Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Accomplishing Real Work

by Connie S. Hall

What causes procrastination and how do you cure it? You don’t, it’s impossible. You learn to procrastinate well.

You can work on (a) nothing, (b) something less important, or (c) something more important. Everyone develops their own unique combination of escape by doing something that isn’t a priority, or by making excuses. As a writer, you could put off working on small stuff to work on big things, or you could just do nothing.

What’s the best thing you can work on? Why aren’t you doing it? Maybe you should work on an ambitious project you really enjoy. Do you work on small stories rather than big ones because it’s easier? If you work on a story you can finish in a day or two you can expect to have a good feeling of accomplishment sooner than if you work on something that takes longer. Perhaps you procrastinate writing a novel because it can be terrifying. Have you ever started working on a story that was small and it grew bigger and bigger? That’s how most of my stories begin. I never start out thinking I’m writing a novel or I’d probably never start, I’d put it off.

Some days you will accomplish real work, and other days you will spend doing errands. That’s the way life is. Do you have days that you get work done, but it’s the wrong work? Unless you’re working on the most important thing you have going, you are procrastinating.

Good procrastination is avoiding errands that will go away or that someone else can do so you can do real work. Of course, there are things that get worse if you put them off. In that case, instead of procrastinating I guess you should do it now.

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