The Procrastination Project

Help!  I have a little problem.  I’ve had it most of my life and have tried I know how to overcome it.  I’ve read books, I’ve listened to gurus, I’ve created workarounds.  I’ve made excuses, I’ve made deals with myself, I’ve even tried bribery.  I’ve organized my life, my work and my time and have become an avowed goal fiend.  And it still has me by the throat!  proc clock

So I’m here to confess.  I’m a procrastination addict and I need help!  

Seriously- my mother is now sending me emails with medical findings on how not getting enough sleep leads to a myriad of diseases, I’ve taken to writing my monthly goals and to-do list in pencil because it is less discouraging to erase things than to see all those scribbles through everything I don’t get to.   And I have 3 more contracted books to write this year, 2 indies and a single title proposal due asap.  I have an active teenager who deserves my attention, a closet full of jeans that only fit if I exercise and three dogs who like to play.  All good reasons to be on track, right?  

proc hurry

And yet, I’m not getting things done.  I justify some of it -I can’t write until all of the marketing/promotion work is finished. Writing blog posts, social networking, website maintenance, it does take up a lot of time.  The industry is changing so fast and I have to learn what’s what if I’m going to keep up, don’t I? And yes, the linen closet was an embarrassment when my sister-in-law grabbed a towel, but that doesn’t mean i had to rearrange and reorganize it all instead of doing the marketing in the afternoon, necessitating marketing instead of writing at night.  Does it?  My friends justify some of it, too.  Burnout, overwork, taking on too much all take their toll, as our own Vrai Anna reminds me 😀   

proc quote

But here’s the thing… I make my deadlines.  It might exhaust and stress me out in the process, but I meet my commitments.  And as long as I felt like I was doing something ‘productive’ I  was happy to accept all of those excuses. For awhile.  But reality is reality -if I’m going to get those books out and live a happy life, I have to get a grip on this thing!  So I figured who better to ask than the smart, savvy Bandita Buddies 😉 

Tell me, do you procrastinate?  Have you found a cure, or do you have any tips or hints on how to overcome this?! Favorite procrastination quotes?  Or do you have any idea where I can find an extra three or four hours a day? I need them!  

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27 Comments

  • Helen says:

    Is he coming to my place?

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Helen says:

    Tawny

    I try very hard to get the things done that I have to in a certain time but otherwise I just do what needs to be done when I can I am very good at putting things of but eventually I need to get them done LOL sorry I don’t have any advise for you I think you are awesome that you get all the things done that you do I could never keep up like that I have to have me time the thing I stress about most is getting the books read that I have on my TBR pile I have so many I want to read now but never have the time 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Good advice, Helen. Sounds like you know how to take care of yourself and balance your life!

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Helen, you have such an inspiring handle on your life 😀

      I almost feel guilty about wanting to add so much to your stress by writing tons more books to put in that TBR pile, though LOL

      • Helen says:

        Tawny

        You keep writing I do love your stories 🙂 when I retire I should have a lot more time LOL

        Have Fun
        Helen

  • Amy Conley says:

    Tawny,
    I procrastinate about some things, like mopping the kitchen floor. I just tell myself no one is coming over, so what difference does it make what my kitchen floor looks like. Other things, I have to do and get done in a certain order, or they don’t get done. Case in point, my laundry. It must all be washed, dried, folded/hung-up. and put away ASAP, otherwise it ends up sitting the the basket and it drives me NUTS! One of the ways I helped myself actually do this was when my kids were little. I did kids laundry on one day, and my and my hubby’s laundry another day. As they got older, they had to do their own laundry and they could pick whatever day they wanted to do it, but it could not be Saturday. because that was when I did our laundry. I taught myself washing, drying, folding and putting away all on the same day as each load finished was the easiest and fastest way for me to get it done and out of the way. And it did not drive me crazy! One time hubby yelled at our boys for not putting their clean laundry away and I stepped in and told hubby (in front of the boys), he had no right to say anything about them putting their laundry away since if (and when) he did laundry, it would just sit in the basket, unfolded. I was the only one allowed to complain about clothes not being put away in a timely matter. Needless to say hubby came around to my way of thinking and my boys are in their mid-30’s, both divorced, but they put their laundry away ASAP. 🙂
    Other house cleaning type things I really don’t have a problem letting go, usually because I am doing something with or for my mil, grandkids, and right now I am away from home spending time with my Auntie, whom we’ve just found out is very ill. My motto about housecleaning is “it will always be there, the kids (or other family members will not and they come first. I imagine writing would have to be a bit different,but I’d still put it about housecleaning. Kids and family, when possible, should come first, then your writing, and last but not least the house. Like I said, it’s not going anywhere.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      LOL Amy 😀 I love how solidly you’ve got the laundry chore down! I’ll admit, I’m pretty lax there. I do laundry a couple of times a month, fold it all or lay it out to deter wrinkles, then let everyone put their own away. Mine tends to take the longest to get put away, though 🙂

      But for the most part, housework is my excuse not to do the things I should be doing, and something that I’m really good at ignoring when I’m on track and writing well 😀 Nobody else in the house cares if its done, or rather knows that if they care they can do it themselves, which they do if I’m deep in the deadline cave.

      Sending you big hugs and hopes that your Auntie is better soon!!!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Amy, I’m lol at your comment because I’m a classic laundry in the basket dudette. I figure as long as I have enough underwear to put on from the drawers, I can put off folding. It’s such a mindless job that I always like to have a show to watch while I’m doing it. So I’d rather have 10 loads to fold and put away!

    • Tawny Weber says:

      LOL my problem is between my love of clothes and apathy toward laundry, it’s always a challenge on the day it’s all clean to get everything in the drawers, or find enough hangers!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Tawny, sweetie, sweetie, sweetie. Clearly you’re NOT a procrastinator, but a TAKE ON TOO MUCH STUFF-ER!

    Everyone’s different about stuff they HAVE to do, but I’d definitely leave in anything health related (exercise and healthy food prep) and OUTSOURCE what you don’t really want to do.

    Girl — hire somebody to clean your house for you! If I could I’d hire someone to cook cause I hate that part of my day.

    And mom’s right — too much stuff will take years off your life. Trust me.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      🙁

      I know, Jo. I did have a pretty good handle on it until publishing shifted like it did – now I feel as if I’m trying to learn and add in an entirely new career, while still maintaining the one I had.

      I am getting back to regular exercise. I’d let that slide over the holidays and when I started back to my workout regime in January I ended up in the hospital, so I’ve been pretty lax on getting back to it. But like you say, it’s important. And I have so much more energy and feel better when I do 🙂

      I hire some stuff out, but clearly not enough 😀 I love the idea of someone ELSE cleaning house! Thats a cool thought 😀 thank you!!

  • Hi Tawny! I had to laugh at you doing the linen cupboard instead of writing. I’ve been known to clean the toilet to avoid writing! True story.

    The only deadline/procrastination quote I know is on a coffee mug and it’s probably not going to help. It’s from Douglas Adams who wrote The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

    Did that help? No, I don’t think so.

    The other thing is I think we all give ourselves a hard time about what we’re NOT doing rather than what we do. From the outside, I think you’re amazing and I wish I was half as productive as you are!

    • Tawny Weber says:

      ROFL Anna 😀 I believe you!!

      I tend to do ‘reorganize’ projects when the writing is stuck -somehow it makes me feel like I’ve fixed something LOL. It is rare that I fall to toilet cleaning as avoidance, but it’s happened once or twice.

      OMG I love that quote! But at the same time whenever I read it I get a sick feeling in my stomach, like Noooooooo, don’t whoosh by!

      😉 it helped in that it made me laugh, thank you!

      I think you are so right about what stresses us out, and that might be what I’m doing -or rather as Jo said, I’ve added so much to what I was doing that I’m not doing anything, just avoiding it all.

      You are so sweet, btw! big hugs and thank you 😉

  • Tawny, I so feel your pain! I do procrastinate and always have. If I had any tips for cutting it down, I would gladly share, but I don’t.

    If I can make myself sit at the computer with a timer set for half an hour–you know, the bit about not letting yourself touch anything but your WIP–then I can usually write something. But I’m really good at putting off that sit-down.

    I’d like to point out that despite procrastinating, you get an awful lot done. HOW many books have you released in the last 12 months? If I read your website right, it’s about 12, or one a month. So I think you’re doing pretty well despite delaying.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      At least I’m in good company, Nancy 😀 thanks!!

      As luck would have it, I followed this link via an email I received this afternoon -it sounds like you’re on the right track! http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-increase-your-productivity-by-working-less

      I’m going to try this! I might start with 30 mins instead of 45 just to get the groove going, but who knows, if I segment the day… well, then I’ll be so over organized I might go crazy LOL, but at least I’d get stuff done. Maybe.

      Hmm, 12? I’ve gotta count now 😀 5 with Harlequin last year, 2 so far this year, 4 indies and 2 bundles. But the two bundles included 2 of those 4 indies, so thats not like writing a new book.

      Thanks! Thats a nice reminder that I need to get back on the production train LOL.

  • catslady says:

    I do procrastinate – there is always the hope that something will just disappear and you may not have to do it lol. And the only way I do get some things finished is less sleep so I’m afraid I’m no help at all!

    • Tawny Weber says:

      LOL I hear ya on hoping things would just go away. I think that all the time. But, like you, end up using sleep time to get it all done instead.

  • Wait a minute. Your getting back to your workout routine didn’t land you in the hospital, Miss Tawny…wasn’t it something little, like a useless appendix? **says the nurse with one eyebrow lifted**

    As for procrastinating. I do it in spurts. Take writing for instance. I write a while, then I “take a break” to play on social media or a computer game. Then I come back to the writing for a while.

    Laundry…uhm, yes. I put it off until I get complaints from the Jazzman or I need towels.

    Exercise…I have no excuse. Sigh.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      ROFL Suz, I knew you’d get me on that one! I know the two had nothing to do with each other- but somehow, in my head, exercise in January and the hospital will always be stuck together 😀

      When I’m on track writing (which means after I’ve conquered the dreaded first chapter) I work in a similar way -30 mins writing, then a break, rinse repeat until the goal is met for the day. Right now, though, I’m procrastinating my day away so my writing time ends up being used for marketing stuff 🙁

      LOL that exercise thing is easy to procrastinate on!!

  • Becke says:

    Tawny,
    I’m not a procrastinator. However, I believe some of us are and some are not. That’s your make-up. That said, we can and do compensate.

    I also firmly believe we all do exactly what we want. It may not be for the right reasons, but we have the power to make that choice.

    You make the choice to meet your deadlines and based on your success, it’s paid off for you. So….CELEBRATE!!!!!!!!!!

    JMHO.
    b

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Awww, Becke! Thanks!!

      I think you’re right, everyone is disposed to specific behaviors. I just want to figure out ways to overcome or, like you said, compensate for the ones that are getting in my way *g*

      I have this dream of being organized, unstressed and on time. I keep putting off celebrating until that dream somehow miraculously comes true. Bad me.

  • Shannon says:

    I procrastinate at home. Work tends to be slow, so I glom on to any project. Doing something there makes the hours go by. The only thing at work I’ve really procrastinated on is IT stuff. I need to get on the CPO computer system. I need to get PKIs for other systems. Etc. Computers are my friend, computers are my friend…

    But in my personal life, I do procrastinate. My current solution is routine. Saturdays I do laundry–wash, dry, and fold. That way I have clothes on Monday. Sunday’s is preparing food for the next week and selected cleaning projects. I make a prioritized to do list of five to seven things. Then I set an alarm clock–30 minutes reading/30 minutes of cleaning. The five-to-seven list is never enough to my mind but it is what does get done. Without the list or the time, I”m like there’s a book that needs reading…And then no cleaning at all.

    I have a friend who reminds me all the time–I am enough, I have enough, and I do enough.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      😀 Shannon my husband recites the same thing to me all the time: “The computer is your friend.” Frienemy is more like it, so I totally understand.

      WOW!!! Your weekend sounds so fabulously organized. I love your list and timer plan. That would be fun, too. I’m going to try it.

      I love your friend’s reminder, too! It sounds like wise advice to remember 😀

  • Mozette says:

    Tell me, do you procrastinate? Have you found a cure, or do you have any tips or hints on how to overcome this?! Favorite procrastination quotes? Or do you have any idea where I can find an extra three or four hours a day? I need them!

    Ah-ha! You’ve found the Queen of Procrastination in my family! Honestly you have… next to my mother and late-Uncle Allan, I’m the next one along. I have had so many half-finished and quarter-finished projects sitting around my house, my folks wonder how I actually live without falling over my own shoelaces because I might forgo tying them up in the morning… really they do.

    But, a few years ago – around 6 years ago now – I decided to do something about myself and my half-finished projects. This had a lot to do with my Happyness Project and finding my Happyness. I started looking at my half-finished projects and one by one picking them up and completing them. Even if it was just gluing a tiny piece of nothing together, well, it completed that project and I could move on (and even it meant giving that piece away eventually). Bit by bit, I found I had completed projects all around me, my house felt better, I felt better.

    Now, I have completed projects everywhere and it’s great! Okay, here’s a list of completed projects:

    My front and back gardens
    Cleaning out my kitchen
    Sorting out my book collection – every 6 months
    Starting up Crafty Pegs
    Doing the Creative Markets
    Cleaning out my house – now this one is ongoing, but I’m still working at it.

    So, I’m going well… I’m also doing out my wardrobe every year or so and learning to cook a new dish every year or so from scratch.

    So, I’ve gone from the Queen of Procrastination to the the Princess of Doing Things… yeah, it takes a while to get your butt into gear, but once you do, you become a woman with a purpose! You bounce out of bed in the morning looking like your on a mission! And you almost begin quoting ‘The Blues Brothers’… then it starts to get funny! 😛

    • Tawny Weber says:

      WOW Mozette!!! You’re an inspiration! I’m blown away by all of that -it sounds like you really did find Happyness!

      I’m going to have to mull on this, because I hadn’t even factored in all of my unfinished projects in my procrastination worries 😀 I love your plan, and the awesome results!! Congratulations.