When I was asked to write a 2,000-word history essay for my architecture degree, I waited to the last week to act. I decided to set all my other tasks aside so I could wholly focus on the essay. I locked myself in my room, and yet for the first six days I only wrote 100 words each day. My piano and guitar improved loads and I saw a lot of good movies but this was not what I had been planning. It was only when the stress of a deadline and the possible retake of the module reached breaking point on the last day that I managed to complete the last 1,400 words. What this showed me is that it is possible but I wish that I was motivated by something other than stress.
I bought a book called 52 Steps To Defeating Procrastination. I’ve still never read it – it was over 10 years ago, and I’m not even sure where it is now.
When we first got married, my wife brought home a whiteboard on which we could list the jobs that needed to be done. About a year later it disappeared. Just before our silver wedding anniversary, I found the whiteboard in our garage. There were about 20 jobs on it. None of them had been done – and most of them still needed to be done.
Whilst writing my dissertation at Bournemouth University earlier this year, I entered the race to become president of our Students Union. I had no real intention of ever winning and no interest in the job at all. I went on to campaign for a whole week just before my deadline. Overall I spent approximately four days writing my dissertation. Coincidentally I have to re-submit one of my essays before I can graduate, this is due in tomorrow and I am nowhere near done.
( all of the above stories are taken from https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19396204)
As you can see, you are not alone. I am guilty of procrastination too. Majorly!
Many of us are guilty of pushing off tasks that we do not want to do. In fact, procrastination is a common problem among newbie and professional writers alike. But what most people don’t know is that when you’re making progress with things you have to do, you get a boost in your happiness levels. This is because the release of dopamine, which makes you feel good.
According to research conducted by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, this “happy chemical” can make it easier for you to be productive in your daily life. It can even motivate you to tackle more of the tasks that you have been delaying for a long time.
It does not matter whether you are in a stretch of hot streaks, or whether your progress is slow — use that downtime to look back at what you have achieved and feel proud of yourself.
One way to do so is to write down your accomplishments in a journal. This will not only help motivate you but will also help you build up your self-esteem.
If you have a task that looks too big and overwhelming, start breaking it down into smaller goals. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks, break it down into losing 2 lbs per week for 14 weeks. Finishing a book is similar.
One bite at a time.