Procrastination. How I loathe thee.

September 5, 2011

This post has been in the works for, oh, 6-9 months. Maybe longer. I just never got around to writing it because it seemed like there was always tomorrow. Or the next day. Or whenever.

And now look.

The thing is, I am a terrible procrastinator. When it comes to things I have to do, I put them off till the very last minute. No matter how much I stress, how it eats away at me, how much I tell myself I’d feel so much better if I’d just get it done; I can’t. It’s true with many things, but I’ve noticed it’s especially true about writing.

My blog has been, for the past 21 months, a place where there is rarely a schedule. I post when I want, I don’t post when I don’t want to. If something comes up, I don’t worry about my blog. It can wait. I’ve loved this part of it, the freedom that I answer to no one on here.

But I know in some ways, this may have to change a bit. If I want to write as a job, I’ll have to learn to meet deadlines and set time goals for myself. I’m not the greatest when it comes to mental self control, so even thinking about how to do this is a real challenge. I need to be able to set a schedule, with flexibility, for myself like I do with Bella. Like I did as a teacher. I somehow need to find a time to focus on here, not flip from tab to tab in my ADD while browing a million sites only to find a spent an hour doing nothing much. An hour that I could have really done something with.

Lately I’ve started to see offers and ideas come in because of my blog. Book reviews, a giveaway here or there of a product I adore, and contributing on other sites. Certain things are happening that could lead to other things, and if I can’t pull it together, I feel like it might all slip through my hands. How could it not? Procrastination could very well be the part of me that causes me to not reach where I want to be.

But where do I start? How do I pull myself out of a horrible habit I’ve had since, well, forever?

I bought a desk today to set up my things at. I plan on writing there for a portion of Bella’s nap. It’s going to take more than this though, it has to take me overcoming the “What about later?” voice in my head to make myself do what I need to do. I feel like I need to make myself a reward sticker chart. Or have an accountability team.

What do you do? If you work for yourself, have a great deal of freedom in your job or what you make money doing – how do you find motivation and hold yourself accountable in a realistic way?

Ugh. This is so frustrating. And you know what? Part of me just wants to put finding the solution off. For a little while.

That’s not procrastination right? It’s just… indefinite waiting.

20 Comments

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    September 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I definitely live and die by lists. A to-do list comes in very handy for me. When I’m working from home I just want to be done my portion of the report as soon as possible so I can do something I enjoy more…like blog and read blogs and waste lots of time on the interwebz.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      I love lists. This was like reading what I do – so I get it. I need to make more lists to get things done.

  • allison

    September 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    My daughter’s daily nap is so critical to my ability to work from home that I just can’t afford to waste it. To keep from using it up with non-work, procrastinating things, I immediately get to work the moment I am out of her room. I ignore the dirty lunch dishes, do not get the mail and magazines, do not pick up the remote control. Instead I launch right into a work project and do not stop to do anything else until at least an hour has gone by. Usually I’ll get so wrapped up in work and the feeling of accomplishment that time flies. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll do something else for 15 minutes and then get back to work. It helps that I hate working in the evenings, so that is a powerful motivator to use naptime wisely. Good luck!

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      I would die if Bella didn’t take a nap. And on a daily basis I think of this. How will I manage when she won’t nap?

  • Janelle

    September 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I finally finished up a post last night that was in the works for ages. Ages. So I understand.

    I concentrate on HOW GOOD IT FEELS when something is done – and work towards that feeling. It is addictive, and I find that once I start knocking things off my to-do list, they just roll…that first step is the hardest. Good luck! I’m sure a desk will help. Speaking of…I need one…

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      See- I love how empowered I feel when I get something done. Love it. But I think it’s the actual starting to do it part that overshadows that feeling. Ugh. Where are our desks hmmm?

  • Krista

    September 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I call it “working best under pressure”. 😉

    In all seriousness though, procrastination is my biggest weakness. And in all honesty, if I stayed at home, I think I would spend every nap on the couch watching soaps. Not that I think that’s just what stay at home moms do, but because my kids? they make my ass tired. most of my writing is done on my lunch hour, in the quiet of my office. Or while on conference calls – please don’t tell my boss. 😉

    I finally bought a day planner – an old school one so I can see the week and the month. I’m using it for meal planning, blog writing and freelance stuff. It doens’t have to be set in stone, but it helps me get a visual of what’s going on.

    Good luck!

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Lol, this is totally what I used to do at school. Only it was during the kids nap or prep time. 🙂

  • Misty

    September 6, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I’m currently struggling with the same issue (actually, every post you write could be about my life!! lol). I was thinking about putting a timer in my office, and setting it for a certain number of minutes for me to play around online (reading my fav. blogs, going on Twitter, emails etc.). As soon as the timer goes off, I will commit to getting back to work. And once that time period is up, that’s it, no more for the rest of the day!! I don’t know if it will work, but I’m willing to give it a try

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      I LOVE the timer idea. I find that one of the biggest issues I have is not really paying attention to the time I’m doing something, and then it’s gone and over.

  • Alexia

    September 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I feel your pain on this one. I am the most skilled procrastinator I know. There are so many things I want to do more of. More blogging. More writing. Bust out my dusty old sewing machine. ANYTHING. But the computer and damn TV are just so addicting. I wish you the absolute best of luck on conquering this hurdle and hope that when you do discover the magic formula for motivation and anti-procrastiation you share it with the rest of us! You can do it!! One of us has to!!!

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      I hope so! I keep thinking, “Today is the day!” But inside I know that tomorrow could be the day as well so…

  • Mrs. MidAtlantic

    September 6, 2011 at 5:40 am

    I don’t work from home (for a paycheck), but I make sure to add even the silliest things to my daily planner and separate to-do list. I love checking things off the to-do list, and the planner holds me accountable to getting things done in a timely fashion. Today, I will go to work, sit through two meetings, work on three files, type up the groceries list, get said groceries, and sew one puffy onion for a Christmas project. Among other things 🙂

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      I love planners. I buy like one every few months. They are all blank. :p I forget to take them with me anywhere. I need to start using one and maybe get in the habit of having it with me.

  • Tracy

    September 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    When you have an answer, let me know. I mean I always get my shit done, though not in a timely manner, which results in me stressing out. I’m realizing though, that I need to turn certain things off, and close tabs on my computer. It’s the only way to get it done. And maybe you decide to find someone to watch Bella one day a week…for several hours…so you can have some devoted work time. I mean sometimes I stay at work 30 minutes beyond when I need to be there so I can get some extra work done sans toddler. I just wish I would do things in a more timely manner.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

      I’m seeing the answer as lists. Lists and more lists. I think we both should give it a whirl.

  • Jen

    September 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I make lists and schedules. If something is a bigger project I break it down into more manageable bites and set deadlines for each of those.

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      I like that – I make lists but I’ve never broken bigger things down on them. I’ll have to give that a try.

  • Cindy @ b.kate designs

    September 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Here is my two cents and I can not really TALK because I am not yet profitable at what I do. Treat it like a real job, however you used to be in your job, do that. For me, I set goals, timelines, and LISTS. But seriously, any person whom runs a business will fall into ruts. I have been in one the past week, tired and not sewing. As of this week though I have projects to get out and deals in the works, so I am cleaning up my space tonight and working as I used to 1 week ago almost every night. I think also if you can find a space you love, that inspires you, for me this is HUGE. Right now my sewing room is like a hurricane hit, yes and I do not want to open the door (but I will). So even if it is a photo and desk accessories, a special tea cup, whatever, make the space and your mind will go. In my list I set goals, immediate, short and long and ultimate, I have these close at hand. Good Luck friend, you will get your groove back. I need to also! 🙂

    1. Diana

      September 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      This is great advice! Thank you so, so much. I consider you such a success story with all you’ve done, so it does help to know everyone goes through this at times.

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