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  • Hannah Reed

How to stop procrastinating when writing?

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

Procrastinating is normal, but when it becomes a detriment to your success and happiness you need to find a way to limit your time spent procrastinating.

For me learning to stop procrastinating is an ongoing process but the first hurdle was learning that I was a procrastinator.


Practical steps to stop procrastinating:

1. Realise you're procrastinating and hold yourself accountable.

It's very easy to justify procrastinating, 'Oh I'm just doing research' or 'Well done me, I've done 10 minutes of work I can read the news now' or 'It's only for five minutes'. Your first step to stopping procrastinating is noticing when you're doing it.

2. Find out why your procrastinating

When you procrastinate take note of why you're doing it. Is it because you aren't focused on what you're doing or is it because you aren't sure where to start. If you know why you start procrastinating it will make it a lot easier for you to stop procrastinating.

3. Make a plan before you write

Often writers procrastinate because they sit down to write without a plan. Before you start typing or put pen to paper think about what you want to achieve in that writing session. Having a goal will make it easier for you to focus on the task at hand.

4. Allot time for procrastination

If you're a serial procrastinator designate time in your writing schedule to procrastinate. Be realistic - will you need a break every 20 minutes? If so schedule a break, but make sure it isn't for too long!

5. Give yourself deadlines and tell them to other people

There is conflicting evidence about telling other people your deadlines, but for procrastinators it holds you accountable to someone else other than yourself. Forcing you to work and not procrastinate.

6. Don't be too hard on yourself

Everyone procrastinates. Sometimes you aren't in the mood to write and you shouldn't try to force it. Give yourself a break and come back to your notebook or laptop when your mind is ready.

7. Track your progress

Rewarding yourself for sitting down and writing and not procrastinating creates a positive mental and emotional space for you to write. Instead of punishing the procrastination reward the writing and soon that will win out.

I hope my top tips to help you stop procrastinating while writing aid you on your writing journey.


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