diagnosed. Some normal reasons consist of lack of inspiration, or other more important priorities placed above this freetime activity. While a good solution for the first option may be a well needed break, a solution for the second might be to decide to discipline yourself in the way you spend your freetime, to give yourself more time to write. If you feel like Long Term Procrastination is holding back your writing, examine your situation well.

Stay tuned for Part Two when we cover: Goals

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Ethan! Procrastination is definitely a struggle most of us writers face.