June 12, 2018
Note From Rochelle
It’s June, and I’m getting ready to teach a class on blogging at Mt. Mary University. Soon, I’ll be scaling back my coaching to make time for teaching. If you’ve been wanting to schedule a session to talk about your project, sign up soon at my Writing Coaching page.
Today, I’m writing about one of my favorite topics—overcoming procrastination by taking small steps!
How to Overcome Procrastination
by Rochelle Melander
Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging. —Mary Daly
Do you procrastinate?
Most of us do. Each of us has our own reasons for putting off completing important tasks—like writing. Psychologists suggest that we might experience procrastination when we don’t know how to complete a task, we feel scared, we’re not inspired, we have other things that need to be done first … and on it goes.
The best antidote to procrastination?
According to SARK, author of Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day, we can overcome procrastination by using micromovements. A micromovement is a tiny step that takes 5 seconds to 5 minutes to accomplish.
Everything you need to do as a writer can be done in micromovements, from imagining your book to writing it to submitting it for publication.
How do you start? Take a look at your writing project, figure out the next few steps and then break them down into many micromovements. Let’s say your next task is to revise the nonfiction book you’ve been working on. Maybe your first attempt at breaking down the task looks like this:
+Make list of sections to revise
+Review for grammar and spelling
Next, break down each task on that list into microtasks. So “review book” becomes,
+Read through table of contents.
+Read through Introduction.
+Read through Introduction, eliminate anything that does not fit.
+Read through Introduction, note any missing elements.
+Read through Introduction, add definition for topic.
If any of the tasks on your list feel too big, break it down into smaller tasks.
Once you have a list of bite-sized tasks, schedule time to complete them. Be specific. In your calendar, write:
+Wednesday, 10:00-10:05 AM, Open Book Document
+Thursday, 10:00-10:05 AM, Review Table of Contents
+Friday, 10:00-10:05 AM, Review Introduction
Once you’ve completed a micromovement, you can choose to tackle another one. Or you can take a nap. It’s your choice.
We don’t have to live with the worry of procrastination. Instead, we can succeed by taking small, steady steps forward.
To your success…one small step at a time!
Helpful tips, Rochelle. Thanks.
I beat procrastination by updating a sticky note with my current to-do list. It forces me to remain focused. I never think, “I’m not sure what I should do next, so I’ll __________ [fill in the blank].”