Monday, December 2, 2013

Procrastination Rehab

In the week since my last post, I’ve been doing my best to confront procrastination instead of letting procrastination tackle me. Some battles I’ve lost, but I like to think that, for the most part, I’ve come out on top. I’ve been paying attention to the habits that distract me TV, playing Candy Crush, social media, regularly checking internet news sites from what matters.

Here’s what I’ve learned …

The biggest challenge I face is summoning up the courage to turn off the TV. And that surprised me. After going almost five years without cable, I like having the TV on, for background noise, in the same way that I used to, many years ago, keep the radio on. But I don’t listen to the radio anymore, or the music stored in my iTunes library. The TV helps to block out the street noises, especially the honking horns, during the morning and evening rush hours. That’s how I rationalize it, anyway.

When I really want to concentrate in order to finish off a project that has dragged on and on, I pack everything I need my writing, dictionary, thesaurus, etc. into my black attaché and head to Spot, the neighbourhood coffee shop. That’s when I make progress, real progress. My concentration is solid,  working uninterrupted, and I end up feeling a lot better about myself, my writing and how I’ve spent my day.

Reviewing my goals on a daily basis, and seeing them written down in black and white, has made a huge difference. That has compelled me to, each morning, write a to-do list, and to set doable tasks that help to move my projects forward.

I wasn’t expecting to curb all of my bad habits in one week, but I did at least make some progress. There were times when I did manage to turn the TV off and good things happened. I completed, well ahead of the date I had set for myself, the read-through of a manuscript. I reviewed, and tweaked here and there, the accompanying short and long synopses. I started researching publishers and have, so far, made one submission (sent off this morning!). I also reviewed a short story, happy to see that the writing has held up well, and submitted it, too, for publication.

I finally sat down and sorted through the stack of photos I took while living in the Eastern Townships (Quebec), and made greeting cards that I will use to keep in touch with friends and family spread out across the country. I wrote out my 2013 Christmas cards. I ordered a couple of Christmas gifts. I started the rewrite of another novel-length manuscript that had been “resting” for over two years. Where I didn’t succeed was in meeting my goal to get out and run. I haven’t run in over a month, and getting back into that habit isn’t necessarily going to be easy, especially with the colder temperatures settling in. Maybe I’ll try instead going to the gym in my building.

Lord Chesterfield encouraged us to “Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” This is what I’m trying to do.


  1. Great to hear of your progress! Let us know how it goes.

  2. What a fantastic progress. Indeed we get distracted by things around us while we have more important work to do. I have been there and basically took the same steps you took. Albeit thyat I do not go to a cafe or coffee shop. I was working in my living room for years and finally gave myself time to create a study room in my home. No distracting TV, Radio or whatever. Just what I need for my work and that's it. It made it possible for me to finish a book in as little as a week after it was on the shelfs of my mind for months. If you are interested you can find it here: