Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to Procrastinate


The beloved art of finding anything to do other than what you need to do.

Procrastination, my friends, is the death of a writer. It is very easy to stop writing because there is something else more interesting to do. Time keeps marching on, and writers who procrastinate are left in the dust. Let us face the truth: a writer who does not manage their time well will have a very difficult time succeeding at being a professional.

That said, I'm a procrastinator. I love the thrill of approaching a deadline and needing to chop to make it. It is an adrenaline rush that I should live without but somehow manage to always bump heads with.

However, I've become a bit of a trained procrastinator. Over the years, I have learned ways to procrastinate while still doing things that are useful. Sometimes, procrastination is the mask for resolving an internal writing block. Doing something else helps me break a block, and fairly quickly. In that aspect, a bit of procrastination is a useful thing.

Unfortunately, I am quickly learning that time is something that you have a lot of when you are young and a lot less of as you age.

I'm in that little special place in between. Now, I wish to remove my urges to procrastinate. This is a lot harder than it sounds. The human species is a creature of habit. Once you are into the habit of procrastination, it is very difficult to remove the habit of procrastination. This sounds terrible. Oh, believe me, it is.

Building good habits is like quitting smoking. It is easy to say, "I wish to quit smoking". It is not so easy to stop lighting up and quit.

I'm just glad I don't smoke. I don't think I could handle trying to deal with that many habits at one time!

This will be a reoccurring subject. As I try to get into the habit of using my time better, I will add little blurbs to my posts on writing to tell you all just how I am doing at it. I expect there will be a lot of failures in the near future, as I balance contract working, my epic series, and the other novels that I wish to write. Then, I want to add in some more writing related research...

... I am sure that you can see where I am going with this. I'm already procrastinating on getting done any one of these things by making this post.

Today, I need to do a lot of things. I am going to try to hop to it. Let us see if I manage to manage my time better today.

With that said, here are some sites relating to procrastination, why people do it, and what you can do to stop doing it. If you procrastinate like I do, maybe you will want to try taking this little journey with me.

I will say this much: there are thousands of references on procrastination. Below, you will find a handful if you really don't have anything better to do with your time! I suggest you look at the causes and cures section. I am.

What is procrastination?
Wikipedia's Entry on Procrastination
Psychology Today - 10 things to know about Procrastination
Carleton University's Procrastination Research
Cal Poly's Reference

What are the causes of procrastination?'s reference
Reference Site, Causes of Procrastination
Suite 101's entry

What can be done to stop the habit of procrastination?
Mind Tool's Beating Procrastination
John Place Online
Canada One
Montgomery College

What other writers have to say about procrastination!
John Perry
Paul Graham

And as a final tidbit, famous quotes on procrastination!

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. " - William James

"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. " - Don Marquis

"Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment." - Robert Benchley

"The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow." - Unknown

"I do my work at the same time each day - the last minute. " - Unknown

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. " - Mark Twain

I was also asked, randomly, to add a short entry on what my fish Cortez thought on Peanut Butter. Cortez reports that he would surely like to try Peanut Butter, but his mother is an evil tyrant and will not permit him to try it for fear of what peanut butter might actually do to a fish. He thinks this is entirely unfair, and that he is a noble Betta Splendens, who is afraid of no fish, no food and not even death itself!

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