Resolution #1 – overcome procrastination

I said that I was going to try a different approach at writing resolutions this year, and I will, but I also want to jot down the big ones…again…in this fashion if nothing else than as a reminder to myself that I started out this year wanting to change some things about myself… 😛

Anyways, procrastination has always ruled my life in a big, bad way – some of it attributed to being lazy, some of it likely attributed to just plain being afraid, and some of it I think just comes from sheer frustration / being overwhelmed / too much on my plate at any given time / etc, etc, etc… I know it’s a problem that I have, and here’s a perfectly good example of it: This past weekend was supposed to be a 5-day weekend for me, free from work and thus allowing plenty of time to work on all of my stray projects, build websites, write, and so forth. But that’s not how I spent the time … instead I spent 4 of those 5 days struggling with a deadline that had actually already passed before my vacation even started because I just couldn’t get it in gear.

And it’s tough for me because sometimes I feel like I fall back on the “creative process” too much – I know I cite to Sara a lot that I can’t just turn on my creativity like a faucet, and in a lot of senses that’s completely true. I have to be in a very particular state of mind to be a productive writer and when all of those planets are aligned, I’m golden and I can really get a lot accomplished. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen often enough and more likely than not, I’ll stare at the same empty Word document for twenty minutes before I finally try to go do something else with hopes of “stirring up the creativity,” and then I get sidetracked and just do that other thing instead. In this case, it ruined my weekend because I spent each of those days dreading my articles for not getting them done, wondering when my boss was going to start harassing me for being so far past deadline, and basically not having any fun because I wasn’t making any progress with the job.

Now mind you, even if this is part procrastination, part writer’s block, it’s still a roadblock that needs to be overcome because one of these days I would like the opportunity to write professional – full time – and that’s never going to happen if I can’t get my butt in gear. Life is too chaotic to say that I can only ever write when I’m in the perfect mood and the ideas are flowing and there’s nothing wrong with the world. Perhaps it’s a type of work ethic that could be adjusted, too – I don’t know and I’m really open to suggestions at this point.

Is it as simple as deciding that I need to direct my complete and undivided attention to whichever article I currently have in front of me, or do I have to allow at least a little leeway there just because some of that side-stepping has lead to other ideas and concepts in the past? Between TV and the Internet, there are an awful lot of distractions around me at any given time and I know that I have a bad habit of refreshing Digg or YouTube when I should be focusing on writing, but a good deal of writing is the brainstorming, too. I don’t think that I can really altogether limit the amount of projects that I’m working on at a given time any more than I already have because the volume itself should be reasonable … if I would just do the work and be done with it! And then of course there’s also the issue with trying to get caught up with my material for where I’ll write consistently for a week or so, then take two weeks off and completely blow any headway that I just gained. It’s a vicious cycle…

So maybe there’s more to this spiel than just procrastination, but ultimately I still think that a good deal of my problems lie in time management and putting things off until the last minute, so one of the things that I need to do better in 2007 is learn how to schedule my time and then also ensure that I make the most of that time by getting done what I’ve scheduled by the end of my period. If it makes sense to set aside an hour a night for writing (shouldn’t be too hard), then I need to see X number of columns come out of each of those 1-hour periods … even with only 1 column a night, that’s pretty close to the weekly number that I’m shooting for right now, so it’s do-able. Now to just stay focused!!!

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