Procrastination is an inherent part of our lives. No matter who you are and what you do, you can’t escape Procrastination. Its a state of mind and you have to learn how to manage that state and be productive.
Back in 2010, when I was a full time blogger and web worker, I was extremely productive. I would churn out productive blog posts every day and would still hit the keyboard without getting fatigued. It was part of my natural flow, I loved to write and I could go on and on without tiring myself. Back then, I had to fight procrastination but it was a different fight, which I am fighting now.
Now, I am not a full time blogger and I don’t write everyday. I work at LinkedIn and my work routine has little space for daily blogging (although I am catching up and trying to be regular here). Given the least margin of time I have for blogging, I still have to fight Procrastination. Three years back, I was fighting Procrastination on a different front and now I am fighting procrastination on a different front.
If you are in the same boat like me and find procrastination getting in your the way of your Blogging vehicle, here are a few tips you may want to try
1. Write – Read – Rewrite – Read – Edit – Publish (There is no saving for later)
I chucked out “Save as draft” completely from my editorial routine. And I did it because it was “getting in my way” and was adding to my procrastination.
“I think I will finish this post tomorrow”
“I am tired and I am not in the mood of finishing this post”
Things like this always pop into our head and the result is nothing but unfinished work, which is trashed anyway.
Hence this principle. And I will tell you, this works wonders if you are strict to the notion and follow in religiously.
At the time of writing this post, I have been distracted by other things and I am tempted to procrastinate. An important email just hit my inbox and I need to take action now but since I have decided not to leave a blog post without finishing it, I will continue writing this one and let that work wait for another 30 minutes. If that work is urgently important, I will simply delete this (the fact that you’re reading this means that it was not that important).
2. Publish First, Decorate later (maybe Decorate never but do Publish first)
Most of the valuable time is wasted in “decorating” a blog post, which needed to be taken care of.
Decorating could mean finding proper images, videos or other supporting material for the point you want to make,. Decorating could mean a video screen cast, it could also mean collecting a list of links. It could range between a motley of things and most of the times, this decoration is the root cause of procrastination. Most of the times, we aim for perfection and since perfection demands repetitive attention and constant hustling, we never finish it. Result is nothing but half finished work and we are distracted to something else.
Change – no aiming for perfection. At least, not now. Let the ball roll and let perfection figure it out itself.
3. Finish in one flow.
Since I am working full time, I finish my posts in one flow before being distracted. I was not a believer of finishing a blog post in one flow and have always argued that careful review of a write-up helps improve the content and quality of the post, if you review it after staged intervals. But some rules have to be broken and new rules have to be put into action, when the situation demands you to.
Since I am working full time and have a pile of things to do on any given day, I try to finish a post in one complete flow. I agree this could mean less research and head hunting but the end result is that I somehow finish the post rather than being carried away.
4. Outsource, if required
Let’s face it, you can’t do everything on your own. You’re not an expert in everything and if you try to do everything on your own, you will get nothing done. And when you get nothing done, you do one thing well – Procrastinate. You guess. You imagine. You dream. And then you are lost into something, exhausted and you quit.
When you’re short of time and resources, one clever strategy is to outsource as much and outsource as little as possible. You can outsource part of your writing activity, maybe you can hire a copywriter and let him write a full blown write-up, instead of you having to go through every sentence of the rough draft you have written. Maybe you can hire freelance writers or permanent authors in your blog and let them do the writing on your behalf. The bottom line is to get the work done and not procrastinate and its up to you to choose how you want to achieve the result.
Habit and discipline are heavy words, easy to preach but difficult to apply when the time and place comes. However, here is something which I have realized off late and it helps me get more work done without much added effort whatsoever.
The trick is doing the same thing at particular hours every single day. That way, the brain slowly learns the pattern of your work and it aligns itself accordingly. Gradually, you become more productive and can feel the change. I will share a small example.
Earlier, I used to have lunch whenever I felt hungry. It could mean 12 PM, 2PM or maybe 4 in the late afternoon. These days, I eat exactly 2:30 PM. I have gone to the extent of setting up an alarm and I follow this routine religiously. Similarly, I start writing lengthy articles during early morning. These small changes in your everyday workflow can prove to be a refreshing change and stop you from procrastinating.
The logic is that your brain knows exactly what needs to be done at what time and has little room for procrastinating.