5 Ideas for More Productive Procrastination

We’ve all been there. That story you KNEW would practically write itself has taken a sabbatical, the blog post you need to get done today is playing dead, you’re tired, bored,  insert excuse here. Out of nowhere, Procrastination arrives to save  waste the day.

As writers, we’re taught to feel bad if we procrastinate. After all, procrastination keeps us from creating those precious words, and isn’t that what we’re here for? Yet somehow, it keeps happening. What’s a writer to do?

I’m so glad you asked! What would you say if I told you to embrace your procrastination urges? Yes, I said embrace. Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to make that face?

Next time you can’t bring yourself to write, instead of playing one more round of Words  with Friends, or losing yourself in StumbleUpon or Pinterest, make your procrastination count. Here are five ways to make procrastination productive.

1. Play with your thesaurus. In Therese Walsh’s post “A Study in Opposites” on Writer Unboxed, she presents an exercise in word choices that can benefit any story by creating a strong sense of contrast. If your work has stalled out, pull out your thesaurus and give her method a try. If nothing else, playing with the words may spawn new ideas for you to work on.

2.  Catch up on office work. If there’s one single way to get my muse to stop contemplating her navel in a corner, it’s giving her some little bit of drudgery to tackle. That pile of papers in need of shredding? Check! Balancing the work checkbook? Got it covered! Archiving old files and making a computer backup? Sending out invoices, updating contact lists, planning next week’s calendar, tweaking the resumé or online portfolio? You betcha. You’ll get to procrastinate AND take care of necessary tasks. Win-win.

3. Learn something that will help your business. You might learn to add a facebook badge to your blog, or how to create a fan page. Maybe you’ll finally take the time to study up on marketing tips, or view a tutorial on how to capture great photos to include with your articles.

4. Read for inspiration and research. When the writing machine in your head breaks down, try turning on the reading one. Do you need to collect facts for a future article or story? Need ideas for your next blog post? Use your procrastination time to read blogs, magazines, and websites related to your topic. As an added bonus, you may run across that perfect nugget of information that makes you want to start writing again.

5. Email yourself a list of exciting future projects. Just because you don’t want to write today doesn’t mean you won’t want to tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Use your downtime to brainstorm a list of future projects you’d love to tackle. Think of these projects as motivation to finish up what’s on your plate today so you can get to the shiny new ideas.

Bonus: 6. Make a list of other ways you can turn procrastination into productivity. You never know, it might end up in a blog post like this one.


2 comments on “5 Ideas for More Productive Procrastination

  1. These are going to be very helpful when I get home from work tonight. I’d also just like to add to the list in case it helps anyone else: listening to music and attempting to do nothing but sit andlisten to the music usually gets my brain firing and after about fifteen minutes I’m jazzed to start writing everything I thought up.

  2. I agree. The right music can definitely set a mood for writing.

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