Sunday, November 24, 2013

Surviving Procrastination

It is bitterly cold here in Toronto this morning, the type of cold where you can see your breath when you breathe. It’s -9°C outside (feels like -17°C), and even though the official start of winter is still weeks away, fall has graciously given way to winter.

And like the ground that begins to freeze, become solid and impenetrable due to the cold winter temperatures, I, too, am frozen. Actually, I’m caught (again) in a debilitating restlessness, and doing my best to break free.

I’ve been struggling lately to focus, to edge myself and my writing projects forward. I’ve let anything and everything — TV, my day job, the Rob Ford Saga, cleaning, cooking — distract me. And because of those “distractions,” my writing projects remained in limbo. I felt guilty and ashamed because, suddenly and unexpectedly, I became a master of procrastination. I didn’t know how to move forward. I didn’t know how to get back on the horse again.

Then, during my recent visit to Saskatoon, I was once again wasting time surfing the internet when I came across Dennis Crosby’s Becoming the 1%. A quick read with some helpful insights, I felt empowered again. I wanted to take back control, be more productive … finish something. So I decided to try, one more time, setting goals.

So I set a very specific goal with regard to a manuscript that I’ve been trying to read through for the past two months. My new goal? To complete the read-through of the manuscript by 31 December 2013. That seemed like a realistic (S.M.A.R.T.) goal since I only had eight chapters left to review. When I turned off the TV, stopped surfing the internet, left the apartment to write in a coffee shop — quieted my mind and set to work — something marvellous happened. My productivity shot up, and yesterday I completed the review of the manuscript, and made all the necessary corrections.

I’m trying to hang on to that momentum because finishing something oftentimes leads to a period where I feel stuck. How do I move forward? What’s next? Will I have the courage to take the necessary next step, especially when that next step is making submissions? Time will tell.

I’m working hard to create new habits, get back into a certain routine — to not let procrastination reign over me. I’m hopeful that goal-setting will help keep me focused, stay the course. All I can do is take it one day at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! I have to deal with the procrastination bug myself. You can do it!