Creating in Flow

The world of creativity—with a twist of rationality

5 Tips for Postponing Procrastination

Get to the heart of why you're not doing your heart's work.

Make time stand still
I hate it when I'm not doing what I know and feel I ought/want/need to be doing. What I want to do is write, make progress on my novel. No one else is telling me to do this. In fact, I don't believe anyone really cares if I do this or spend my time on something more "practical," or on nothing in particular at all.

But I care.

Here, then, are a few ways to think about what might be holding you back from whatever it is you sense is meaningful in your life. Once you recognize what your particular obstacles are, you can begin to move forward in spite of them.

1. Figure out your fears. Do you fear the tedium that's a natural part of any project? Are you experiencing the unsettledness of not knowing exactly how to do what you want to do? Is it someone's (or your own) judgment you fear?

2. Ditch perfectionism. There's no such thing. You have to put in the time and practice until you're about as good as you can be.

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3. Form a committee. Part of you wants to do this thing, whatever it is. Part of you fears it, hates it, doesn't see the point of continuing to make the effort. Perhaps another part of you insists there are other ways to go about it that you haven't tried yet. Get your selves together in a kind of committee and thrash out all the details and options. Don't invite your doom-saying perfectionist self.

4. Accept your need for extrinsic limits. Freedom is liberating, but sometimes we need some sort of deadline or specific goal to give ourselves a push. Find a way to structure your time that feels like a real deadline, even when you're the one and only boss of you.

5. Decide if it's worth doing. Bottom line, is this what you want to do? Are your expectations at least a little bit realistic? Improving your skills is realistic, writing a bestseller may not be if you're new at writing. Will doing this thing allow you to have some balance in your life, and, if not, does that matter to you? How much do you want to do it?

Copyright (c) 2012 by Susan K. Perry

 

Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and author. Her current focus is on the creative aspects of rationality and atheism.

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