OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION: The art of keeping up with yesterday

by | Jul 11, 2018 | writing


Procrastination...is there anything more frustrating? Or more thrilling? That last minute adrenaline…the rush of that fast approaching deadline…the burst of creativity…and the promises to never do it again, but deep down knowing that you will.

Why do we do this, procrastinators? We know about these deadlines. They are on our calendar. They stare us in the face every time we open our planner (those of us that have them). They loom over us, weighing down everything until they get done. They do for me, at least.

I can’t truly have freedom and fun until the project/work is done. But still I tend to push it off. Though it trails me, taunts me.

Thus my behavior makes absolutely no sense.

Oh, yes, we procrastinators tell ourselves we think better in a crunch. We perform at our peak in those rushed moments. We have to tell ourselves that because otherwise, we really did just waste all that energy and stay up all hours of the night and into the wee hours of the morning for no reason.

What if you could conquer procrastination? Stop putting off those deadlines?

I have no simple fix. I’m not a snake oil saleswoman.

What I have to offer is routine, discipline, practice, and dedication – things we tried to avoid in the first place.

I went from being a perpetual procrastinator to being ahead of the deadline – yes, earlyevery time.

Before you click the close button on my tab, hear me out! It came out of a need. Once I entered the writing/publication world, I saw the need to be a bit more serious about these things. It would just be plain unprofessional, in my opinion, to miss a deadline. And I hated the idea of presenting myself unprofessionally.

So I set up some things to prevent the procrastinator in me from rearing its ugly head.

I set MY deadline…two days before the actual deadline. This way I do have padding in case something wonky, like an unexpected sickness comes up.

Then I break up the project and make mini-deadlines. This allows me to make sure I’m on target to make it to the major deadline. Some of you, like me, may have a full life. I don’t have the luxury of devoting hours to my work to catch up for procrastinating like I did in college. So, I have to stay on top of things. These chunks of work attached to mini-deadlines are life-saving. In the beginning, these milestones were attached to rewards. Now, I only reward myself for the big deadline, but you do as you need.

Lastly, when it was the scheduled time to sit down and do the work. I did it. Period. This is probably the hardest step. Because more days than not, I didn’t feel like it. That’s not easy for a writer. There are strategies I have learned to employ to start the creative juices flowing (like doing a writing prompt, editing the last scene written, etc) that are very helpful. And I have had to find a tool that would block out parts of the internet (namely social media) that would suck me in when I sit down to write, but allow me to access places for research purposes. There are a ton of great tools out there.

So, there it is…my plan. My path from procrastinator to early finisher. I sleep better, I enjoy my time more, and I get things done with less stress. I won’t lie, there are still times I struggle with the procrastinator in me, but it becomes easier to overcome that tendency. More and more as time goes by.

Do you have other strategies that have worked to overcome procrastination?


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Sara R. Turnquist