This blog post idea came to be because this month I was supposed to be writing a novel in a month again, but I procrastinated because there were people I had to entertain, so… yeah. I have several ideas on how to eliminate procrastinating. I’m sure that some of them are just fanciful thoughts, but maybe they’ll work for someone…. or not… whatever….

1) If the reason for the procrastination is the fear of failure, preparation is very important. The only reason I finished NaNoWriMo 2010 was because of preparation (I’m sure there is a post about that on this blog somewhere if you really want to hear me ramble about it). The point is to make success so inevitable that you don’t have an excuse not to do it. Of course if it’s not something you want to do, then no amount of preparation is going to help you out, which leads us to,
2) Make sure it’s something you really want to do. If it’s just something that you have to do, then fear of failure is probably not your problem. The problem is that you don’t want to do it, so your brain is making up every excuse imaginable to not have to. There’s always the age old, “just do it” theory, but I know that that rarely works unless I can startle myself. Such as, your mom tells you to do something. Instead of thinking about doing it, just let that instinct of obedience kick in and do it before you realize that you don’t want to. If you have time to think about it, then…
3) Try to make it worth it. Think of EVERY possible reward (big or small, obvious or subtle) you could think of for doing it. Make a list, if you must! Or make up rewards for yourself if you finish. Don’t make them lame rewards like candy, because I’d crumble and just eat the candy… Make even as simple as bragging rights. If I had failed NaNoWriMo 2010 (like I failed 2009) most people wouldn’t even know that I’d tried, because one of the rewards that I’d made for myself was that if I finished I could go out and tell anyone and everyone and that I’d finally have an answer to the question “What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in life?”. Bragging might be a little prideful, but if you have something to be legitimately proud of, then why not?
4) I read/heard somewhere about reading scriptures (I am a Mormon, just so people aren’t extremely confused) that if you had a problem with reading them because you kept getting distracted by other more interesting books (not that the scriptures aren’t interesting, it just takes more work from you for them to be interesting and people [a.k.a. me] are super lazy), you should put your scriptures on top of the more interesting book and make the deal with yourself that if you read a certain amount, you can put them down and read what you really wanted to. This could (probably… maybe?) work on other things as well.
Such as with my current WIP (Work In Progress, for those of you who don’t know), what I did was keep the Word document that contained it open at all times. I love multi-tasking and I love being able to have multiple tabs/windows open at a time, but subconsciously it really bugs me to have a lot of things open, so when I do, it’s almost a game to me. I work as quickly and as efficiently as possible so as to eliminate the clutter, so seeing that Word document open all the time REALLY bugged me. It wasn’t so much that I would write because I was trying to finish so that I could close the window, but it served as a reminder that I had something I needed to be working on. Granted, this idea didn’t work as well as I would have liked it to, but I did get more written that I would have if I hadn’t left it open. The way I reminded myself to open it up again every time I turned off my computer was that I put the document shortcut in the middle of my desktop (this works because I keep all of my folders around the outside of the desktop because I like to see the desktop background… the little Word document in the middle of my lovely picture drove me to insanity)
Another example would be a certain Seminary teacher that I know. This certain teacher is currently in the process of reading my NaNoWriMo 2010 monstrosity. Just to give you an idea of the scale of the procrastination; the book is roughly 175 pages long (with BIG words, so…)(this wouldn’t have cut it for a seventh grade book report) and it’s super easy to read (believe me, I know, I wrote it). This teacher has had this book since about the second half of April, about two and a half months. He is on page eleven. Of course, he is an adult with a job and a family (and religious duties) so I suppose he has a fairly good excuse (in other words, I’m not writing this in judgment, just trying to be helpful).
This teacher is probably intelligent to come up with his own way of doing things, but my suggestion would be: DO NOT LEAVE IT OVER ON THAT TABLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM. I’m sure that stack of books over there is a very important stack of books, but you aren’t going to remember to read it if it’s not somewhere you can see it (or reach it, for that matter). Like I did with my WIP, just start carrying it around with you. Even if you don’t have time for it, it’ll either drive you mad that you are carrying around that useless lump, or it’ll make you feel guilty that you haven’t gotten anywhere with it. One of two things will (probably) happen; one, you will get used to having it there and begin to ignore it (like I’ve begun to do with my open WIP Word document) or, two, you will finally get so fed up with having it there that you’ll just finish it in, like, an hour and then you can give it back and pretend that it never existed.
SO, anyway, if you have something that you should be doing or you want to be doing, but you can’t seem to get over your procrastinative <—(That’s not actually a word…) nature, make that thing a constant presence in your life and then maybe you’ll be able to get it done. Plus, making a book you have to read (or one you have to write) follow you around everywhere can be amusing… until it gets annoying, which is kind of the point.
In closing, I’m actually impressed with myself that I was actually able to write a blog post with getting off subject, so… that’s fun. Considering that I’m writing this blog post because I’m procrastinating writing my WIP, I think it turned out well.
P.S. Brother Mickelson,
I’m kidding. :P