By Blair Williams, founder of MemberPress
Many writers cope with procrastination on a daily basis. It’s easy to let discomfort put you off from getting started. You may worry about an approaching deadline, or you may fear that you lack the ability to write good content. Self-doubt is a well-known companion to many people who write.
Procrastination gives you short-term relief by allowing you to ignore those uncomfortable feelings. However, that relief is temporary and fleeting. By putting off your writing, you’ve very likely increased your workload.
That’s why procrastination is harmful to your work and your life. If you have a blog where your readers are expecting regular content, for example, then it can affect your performance and engagement.
Fortunately, there are tricks to help you stop procrastinating. Here’s a look at some tips that will help you be a more productive writer.
Use the freewriting technique.
Freewriting is a technique where you set a timer and start writing from the moment the timer starts to the moment it ends. The important thing is not to stop at any point and not to edit your thoughts.
This technique allows your creative thoughts to flow unconstrained. No matter what, you’ll get content down on paper--or on screen. You can always edit what you’ve written later and refine it into a cohesive piece.
Freewriting is useful in fighting procrastination because there’s no insistence on producing “good” content. You’re focused on the act of writing. Eventually, you can reach a state of flow where you’re creating good content without much effort.
Procrastination is driven by discomfort and anxiety. When you procrastinate, you’re avoiding uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Learning to meditate can help you get some distance from your thought patterns. It can help you observe thoughts and feelings as they occur without getting pulled into them.
A few minutes of meditation several times a day can help you feel more present. With time and practice, you can learn to dismiss the urge to procrastinate. It becomes easier to sit down and work, create content and meet deadlines.
Your phone, music player and television can be your greatest enemies when it comes to getting your job done. One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to stop procrastinating is to remove distractions.
Technology can be useful for making you a better and more productive writer by giving you tools to improve your writing. Editing programs, spelling and grammar checkers, and other tools can help you work faster. However, it’s important to reduce how many gadgets and tools you use if they create delays.
Do an audit of the websites, devices and applications that distract rather than help you, and consider restricting how much you use them. Switch off your mobile, and add a software program or extension that blocks time-wasting sites.
Lower your standards.
It’s possible that you’ve simply set standards that are too high and too rigid to meet. Ask yourself if the only reason you’re avoiding writing is that you’re afraid you can’t write at the level your perfectionism has set. Rigid and high standards will only lead to more stress and anxiety.
A quick fix is to lower your standards and keep writing. Just starting to write can often help you get into a creative headspace. You’ll likely find that the words you were looking for were always there but blocked by your desire for impeccable work.
In reality, it’s more important to show up. In other words, focus on finishing your writing on time rather than producing perfect content every time. When you remove the pressure for great content, I predict you’ll get the job done and will find your writing better than you expected.
Don’t let procrastination hold the reins.
Procrastination offers you temporary relief from the stress and anxiety that can come from writing. However, the relief it offers is short-lived. You’ll only double your writing struggles by procrastinating.
Overcoming procrastination is a skill that every writer needs to have. Leverage these strategies to manage your temptation to procrastinate. Instead, focus on writing to the best of your creative abilities and sharing it with the world.
Blair Williams is the founder of MemberPress, an all-in-one membership website software for WordPress.