Procrastination is a problem for writers and just about everybody else. Let’s look at a method that can help you manage it—I call it the Lesser of Two Evils strategy.
Let’s say the dreaded task is getting all of your financial documents together for your accountant. You’ve been putting it off for days, just shifting it from one to-do list to the next.
Also on your to-do list are tasks you don’t mind doing or that you think can be done more quickly, so naturally you gravitate toward doing those. My favorite excuse is that “I’ll just get these out of the way, and then I’ll do the dreaded task.”
Guess what? Often by the time those are out of the way, there’s no time left to do the dreaded task. Oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow for sure!
With the Lesser of Two Evils strategy, you add something to the list that you’d like to do even less than the one you’ve been dodging.
For instance, although I dislike having to go through piles of paper to find all the relevant tax documents, one thing I dislike even more is cleaning the shower and the bathroom. So I put those two tasks at the top of my list. My deal with myself is if I do one of them, I won’t have to do the other today.
I’ll choose getting the documents together and breathe a sigh of relief that at least I don’t have to clean the shower and bathroom today.
Of course at some point you will come up against a task for which you can’t think of anything worse that needs to be done. In that case, make a deal with yourself that when you have done that task you will take the rest of the day off, or will give yourself a reward of some kind that evening, like going to a movie or a music event or a dinner at your favorite restaurant.(For lots of tips on creative time management, get my book, "Focus: Use the Power of Targeted Thinking to Get More Done," published by Pearson and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)