Procrastination for the Nation

Hello all,

I hope you’ve all had a grand week and aren’t feeling that it’s Monday too much (4 days till the weekend). Anyway, I’ve got some editing done of the last week for Lost & Found, and I’m pleased to say that the first half is ready to go. Second half editing begins now. Other writing projects pushing forward are my fantasy novel, which is now four chapters long! Good going, I think. The plot begins to fall into place, and I’m pleased with how things are turning out.

However, productivity waned towards the end of the week, and procrastination became the time. I thought I’d share with you my top five ways to procrastinate and then my ways of breaking procrastination. Then you guys can tell me your favourite ways to procrastinate and ways to break procrastination.

Top 5 Ways to Procrastinate

5. TV Not a very creative one, I know, but I do sometimes end up vegging in front of the TV rather than doing any writing (especially on Saturday afternoons). This generally starts with good intentions – it’s sometimes nice to have some background noise whilst you work, especially if you live in a city where people talk underneath your windows for hours or shout at each other or rev engines etc etc. It’s nice to drown the noise out with noise you can control. Music tends to have me singing along so TV is better. I think the best is actually live snooker coverage, since it’s not gripping enough to distract you. But sometimes I end up watching rather than writing.

4. Snacking Yes, the bane of all life. When I get stuck and my mind wanders, I want to snack. I’ll spend fifteen to twenty minutes at a time wandering around the kitchen looking in the fridge, the freezer, and all the cupboards. I often don’t find anything and the cycle begins again. This also may lead to an impromptu visit to the shops to get food.

3. Cleaning This is something that gets everyone I think. When I procrastinate I tidy and clean and vacuum. I don’t know why. It’s very odd, since I’m not all that fussed about tidiness the majority of the time. I suppose that’s why it’s procrastination.

2. Naming Naming is always an important part of characterisation for me, and I spend a lot of time compiling lists of names to suit particular situations and concepts. It can lead to procrastination as I surf naming sites (I thoroughly recommend Behind the Name) and compiling lists. It’s quite sad, but it can be an ice breaker with new people if you know what their name means.

1. Facebook Seriously. I’m not sure I even like the idea of Facebook, but we have a love-hate relationship. It’s complicated. I will check Facebook if I’m bored or avoiding work, and it’s twice as bad if I’m actively waiting for someone to reply. If I’m really bored I start commenting on posts that usually I would ignore. It’s too easy to get lost in, and it’s the hardest one to get out of.

So how to break procrastination cycles then? Well, it isn’t always easy. My top way is to go out for a walk, which may seem like more of a procrastination, but I find it settles my mind down and allows me to think about what I want to write next. Also, it’s easy to get cooped up in a place whilst writing and getting out in the fresh air really lifts that frustration. Plus, it’s mild exercise, which is good for the endorphins. Come back with a blank slate and a more focused mind. Always good.

What are your ways of avoiding procrastination, and what are your procrastination activities?


3 Responses to “Procrastination for the Nation”
  1. I’m terrible for the cleaning thing, the TV thing, the eating thi–okay, so all of them. I also tend to ‘clean my computer’ when I’m /really/ trying to procrastinate.

    I tend to work better when I set myself time limits. So I’d work for an hour, then have only half an hour to get other things done…and I’m only allowed to watch a TV episode every 500-written words. I find it keeps me motivated. 🙂

    Also, it’s great to hear about your fantasy novel! I’m looking forward to reading it.

  2. Great post, Nick. I personally fall into either Facebook/Twitter (wherein I justify it because I am working to promote my already-published work) or housework (after all, I am a stay-at-home dad/homemaker/househusband/whatever).

  3. My best procrastination method is thinking. I can do it a lot and it makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something, LOL. My second favorite is Twitter and now that I have both a corporate as well as personal accounts, the possibilities are endless. Cheers to procrastination! I say don’t to carpe diem!!!

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