I’ve been frittering, frittering away the time I set aside for writing. Not only have I been frittering it away, but I’ve been putting one of my vices in its place.
This is a dangerous time of the year. Not only is it Halloween, heralded in grocery stores and drug stores by rows upon rows of sacks of “fun-sized” Snickers and other character-busting candy, but in my family we celebrate a couple of birthdays in October. That means cake and ice cream. And house guests. And food.
Eating those Fun-Sized Snickers becomes yet another way to procrastinate on my writing projects. Once I give in to all of that Halloween candy and birthday treats, I get into more trouble by slowing down on exercise.
I’m going to say that you also have these issues and sometimes procrastinate on writing your dissertation. So, here’s what I think:
1. It is dangerous to let food/sugar become yet another way to procrastinate.
Like doing busy work, eating can be substituted for writing and other productive activity. When I’m munching and loving that taste of nuts and chocolate, it feels as if I’m doing something important. And I can once again put off writing– for 5 minutes or for however long I can distract myself.
2. It is dangerous to stop exercising, even for a few days.
There seems to be a slippery slope once I give in to Fun-Sized Snickers. I find excuses to stop exercising and eating escalates. Once the structures I have in place start to fall, like the time I usually give to exercise, I can’t seem to find the time to write.
3. It is dangerous to have negative goals.
It is true that I don’t want to give myself any excuses to slip and slide into the bad old patterns. But researchers tell us that positive goals are easier to achieve.
4. It is dangerous to go on auto-pilot.
When I’m particularly busy in preparation for an event or working for others, I need to find an early-morning quiet time to take care of me. I need to remind myself what is important.
• I will choose how I’ll make writing a priority (write early).
• Exercise is critical. Even if I have company, even if I have a birthday, even if it’s Halloween (or Thanksgiving, yikes!), I will exercise. Exercise helps me focus, prioritize, and lowers my stress level. If I exercise, I don’t slip down as easily into squishy self-deception/self-sabotage.
How about you? I’d love to hear how you manage procrastination.
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Until next time,