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Writers Block? Overcome Procrastination Now
Overcoming procrastination is possible! I’m a total procrastinator, yet, I have published five books, written TED talks for myself, and others, and run my home-based business where I’ve developed an online speaker and comedy workshop.
And further more, I got this blog done!
You’re probably thinking that, “That doesn’t sound like a procrastinator.” You want proof of what a nut job I am?
Here’s a video of a day in the life of a writer (me) struggling to write a new speech where I keep looking for ideas in the refrigerator which has the same stuff in it as it had in it when I looked 5 minutes ago. Squirrel!
Why Do People Procrastinate?
According to Oregon State University, there are Six Reason why people procrastinate.
#1 “But I Don’t Know How”
When I was teaching standup, so many comics didn’t do any advance work because if they didn’t get laughs, they could cop-out by saying, “I didn’t work on this.” Nobody likes to feel dumb. In my comedy and speaking webinars, the attendees who do their homework and put themselves out there, get better. Just ask past comedy student, Seth Rogen.
#2 “This Stuff Is Just Plain Boring”
I was complaining about all the boring database work I have to do to promote my new book “The Message of You Journal” to my buddy film director, Cathryn Michon. Meanwhile, Cathryn commiserated because although, she got to write, starred in and direct her movie “Muffin Top: A Love Story,” rather than spending her time drinking Champagne from a crystal Tiffany flute, she spent her time re-linking audio files, color correcting, and searching for corrupt pixels. As she said, “People don’t realize that 90% of having a dream job is boring, grueling, grunge work.” Take our dreams… please!
#3 “I Don’t Feel Like Doing It”
If you want until you’re motivated to do something, you’re going to die waiting for that burst of inspiration. Getting tasks done is like married sex: you make an appointment, start doing it even when you don’t feel like it, and then your both surprise yourself that things got rolling.
#4 “But What If I Can’t Cut It?”
Fear of failure is another reason people procrastinate. I remember when I was teaching comedy, that there was a student whose cell phone went off right before it was his turn to go onstage. He would shout, “My wife has an emergency!” But, the third time, his wife gave birth within a month, we were on to him. In my online Comedy Workshop, generally, the people who show up are the ones who succeed.
#5 “You Can’t Make Me”
Many times, my internal voice sounds like my mother saying, “Do your homework, NOW!” And my rebellious reaction, “NO!” We baby boomers were the protesting generation. I can just see us in Assisted Living being pushed to the bathroom going, “Hell no; we won’t go!” Oh look, you already went… in your pants.
Here’s the thing, if you are a procrastinator, there are workarounds to overcoming procrastination:
As in all first steps, you have to admit that you are a procrastinator. If your first thought right now is, I’ll admit this “later” rather than, “Now,” you are a procrastinator. I remember listening to Jane Fonda interview in the ’80s where she called herself “Lazy.” Mind you, at the time she was a movie star, teaching workout classes, raising a family, as well as putting out exercise DVD series. Once you admit it, then you can accept fixes.
Turn to a power greater than yourself – an APP! Yes, there is an app for that and here are some good time management tools. According to LifeHacker.com here are the Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools
HIRE A BOSS
So now, even though, you have a list of time management tools, if you are like me, you “Dismiss” those annoying reminders on your iPhone telling you to do something. So, hire a boss viaTaskRabbit .I tried hiring a Virtual assistant and that was a disaster. So, when I was writing a book, I hired someone whose sole job it was to sit next to me on the couch and not allow me to get up and wake me up when I fell asleep. That book is “The Comedy Bible” and has sold more than 500,000 copies.
I know, this is a weird tip. Avoid procrastination by procrastinating. Yesterday, I was beating myself up because I couldn’t get anything done. So, I just got out of the house, walked my dogs on Venice Beach, had some frozen Yoghurt, went shopping, and had a lovely cocktail. And the next day, I got stuff done, as I wrote this blog. Sometimes, you have to give yourself space to let your brain relax. Beating yourself up is never a way to overcome procrastination.
The good news is that you’re not alone. There are millions of us avoiding stuff and many of us are successful. We all need help and that’s why I created the ultimate Stop Procrastination tool, The Message of You Website where we can all empower each other and overcome procrastination.