I am extremely good at procrastination. I used to thrive on working right up to a deadline. When going on holiday I’ll leave my packing to the evening before or even the morning we leave sometimes. Writing is no different. As the second draft of Portals passes the halfway point I am becoming aware of how much needs to be fixed. Some characters need to be introduced earlier, to allow you the reader to see how awesome they are and to be cross when I place them in peril later on. (Sorry for the spoiler there but Portals will involve characters being placed in peril.) This list is not complete, and won’t be until I finish draft two and go through it with a fine tooth comb, trying to make sure that all the right bits are in the right order. If I have less than five hundred changes to make I’ll be happy. Once those changes are made then I’ll check it again and send it off to my editor, unless there is another long list of things to fix.
The scale of this task is threatening to overwhelm me at the moment as is my huge pile of ironing and filing my husband’s tax return. So as a true procrastinator I decided to procrastinate by writing about procrastinating here.
1 Play games.
I love playing games, always have and always will. But playing games is not great for my productivity. Especially when those games take the form of addictive mini games like Candy Crush or 2048. My most recent nemesis has been a game called Hexic, requiring you to move different coloured hexagonal shapes to solve puzzles. In the past the solitaire or free cell have been damaging to my productivity. I tell myself that I’ll only play one game, just to clear my mind when stuck on a plot point. This one game then turns into many games and before I know it my kids need picking up from school and I have written nothing.
The only solution is to delete dangerous time sucking games.
Please note that board games or games that require involvement or proper investment in time don’t fall into this category. I enjoy playing these games, Dark Souls 2 and Mario Kart 8 are currently in favour at my house.
When I have big tasks to complete, (not including my huge ironing pile) my house becomes cleaner. The children’s finger marks on the wall have to be cleaned off NOW. It can’t wait another moment. I also work better in a clean house, clear surfaces allow my mind no space for distraction. My mind can be easily distracted.
But this can be part of the solution too, as I will put on a timer and do fifteen minutes of writing and then fifteen minutes of housework. Timers work well as long as I use them correctly and don’t get sucked into the trap of ‘just a little bit more’.
3 Netflicks and on demand programs.
Normally my husband and I will watch TV together in the evening around nine. The earlier part of the evening is taken up with him playing Dark Souls 2 and me writing my book. But there are some programs he doesn’t like to watch. Grey’s Anatomy or CSI. I save these up and watch them while ironing. The danger comes when I start watching one before the ironing is set up. Or even worse try to work while watching TV. A recipe for disaster, although I try to keep this to social media stuff. Before I know it the day has disappeared and the kids need picking up from school.
The secret here is to make sure that the ironing board is set up before I start watching, thus ensuring that at least the ironing gets done.
4 Facebook, Twitter and Google+
I love social media. I am active on the three mentioned above to some degree. I love the fact that I can interact and learn things while on the way to work in the mornings or while watching TV in the evening. But when I’m meant to be working on something else then social media is not a good thing. It consumes my time and reduces the quality time I can spend playing with my children or writing.
My solution is to set my self specific tasks that have to be completed before I can play on social media sites. Another solution is to automate things whenever possible. Every month I search the web looking for interesting pictures that I can use on my Facebook page. I have tried to theme my days which makes the process easier. Cats on Saturday, inspirational posts on Monday etc.
Have you been enjoying my Facebook posts? Anything you want to see more or less of?
5 Reading books.
This isn’t really a true procrastination activity but rather an activity I wish I had more time for. But I have to be strict with myself or I get consumed by a book, staying up all night to read just one more chapter. At school I used to get in trouble for reading underneath the table, at university several lectures were missed because of reading fiction books, David Eddings was particularly dangerous. Now authors such as RJ Blain or A.C Smyth have written books that have consumed my attention for days at a time.
I now have to ration my reading of good books for safe moments when housework doesn’t need to be done or children don’t need feeding.
These are my ways to procrastinate, what are yours?