The Cost of Procrastination – Part Two

procrastinationTo change the habit of procrastinating, you need to train your brain to believe the path you want is the safe route.  How do you convince your brain what you want to do is the safe path?

Make a plan – your brain loves plans, and it will help demonstrate it will work.  This is why there are plans everywhere.  What do you want? How do you want to get it?  Who else has succeeded? How long will it take? What will success look like?

Have a ready answer for the thoughts that will pop up offering you excuses to turn back.  Choose something simple.  Three words or less.  And have a couple.

Excuse Answer
Oh no! We’re going die! Thanks for sharing. (acknowledge – and dismisses the excuse)
Taking a new class?  We’ll be miserable just like in elementary school! I can handle this.
I really need to get up and vacuum under my couch before I submit that short story. I’m doing fine.
Oh no!  Dinner with friends on a weeknight! I got this.
Ahhhhhhh!  My book got accepted and now I need to set up a book signing and no one will come! I’m completely safe.
I like writing alone.  I don’t need to let people know I’ve a writer.  They will laugh at me. I’m Okay.

Come up with your simple answer to the things your survival brain comes up with.  Some people suggest taking time to write down all the silly things, fears and excuses your brain invents to make yourself aware of this incessant presence.  Then answer these fears.i have a plan

In addition to the ones above, here are some ready to use answers that help others.  And if you listen carefully enough at conventions, book signings or anywhere else large groups of people gather, you will hear these and many more short little helpers muttered under the breath of countless successful people.

“Thanks”

“Thanks a lot.”

“I’m fine.”

“I’m good.”

“Everything’s good/fine/okay.”

“This is great.”

“This is working.”

“This is okay.”

“I can do this.”

 

Here is what you’ll hear from self-saboteurs, before they bolt.

 

“This is not working.”

“This is all wrong.”

“It’s not going to work.”

“I can’t do this.”

“WTF am I doing here?”

results-or-excuses-not-bothPutting things off costs you.  But while you are in the beginning stages of recovery from procrastination, for whatever reason you find yourself there, we offer the following table of business related items to help your writing career.  NOTE: nothing listed takes longer than 10 minutes.  These are items professional writers do and the basic time frame needed to accomplish them.

Two pieces of advice to those just starting the path or procrastination recovery:

  • Use a timer. On your smart phone, on your stove or microwave, or get an old fashion kitchen timer.  No matter what kind you use, just use one.  And reward yourself by stopping the task when the timer goes off.
  • Pick from the column you most need help with. We have all said we don’t have time for marketing or business needs, we have to write. Pick something from marketing and operations to get you going on your path to business growth.

 

If you have   Marketing   Operations   Production
1 min Post 1 Tweet Toss 1 broken item Scribble 1 story idea
2 min Reply to 3 Comments on TW Make list of current deadlines Find a notebook to carry when out.
3 min Reply to 2 Comments on FB Sort ½ inch of a stack of papers Write 2 sentences – no editing.
4 min Write, Address & Stamp 1 Real Thank You Card Search for 1 new market Edit 2 pages
5 min Search for detail on 1 upcoming convention to attend File 1 inch of paper Read – ex. An article ot blog on writing
6 min Post 1 FB Item with photo Buy computer back up services and automate back up Write
7 min Add something useful to a conversation on line Track expenses for last week Edit
8 min Plan your wardrobe for the week Update your website/blog Read
9 min Make a phone call you put off. Prepare shipments and put where you will grab it before heading out the door. Write
10 min Record a YouTube Video Watch 1 Flash Class Submit one piece of work

 

BIG difference.  You can choose answers that will help you reach your overall goals, or you can choose answers that will agree with your survival brain and keep you right where you are.

That choice is a huge responsibility.

The choice is up to you.

 

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