Procrastination is not an uncommon action among writers. It is an avoidance pattern exhibited by writers resulting from unpleasant emotions influencing our moods.
Making serial excuses that sound like, “I’ll write that article later,” when you could write it now, or “I’ll do my research when I wake up,” when you have all the time in the world to do it, is a sign of procrastination.
In simpler terms, it is putting off something you ought to do till the “perfect time” which honestly doesn’t exist.
Are you caught in the vicious avoidance loop caused by procrastination? This article will provide actionable guides on how to manage procrastination better and work smarter as a writer.
Before we dive in, what is procrastination?
What Is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of unnecessarily postponing an action or activity until a later date.
It’s a habitual pattern of continually putting off a certain happening or action, postponing it, or pushing it forward, way down your to-do list.
As a writer, the time used to fine-tune your excuses to procrastinate, you could use to take action immediately, especially when it’s what you should be doing.
Why Do We Often Procrastinate?
Even knowing what procrastination is doesn’t stop us from doing it sometimes. Everyone procrastinates, that’s a fact.
So, it raises the question, why? Why do we still procrastinate even knowing how unproductive it is?
Here are three reasons you procrastinate.
You’re Waiting For The Perfect Time
It’s common for us, as humans and creatives, to push certain things forward or to not do them because we are waiting for the perfect time, which again does not exist.
You want it in such a way that when you finally hit “publish” or click “research” everything should fall in line, and when it isn’t, you decide to wait, for that time, that sign, that signifies the perfect time.
The above scenario is one of the biggest reasons you and I end up procrastinating, even when we know it’s unnecessary.
It similarly relates to imposter syndrome.
The fear of failure, fear of imperfection, fear of wrong timing, fear of people’s perception, fear of creative block, fear of the future, and many more.
I honestly could go on, because yes, fear is terribly gripping, and mind-sucking like that. It has sharp claws that are ready to pick on any sign of your hesitance and empower it.
It is an underlying reason you procrastinate.
Lack Of Priorities
Sometimes, all you need is to set your priorities right, because until you do, all your affairs are going to be pretty much all over the place. That’s a fact.
Not setting your priorities straight can cause you to procrastinate because in the end you’ll do so little and overlook important tasks because you have no working strategy in place.
Time waits for no one, and the earlier you work intentionally, the better.
Effects Of Procrastination On Creative Productivity
The personal consequence of lack of intentionality aside, there are major effects of procrastination on you as a creative and on your creative productivity.
Drains Your Mental Health
You might find this hard to believe, but procrastination spreads its tendrils even to your emotional and mental health.
That fear stopping you from writing and pushing you to procrastinate will eventually make you become weary, frustrated, and angry at everything and nothing at the same time.
Worse still, it makes you avoid doing anything which is mentally draining.
Procrastination Leads To Loss Of Opportunities
Imagine being in a writer’s contest, perhaps, or a speaking contest, and instead of doing it or going for it right away, you procrastinate.
What happens then? You might miss out on that opportunity. The opportunity to put yourself out there, to shine, to show your works, to be.
You missed out on it because you procrastinated, and that alone can damage your productivity as a creator, because it makes you feel as if you’re doing nothing, wasting your time.
Lack Of Motivation
When you procrastinate, you put off what needs to be done. It is scheduling tasks in your planner and not doing them regardless, despite having the time to do them.
Procrastination affects your productivity by hindering your motivation.
Let me break it down.
Procrastination leads to a fear of inadequacy that eats away at your time and opportunities and makes you feel stuck. Pray to tell, what better way is there to lose motivation?
When you don’t have the self-motivation to write, create, or stay productive, your results will remain as they were.
Ways To Manage Procrastination And Work Smart As A Writer.
As terrible as procrastination is, there are ways to manage it and work smart as a writer. I have highlighted some very effective ways below:
Set “SMART” goals
It takes a lot to set intentional goals, but I’ll try to break them down.
One reason you procrastinate is that you set unattainable goals. Yes, that’s a thing.
Having accepted the fact that you’re drowning in the avoidance loop, you have to set intentional goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Before you set these goals, be strict with yourself. Ask yourself how and why.
Done that? Break these tasks. Don’t just crumple them together. Batch them separately and ask yourself how you plan to achieve each of them. Write it down if possible.
Yes, you have planned it all, but nothing magical will happen if you don’t put in the work. Do it now! That’s your mantra.
Don’t overthink it. Just do it with intention. And don’t forget that the little things matter. Start small, it’s what will build the big acts soon.
Do away with apps that distract you, distracting environments, and whatever else that might keep you procrastinating.
In addition, always prioritize, be confident and be positive.
It’s work. It’s actual work to make procrastination stop for good and to actually turn it around to make you work smarter as a writer. But it is attainable. After all, who said good things come easy?
Dear reader, you can battle procrastination. Believe that you can do it and start putting in the work. Trust me, procrastination will soon be a thing of the past.