When I Have More Time and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

Welcome to another Life List Friday!

Today, I’m thrilled to host fellow writer and procrastinator Sonia G. Medeiros, who shares some wonderful tips for keeping ourselves on track in spite of the roadblocks life and our own “I’ll get to that later” mindsets put in our path.

Please also be sure to visit me over at David Walker’s place, where I’ll be discussing the fun of “sticking our necks out.” For more of our Friday round robin, just click on anyone in my Life List blogroll over there in the sidebar!

And now … on to Sonia’s words of wisdom!

______________

How many times have you said the following things to yourself?

“I’ll start that diet…tomorrow.”

“I’ll take one of those writing classes after the holiday hubbub settles down.”

“I’ll try that Twitter thing when I’m not so busy at work.”

“I’ll lay my plans for world domination when the kids get a little older and don’t need me so much.”

“I’ll start/finish writing my novel when I have more time.”

If you’re like me, the count is somewhere around…well, you figured you’d count it up later and then forgot.

I know, I know. You have 542,367,895,129 to do in a day.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jameson42/4209575299/

Adding one more thing, especially if it’s not for your day job or your home or your family, feels like it might just bring everything crashing down.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mallix/319488312/

So we tell ourselves we’ll do it when we have just a little more time. But that’s a big fat LIE. Say it with me, “Liar liar pants on fire.” Because there will never be a little more time. And, if there is just a smidge more time, something else will come along and fill it up.

You know it’s true.

And day after day sneaks past us like ninja kittens until we are left looking back at a long span of years, scratching our heads and wondering how all that time went by without us pursuing our passions.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwl/4678498113/

Believe me, I know how it goes. I’m Queen of Later.

Bow down before me, all you procrastinators, or feel my wrath. Mwahahahaha. Um, what? Oh…really? Ok. Sorry. Back to the topic…

Seriously though, procrastination is one of my biggest weaknesses. Email piles up until my inbox is begging for mercy. Laundry piles up until we’re desperately washing tiny loads just to have underwear and jeans to wear. My exercise machine grows a fur coat of dust, my reading list grows and my outline languishes.

It’s so easy to put stuff off, especially if it has to do with writing. And especially when the writing gets hard. I tell myself I’ll just do it later. I promise this time.

But since we all know there probably won’t be a later or a little more time, we have to carve out time right now. Because the demon Procrastinator lurks around every corner and behind every dust bunny.

But, um, how do we go about this exactly? How do we smite the evil Procrastinator?

Here’s some things that work for me:

  • Make a list of goals and pick some folks to keep you accountable – Life List Club and ROW80 are awesome ways to put your goals out there and find a cheering/keep-you-in-line section.
  • Start small – If the big goal make you feel like you’re standing at the bottom of Mt Everest, try making tiny daily or weekly goals. It’s easy to build on them and develop a sense of trust in yourself. I’m all about the baby steps. But, if you’re motivated by big goals, set big goals to challenge yourself.
  • Get up early – I am so not a morning person. But, if I don’t wake up at least an hour before everyone else in the house gets up, it’s a huge challenge to get any writing done. Or you could stay up really late instead.
  • Schedule reminders on your phone – Schedule daily writing times and program your phone’s calendar to remind you twice. Really pester yourself.
  • Plan, plan, plan and list – It’s weird, I love to make lists but I used to hate making a daily schedule or an outline. I wanted to be spontaneous with my creative work and just go with the flow…except the flow usually led to nothing much getting done. So now I plan and plot and list. Plus, it’s fun to tick everything off my list.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding and taking joy in every step.
  • Leave yourself notes everywhere reminding you of your goals and cheering yourself on.
  • Cut back on time-sucks – There’s almost always more play in our daily schedules than we realize. We putter around, watch tv, surf the net, etc. At least some of those things can go so we have more time to pursue our dreams.
  • Give yourself permission to take a break – It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Cut back on your goal schedule or take a break. Just be sure to set specific goals for those cutback and breaks too so the goals don’t get abandoned.

So, even though it’s still a bit of a struggle for me, I’m learning to work around my wicked procrastinating ways. And, by all that is caffeinated, I will get my novel written (and the email read, the laundry done, the weight lost…)!

Do you put off your dreams? Procrastinate on your goals? How do you conquer that procrastination?

________

Sonia G Medeiros is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She’s the author of more than a dozen short stories and flash fiction pieces, blogs at WordPress, and is working on her first novel, a dark fantasy. When she’s not wandering along the tangled paths of her wild imagination, she wrangles home life with one fabulous husband, two amazing, homeschooled children, three dogs, one frog and two cats who battle each other for world domination.

Sonia’s Blog: Doing the Write Thing
Sonia on Facebook:  http://facebook.com/SoniaGMedeiros
Sonia on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SoniaGMedeiros

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About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Goal-Setting, The Life List Club, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to When I Have More Time and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

  1. L.S. Engler says:

    Oooh, great guest post, Sonia! Lately, I’ve been incredibly proud of my ability to conquer my Procrastination Monster; I know RoW80 was a huge help in getting me armed and ready for the fight, too. Now, I’ve put my writing at the forefront of everything else I do, and I couldn’t be happier…or more productive! A lot of your tips here are some of the ones I’ve employed; the morning one is especially effective. I usually reserve between two or three hours just for writing stuff in the mornings now. It helps that I have a job that usually doesn’t require me until the afternoon, and when I need to be there in the morning, it screws things up a little, but now I’ve got the flexibility to make sure it gets done when I get home.

    It’s amazing what can happen once you dedicate yourself to refusing to procrastinate and just get stuff done!

    • That’s fantastic! The getting up early definitely is a biggie for me. Having a dedicated couple of hours when the house is quiet makes all the difference. It’s encouraging to hear that someone else dusted the Procrastination Monster. It’s a toughie. 😀

  2. Jennie B says:

    Great Post Sonia! I think your list is really helpful, especially the one about taking a break. If we push ourselves too hard we can get overwhelmed and feel as if we will never get to the place we want to be! On different note, your lego examples ROCK!

    • Thanks! Giving myself permission to skip a day here and there makes a huge difference too. Sometimes it’s just knowing I could skip a day if I wanted to that keeps me going instead. I’ve been having so much fun finding lego pics on Flickr. I hadn’t planned for it to be a theme for this post, but there were just so many that I loved.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I agree, Jennie. Sonia’s lego examples TOTALLY rock : ).

  3. I nipped my procrastination bud when I decided to indie-publish. Knowing it all fell on me, made me want to meet the challange of getting it done.
    BTW, loved the leggos. My grandson has so many of those pesky little vaccuum cloggers, he could build his own house.

    • I’m strongly leaning towards indie-publishing too. It’s exciting to hear that the challenge of getting it done motivated you. The more I learn about the process, the more excited I get. As for the legos, I love ’em too. I loved to build whole cities when I was a kid. They didn’t have all the fancy figure they do now. My kiddos are just getting interested in them. Boy, I’d totally forgotten how much it hurt to step on a lego. 😀

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Diana, I bet indie publishing is just the kick one needs to stay focused and on target. I’m still a total novice when it comes to the publishing side of things and there’s SO much to learn and do. I get overwhelmed with just all the info out there, so I know that if I move in that direction I’ll definitely need to be scheduled and follow my to-do lists faithfully!

      • There is a lot of info out there. I’m kinda glad I’m still in the information gather stage with regards to publishing because it’s still a little overwhelming. It’s wonderful to know folks that have done it all before though.

  4. Pam, thank you so much for hosting me. 😀

    • hawleywood40 says:

      It is a pleasure, Sonia! I love this post – it definitely spoke to one of the monsters under my bed. Procrastination and my inner slacker often get together and make me waste way too many hours!

  5. Pingback: Fear Not by Marcia Richards | Sonia G Medeiros

  6. Sonia, I especially agree with your point about starting small. Writing a novel can seem like a daunting task, but if we break it up into a series of smaller goals, then it becomes much more manageable. Thanks for sharing! My No. 1 cure for procrastination is to go to a local coffee shop for a few hours. Then I’m not distracted by tv or dirty dishes and I can really make some progress on my goals.

    • Spending a little time at the coffee shop is an excellent idea. I did that last night for the first time in a long time and it really helped rejuvenate me. And the baby steps definitely keep me from freaking out too easily (which I feel like I always do *blush*). 😀

  7. Marcia says:

    I Love the legos, Sonia! They were perfect to fit with your post! The Mama of Baby Steps! It’s a great reminder of several things–do something, anything to get started; look at small chunks of the task at a time; make a list. I do these things and it does help. i give myself a maximum of 3 tasks besides writing on my novel each day. If, after i’ve written as many words in my novel as I can, I still have time left over, I’ll move on to another task or read or just relax with my hubby–that’s my treat. I do procrastinate when my novel gets hard to write, but that’s when I go back to my outline hoping to get a spark again. Great post, Sonia!

    • Seems like all our posts really centered around fear/procrastination. Love getting all the different perspectives. I like the idea of setting just 3 more tasks besides writing, then taking the leftover time to relax. Sometimes I forget to just chill out.

      • hawleywood40 says:

        My weekday tasks are “The 3 W’s – “work, work out, write.” My challenge has been accepting that 1 hour workout + 1 hour to get ready and get to work + 8-10 hour workday + 1 hour writing daily is already a long day, so if there are dishes in the sink or unfolded laundry, the world is NOT going to end : ).

  8. Stacy Green says:

    Sonia,
    I am a huge procrastinator so your post rally resonates with me. I’m alway searching for ways to get motivated, especially since Grace is at school and I actually have MORE time. I thought getting things done would be so easy once that happened, but no … I’m been floundering. Thanks for the great tips!

    • It’s funny, sometimes when we’re busy we get more done because we know for sure there’s not going to be any time for “later.” As much as I hate schedules, they really do make a difference for me. Otherwise I can end up thinking I have more free time than I really do. 😀

      • hawleywood40 says:

        I completely agree – I hate schedules in principle because I like the freedom to be spontaneous and do what I want to do when I want to do it, but without a schedule “what I want to do” very easily turns into hanging out in my hammock with a book all day : ).

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I’ve always heard that it is actually easier for many people to get things done when they have LESS time – because they’re more likely to stick to a strict schedule. I like to think if I had more time I’d be much further along, but I know me well enough to think I’d probably flounder too.

      • Yep, when I just go with the flow…not much gets done. I think I probably do get more done when I feel like I have less time. Just as long as I’m not feeling too pressured. Seems to a fine balance. 😀

  9. Thank you for hosting Sonia’s article, Pamela. And thank you, Sonia, for sharing your personal battles with Procrastination. Take heart in knowing that you are not alone. It’s a plague and I’m definitely stricken. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I guess we’re all on our way to recovery! (That’s the good news.) Thanks for the tips also, I’m going back right now to read them again.

  10. Jenny Hansen says:

    Sonia,

    These pictures are AWESOME! Yep, there never will be enough time. I struggle with it, as do most writers. The only thing that is helping me these days is to really engage my husband in the process and follow his example of trying to do “that one thing” NOW so it doesn’t pile on to the ToDo list and defeat me. 🙂

  11. I lived with procrastinators all my life, until recently. The guy I’m with now makes ME look like a procrastinator! I just wanted to share a funny quip I made about my son, who could rival any procrastinator (if we could wake himself up in time to be in the contest. I said, “You ought to start a school club, ‘Procrastinator’s Monthly.'” He replied, “Nah, we’d probably only meet once a year.”

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Love it! I use the excuse that I have to be so scheduled and organized at work that I can’t do it at home too. But honestly, I think if I didn’t have to work, I would STILL procastinate at home. “Have to write 1,000 words and clean the kitchen today … oh wait, look, there’s a bird in the sky!” : ).

    • LOL. The meetings would always be “next month.” 😀 Seems like my children fortunately did not inherit my procrastinator tendencies. They always want to do everything “right now.” 😀

  12. kvennarad says:

    I make a list every day of the stuff I really need to do. That kills some time! 😀

    M
    __________
    Marie Marshall
    writer/poet/editor/blogger
    Scotland
    http://mairibheag.com
    http://kvennarad.wordpress.com

  13. Jess Witkins says:

    I can’t agree enough with the get up early comment. It is so crucial to when I am successful, and I must admit I’m off to a poor start this week. I needed this post, Sonia. Thank you! Need to get my butt in gear, and up earlier.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I wish I had more early mornings to devote to writing, but I’m still giving them to the gym. I WILL try to write at other hours, but for whatever reason will NOT try to work out later (crowds in the gym, tired from work, wah wah wah : )) so that’s the way it has to be. Still, I totally agree that the get up early thing really helps you achieve whatever it is you’re working on – those extra hours that usually come with a little peace and quiet because the rest of the world is snoozin’ really help!

      • It makes a huge difference for me. It’s challenging when I’m tired though. And I hear you on the exercise. Sometimes it feels like there’s just not enough time to get it all done. I guess eventually we find our rhythm. I hope. 😀

  14. Pingback: When I Have More Time and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves « Sonia G Medeiros

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