After a long siege of procrastination in my writing life and my housekeeping life, I would like to offer up a technique that is working for me. Because I am doing so well with it, I decided to share it. Two of my friends and I have started what we call Procrastinator’s Club. My friends are not writers, but I am using this technique for my writing and for other procrastinating problems that plague me.
Recently retired from my day job, I did not expect writing my novel to be one of my problem areas. I had been so eager to have the time finally to work on it. However, I was finding that everything else was getting my attention and not my novel. So when the subject of the Procrastinators Club came up at one of our lunches, we decided to fight back against some of those inclinations to put things off. We are quite liberal with our rules. I hate rules so this aspect appeals to me.
We decided to make a list of seven or eight (or more or less, whatever we prefer) things that are problem areas. I chose for the top of my list to do daily writing, and for that writing to be mainly my novel, but also to write a daily poem. I have been writing daily but sometimes it is not my novel. However, now I am committed to the daily practice of writing. I have a number of poems written since I began, and I have done journal writing and novel writing.
Then to address my household chore procrastination habits, I chose a slips-of-paper-in-a-hat or basket technique. I read of this idea somewhere on the internet and made some variations of my own. I’m putting a particular job that I’ve been neglecting (or feel I might neglect) on a piece of paper with the solemn promise to myself that I will work on that project for at least a week for at least a few minutes per day. If the job is not completed at the end of a week and I decide to keep going until done, then I will do that. However, I have the option of drawing another job that I have put on another slip of paper. The number of slips is optional and individual. If not finished
with the job, I will put that one back in the basket to possibly pull out again. This approach is most appealing to those who like surprises and don’t particularly like routines. I fall into this category, which is probably why I am a procrastinator in the first place. Breaking up the jobs like this makes them seem less intimidating than deciding that I am going to deal with a big job all at once—a reason for procrastinating—the job seems overwhelming.
My first household chore drawn was cleaning my desk area—something that will help me also with my writing. A clear desk is a more inviting place to write. Other things I have on my list are weekly bill paying and organizing of financial papers.
Two things I have not yet tackled are exercising daily and recording calories on MyFitnessPal.com. These I will need to tend to. Developing the habit of not procrastinating in other areas may help me be successful in these as well.
My friends have opted for different choices for handling their lists. One of the main reasons our strategy should work for us is that we are planning to be accountable to one another. I will post future success (and failures) of our Procrastinators Club.