Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Thomas Jefferson
An avalanche has a lot of momentum, and releases a lot of energy. Dont be afraid, let it help you sweep your way to the realization of your dreams.
What does that mean?
This seemed like an appropriate saying to start things off with, as I am starting two full months behind schedule. I had initially planned for this blog to start at the first of the year, but kept putting it off. Now I know better. 8)
This quote is all about the present. Too many people (myself included) focus on the past or the future. We can lament the past, and plan for the future, but we can only get things done in the present, today. This quote urges us to actually do something today, instead of waiting until tomorrow to get it started.
Why is it important to not put things off?
Besides the obvious answer (it wont get done), it also creates a kind of momentum. Newtons First Law says that An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. So there is momentum in sloth, delaying, procrastinating and all the other euphemisms for the act of not doing.
The opposite is just as important. Avalanches start when just the tiniest of pebbles or snowflakes bumps into just the right spot. All that pent up potential energy is released, and gathers speed, strength and momentum. By putting off until tomorrow, you are robbing yourself of the mighty Mo (momentum).
But why would momentum, the presence or absence of, be important?
Tony Robbins has a saying that I try to live by, which is: never leave the site of a decision without taking action. Does that sound kind of like Thomas Jeffersons quote, even a little bit? What Tonys saying is trying to do is to get you to help yourself by taking a step, no matter how small, to start that momentum, to start your very own avalanche.
Where can I apply this in my life?
What have you been putting off in your life? A project to do, something to start doing, something to stop doing, some cleaning that is needed, some rearranging of schedule (or furniture), some habits that need to be modified, or? Choose one for now, you can go back and try this again later.
Can you find a way to break it into a couple different steps? Can you break one of the easier steps into a few chunks? Find the tiniest chunk, and do it! Put that object into motion, and feel the thrill, the expectation and, at times, the terror, of having started something. Then follow it up.
What I mean when I say follow it up is that one push (alone) wont get it done. As an avalanche needs gravity to constantly pull it, so your task will require your attention. Perhaps not as consistent as gravity, but, you will need to continue to take steps toward finishing the task.
Friction exists in the real world, and it tries to slow the avalanche. Your task will face a similar counter-force. It may be apathy, being too busy with other high priority tasks, distractions, fear of success (yes, that can happen). By keeping after it, even in small steps, you will eventually get there.
Whew. One a day, he says? This is going to be an interesting journey! Hope to see you tomorrow!
From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at: dfknj.wz.cz
Photo by jonathanb
Dont Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today
According to its psychological definition, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority tasks with those of lower priority, especially if the lower priority ones provide enjoyment. Writing can be stressful at times. Deadlines can loom overhead like giant alien spaceships. Generally, those lower priority tasks are things that you can do later or perhaps not at all.
Behind most procrastination problems lies abulia, the abnormal lack of the ability to act or make decisions. And theres no mistake that its a force you need to conquer. Knowing when, how, and why youre procrastinating is the first step toward improvement.
Just because you procrastinate doesnt mean that you dont have the motivation or willpower to complete a writing project. Perhaps the project is too big or maybe your skills arent developed enough to handle it. While you may be motivated to write a particular book, for example, you may not have the resources or knowledge to do so. This leads to putting it off as long as possible. Simply trying harder wont do it. You must understand what triggered you to procrastinate in the first place.
One of the biggest triggers for writers is the fear of rejection. Every writer, from novice to experienced professional harbors this fear at some time or another. Too prevent the fear of rejection from overwhelming you, the best thing to do is have several projects going at once. If one fails, youve got the others as backup. And who knows, the rejection of one you had hopes for may cause you to put more effort into another which may go on to be a bestseller. Lets face it. Not all writing projects are meant to be successful.
Other things that may cause you to procrastinate are distractions from your environment. Is your office cluttered with papers that need to be filed? Does your house need cleaning? Does your garden call out to you to be tended? All of these can keep you away from your work. To make sure you dont spend all your time on them, schedule each for specific times during the week. By doing a little each day of any of your chores, youll not only get them done but get your writing done, too.
Procrastination isnt a harmless little hang-up. Don't reward it. Sure, you need to take breaks once in a while, but dont take time to drink too many extra cups of coffee.
To conquer procrastination, define the stumbling blocks in your path. Then tackle them one at a time. Pick one specific area where procrastination plagues you and conquer it. By becoming aware of the problem, youre half way to solving it.
Learn to set priorities, then focus on one problem at a time (See my blog on priorities from two weeks ago.) If you try to tackle all your problems at once, you wont get anywhere. Set a goal to take care of the most severe one first.
Give yourself deadlines. Many writers work best when on deadline. The added stress of knowing a project is due by a certain date makes them work harder. But when they dont have a deadline, they find other more enjoyable things to do.
Don't duck the most difficult projects. Work on them but perhaps not as long as some of your others. By doing a particularly hard writing project a little at a time, it tends to make it seem easier. Another way of tackling this problem is to begin with an easier project, then switch to a hard one, followed by an easier one. Giving yourself a break between difficult projects makes doing them less stressful.
Don't let perfectionism paralyze you. Too many writers are perfectionists. Some continue to do edits and rewrites until they lose sight of the project as a whole. Know when to stop. Perhaps give yourself a limit on rewrites. Continually rewriting can sometimes make what would have been a good project a mediocre one.
To paraphrase an old saying, If you can't beat procrastination, make use of it. Perhaps the fact that youre procrastinating about a project means that your subconscious is holding you back from something youre not yet ready to do. This "something" may be only a segment of an article or short story for which youve written a good beginning, or it may be the approach to a better-paying market.
Dont neglect that little voice inside you thats saying "not yet." You just may not be ready.
You make good use of procrastination whenand only whenyoure able to find a better way to accomplish what you avoided by procrastinating. It can be a blessing in disguise, but it won't be unless you make it so.