We’ve all had bouts with this monster. We sit down at our desks, prepared to write a brilliant post, and then, just before we’re about to hammer it out, we remember some trivial, unimportant task that has no immediate deadline, but that suddenly has become the most important thing on the planet. Anything to avoid doing what needs to be done. Procrastination is generally defined by psychologists as “a gap between intention and action.” (See Timothy A. Pychyl’s blog for some really great insights into why we procrastinate.) The question, then, becomes, “How do we bridge that gap?”
If you are know you need to get your next post up but can’t figure out how to defeat that big, hairy monster, Procrastination, here are a few weapons you can put in your arsenal that will help you slay the beast, and start back on your quest for the best blog on the internet.
1. A Day Planner
This might seem like an unlikely weapon, but a day planner can tame Procrastination and transform it into a manageable task. One of the biggest reasons so many of us put off blogging is because it is an ambiguous task, one that is difficult to approach directly because it seems to have no entry point. We begin to think that we don’t have time to blog.
With a day planner, you can schedule out not only specific times that you will blog, but what you will be doing during those times. Compartmentalize your time so that you don’t waste a single second. From 6 to 6:30 you will research; from 6:30 to 6:45 you will map idea 1; from 6:45 to 7 you will map idea 2; and so on until you have effectively planned the entire process from start to finish, not leaving any time for Procrastination to bring you down.
2. A Passion
If you are writing about something you don’t care about, chances are you will find every excuse imaginable to not write about it. Even taking out the garbage will sound more appealing. Ask yourself why you blog, and why you blog about what you blog about. The goal is to write about something that you enjoy and know very well, something that other people want to know about, and something that you can help them with. If you aren’t passionate about your blog, consider starting over with a fresh idea that you are passionate about, and watch and laugh as Procrastination weakly tries to assail you.
3. A Notebook
Probably more than anything else, lack of ideas inspires procrastination. It is very difficult to sit at a computer and watch the cursor blink, almost as if it were mocking you, while you try to think of something to say. Procrastination sees this weakness and pounces on it, convincing you to do something else instead. Ideas are all around you; all you need is a mechanism to record them when they come. Small notebooks are excellent for this, because they are transportable, and are easily accessible when you have a fleeting idea.
Another excellent resource is an app for desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones called Evernote that is basically a virtual notebook, with the capabilities of saving ideas in several media, and instantly saving those ideas to your account which you can access from any computer that has the program, or from the internet at Evernote’s website. If you are always keeping track of your ideas, you won’t ever be at a loss for material.
These weapons are free, or as close to free as anything comes, and will be more effective at staying off Procrastination than your will alone. Give them a try and get back to your blogging quest.