Discipline,  Inspiration,  Self Talk

10 Ways To Beat Procrastination

The last Happy New Year balloon has been popped. You actually remember that it’s 2020 when you write the date. And you know it’s a new year when those new habits you wanted to pick up back on January 1 are as crumpled as the Happy New Year napkin that got kicked under the entertainment center. And maybe, the ugly truth of this is that you wanted to start that writing habit, but you put it off for some reason. Then the next day it was all the harder to begin. Then the next day, it’s less about starting habits than it is about shame-managing. 

Let’s just stop it right now. Just because you’ve gotten comfortable with January doesn’t mean you need to give up on your writing goals. 

It’s way too early to give up on 2020. 

Do you have a plan on how you’re going to pick up this habit? James Clear in the book Atomic Habits says “People who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through.“ (P. 70) 

But in the meant time, if you don’t know where to start, consider the following procrastination-killers: 

1. Set a timer and write for 10 minutes about what you’d really like to write about. Don’t over-think it. It’s likely you’ll want to write more after the timer dings. 

2. Spend 10 minutes thinking of a reward you can give yourself if you write for 10 minutes. Like maybe using that Planet Fitness membership that you bought for a song on January 2? 

3. Write for 10 minutes about what you are really afraid of. 

4. Set a timer for 10 minutes and tidy an area around you. The energy that you put into this may motivate you to go back to your wip

5. Write for 10 minutes on this: “This project causes me anxiety because  . . . “

6. Write for 10 minutes about all of your strengths

7. Set a timer for five minutes, go for a walk in your neighborhood (or check the hours of Planet Fitness!) When the timer dings, return. The exercise, even as short as it is, will stimulate your brain and help you focus. 

8. Spend 10 minutes writing about what is really bugging you, be as dramatic as you can about how you feel about it. In fact, overreact to it on paper, exaggerating the seriousness of it. By the end of the 10 minutes, you’ll feel better. 

9 . Set your timer for 10 minutes and respond to the quote from Atomic Habits. 

You’re only a failure if you quit. And we have eleven months to go! So set your timer and forget the past. Tomorrow is a new day.

You can do this!

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.