The Ridiculously Simple Way to Beat Procrastination
By Ruth Barringham
You might have noticed that for weeks now I’ve been really lazy about writing, to the point where I’ve barely done any at all.
Previously, I would sit and write every day, but then one day I just got busy with other things and stopped writing.
Even when I did sit down to write, I’d procrastinate and start playing a computer game instead, or sit and read a book or browse online.
I found it so hard to sit down and write when I didn’t feel like it. So I started looking into it and realised that I had the solution all along. I already knew how to beat procrastination, but I’d simply forgot.
You see, it doesn’t just happen to certain people. Even well-known and high-earning writers have to beat procrastination on an almost daily basis.
Legendary copywriter, Eugene Schwartz, earned millions every year from his copywriting. Yet every morning he would have to make himself go into his home office with a cup of tea an sit down at his desk. He would tell himself that he could either sip his tea and do nothing else, or he could work. So he’d eventually read through what he’d been working on, and before he knew it, he was hard at work. But he’d always use his work-or-nothing discipline to stay at his desk for 3 to 4 hours every day.
Horror writer, Stephen King, advises writes to just sit and start writing every day. He says don’t wait for your muse to appear before you write because your muse won’t show up for work until you do.
Copywriter, Ben Settle, is another person who has to force himself to sit at his desk every day whether he feels like writing or not. In one interview, he said that he tells himself that he’s not going to write, he’s only going to do something simple like indent the paragraphs of the project he was working on the previous day. And once he starts, he finds that he’s quickly into the writing zone and can carry on working for hours. But like the others, first he has to make himself sit down and start working in order to beat procrastination.
Another good example is the author Marylou Angelo. She took beating procrastination to a whole new level by renting a hotel room every day and going there to write. Not only that, but she’d make the staff remove the TV and the pictures from the walls so that she wouldn’t be distracted.
So if procrastination is an ongoing problem for these prolific writers, it’s no wonder that the rest of us struggle too.
But just from these few examples, the solution is clear.
Procrastination only happens when you’re NOT writing, so, like these other writers demonstrate, the way to beat it is to just sit down and start writing.
And it doesn’t matter what you write. It can be anything as long as it gets you going: a to-do list, copying out pages from a book, taking notes from a book or audio that’s informative or inspirational, or just looking over what you wrote the previous day.
It doesn’t matter what you do, but you MUST sit down and start - no matter how much you don’t want to - and soon motivation will kick in and you’ll wonder why you just just didn’t sit down sooner.
And it’s not only writing that this works for. It can work for anything that you don’t feel like doing — cleaning the windows, mowing the lawn, doing the ironing.
No matter what it is, it isn’t doing it that’s hard, it’s just starting that’s the problem.
And that’s what procrastination is. It’s something that stops you from starting.
So once you begin something, procrastination is beaten.
Just try it for yourself.
If there’s something you need to do that you keep putting off (like your writing), stop making excuses and start doing it. Just tell yourself you’re just going to do it for 5 minutes or half an hour if that helps.
And you’ll beat procrastination every time.
“I’m so disappointed that I got so much done today,” said nobody ever.