“Procrastination is getting ready to get ready.”
Dr. Rob Gilbert
This is a favorite quote of Rob’s on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690). Getting ready to get ready. I’m sure we all know the feeling: you know you should be doing something, but you just can’t get your motor going. Whether it’s writing a tough scene in a tough chapter or researching an agent so you can tailor your query letter — there are times when it’s just plain tough to tackle the page.
What to do, what to do? First, let’s remember that we can’t be totally productive 100% of the time: There’s an ebb and flow to productivity, just as there is to our energy level. It’s also worth reminding ourselves that sometimes procrastination is really just percolation: while we seem to be putting something off, we’re actually letting it lie fallow until it’s ready to germinate. With all this in mind, here are tips for handling down moments when we don’t feel like working from an online Fast Company article by Allison Graham:
Go easy on yourself: Remember that procrastination has some positive benefits. It can allow you toy relax, respond to dips in your energy, and let your creative juices to simmer. So when you find yourself unable to get up and running, don’t beat yourself up about it: Something positive may actually be happening.
Change your setting: Sometimes being home alone can sap your drive. When this happens, you can create an shift in energy by getting up and out: Having coffee with a colleague, setting up your computer in a library or scheduling a research session. Often, all it takes is a little public exposure to get in gear.
Create a deadline: But make it realistic and doable. One approach: ask a colleague or “accountability buddy” to help by letting you discuss some aspect of your project. Then commit to sending them information prior to your meeting or call. Once you get something completed, you’re more likely to keep going.
Break it down: Sometimes we get stalled because the project we’re tackling seems overwhelming or so abstract that we can’t get our arms around it. If this is an issue, then break it down into smaller steps you can take action on and complete.
Get going: Use Rob Gilbert’s 15-Minute Rule and commit to working on something for 15 minutes. Once you get started, there’s a good chance you’ll keep going. And write on!