Man, I’ve been feeling behind with NaBloPoMo!
A good friend came to visit this weekend, and he’s leaving tomorrow, so I’ve been wanting to spend time with him instead of writing. I first started out feeling strict with myself, “I must write! I must get this done tonight!” But then I realized that’s silly — life happens. If I’m behind, then I’m behind. I’m the one setting this schedule, no one else. And I mean, when a friend visits, of course you make time for them!
But I don’t like to slack because I don’t want it to become a habit. “I don’t have to write today,” becomes far too common of an occurrence otherwise. But I think I’m consistent enough to make time for my friend.
So I did: yesterday evening, instead of writing a post for this morning, I joined him and G in watching a movie.
And now I’m writing this post late, but at least I hung out with my friend, right? At least I did life things. And it’s not like I skipped today either. I’m still doing it.
Looks like NaBloPoMo has already taught me something.
Life is just as important as committing to this blog. This blog is part of my life. Yes, I want to commit, and yes, I want to be consistent. But little blips here and there are fine.
The thing is, the hardest part of getting stuff done for me is definitely finding the energy to begin. I’m not too bad at procrastinating, but if I had to tell you one thing I struggle with, that would be it. Finding the time to get work done is a challenge as well, but once I sit down I still end up wasting time perusing the internet in all the wrong places. There are just so many interesting things to do!
But when I’m finally done, that sense of achievement is amazing. Another thing to check off my list! I make really crazy lists all over my planner — yes, I still use a planner — just so that I can feel good about myself when I cross things off. (Oh, yes. I’m that person.)
If you’re like me and find that the hardest part about getting shit done is actually sitting down to get started, you’re in the right place! Though I’m definitely not the best person for getting to work right away, here are some of the things I do to help me get productive.
1. Try AntiSocial. If you find you procrastinate by immediately going to social media, this is for you. It’s a $15 program that blocks websites of your choice for a time period also of your choice. I discovered it a few years ago and swore by it during university. It was a great way of making myself focus on that paper without distractions. It’s not as easy if you’re a blogger, because social media is often part of your work, but you should look into it! There are also free alternatives like Cold Turkey (which I wish I’d found sooner).
2. Snack. Start every work session with a snack — this helps set a routine, and gets your brain working (if it’s healthy!). In university, I always got a cup of tea ready, and that always puts me into work mode even now. You could try crackers, or carrots and dip if you don’t like tea, or maybe a cup of coffee. Make sure you do it every time to get that routine in your subconscious! Eventually, you’ll set that snack down at your desk and be mentally ready to get to work without even having to think about it.
3. Reward yourself with breaks. Knowing something good is coming helps me get started because not only will I feel productive, but can anticipate the feeling of accomplishment when an hour (or half an hour) is up! It’s like getting the “Great work!” sticker from your teacher in elementary school. I find that doing an hour of work and then giving myself a 15-minute break works for me, but figure out what works best for you. Some people swear by the 30-10 rule, with 30 minutes doing work and 10 taking a break to do something else, no more.
But by breaks, I don’t mean watching Netflix — that’s not going to end well. Six seconds to decide whether or not to let it keep going to the next episode is a trap! Do things you’ve been putting off like the laundry, the dishes, making lunch… going to the bathroom, even. Or get out of the house and go for a quick walk! Do anything for a short time to get your mind off work. It clears your mind and gets you re-energized and ready to work productively again.
4. Read. This may seem like a weird one, but especially for work that involves writing, this works really well! Read absolutely anything — blogs, magazines, books, random online articles — anything! Reading new information gives me ideas and motivates me to get shit done. Just make sure to set a timer, as with anything else before you decide to get work. Otherwise, you’ll never stop
5. Declutter. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it’s too true to ignore. I recently reorganized my workspace, and it makes me want to do work there because it’s so pretty! I have my orange document tray, a couple small bins for pens, a pencil case, and a desk lamp. That’s it. (At least my mess is hidden in the document tray.. it doesn’t distract me!) Seriously, though: having a clean workspace does wonders to motivate you and keep you focused.
6. Trick yourself. If none of these work, try working for just five minutes without distractions. Set AnitSocial or Cold Turkey for five minutes, and just go. This can usually be enough time to get me to actually feel like doing what I need to do.
Am I missing anything? What motivates you to get to work?
Is there something you think I should write, or a topic I should write on? Head to my contact page and send me your suggestions, or fill out the poll below!
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