Tag Archives: procrastination

Raising the Bar

Or as this post should be called “Raising the Bar until you trip on it and smack your face hard enough to break something.”

I don’t have writer’s block. I don’t actually believe in the concept. I have a different problem with getting words down on the page and I use the term “Raising the Bar” to describe it.

Raising the bar is the term for when you have a goal, but you put it out of reach to the point where you don’t even bother trying because you already know you can’t reach it and thus that 15th rerun of something you’ve seen seems like a safer use of your time.

Originally, I picked up this concept from “The Now Habit” by Dr. Neil Fiore, I think. The book is about combating procrastination, which is definitely an issue here.

Case in point, I need to write. However, my standard bar for productivity means I write 2k a day or more. However, with the level of stuff going on in my life, I haven’t managed to get even close to that in forever (figuratively, been about three months since I worked consistently).

In May, I should have finished Cities in Time.  On the 25th to be exact. For those keeping score at home, it is now the 2nd of July. I am approximately 65k into this book with no absolutely certain wordcount to finish and I haven’t written more than 5k a fortnight. This ranks on me really hard because I can and have written 5k a day at times. Compounds my problem by showing me I am capable of taking care of business but currently not getting it done. Failing my personal expectations only makes it harder for me to get started.

The first step in dealing with any problem is the awareness you have a problem. Problem: I need to finish writing this bloody book. Therefore, I need words on the page. The bar is currently at 2k a day. I have not reached this bar in some time. Therefore, the bar is too high. The bar needs to drop. Okay, so how far can I drop the bar and still feel like I’m getting somewhere?

Going back to the basics: forward motion is forward motion. Momentum can be built up over time, if things are consistent (or at least mostly consistent). Not going to shoot for 2k because I need some points on my side of the board. 500 words a day. 500 is doable but not intimidating.

Deep breath. Going for it.


Finding Fun to Avoid Procrastination

Raise your hand if you have a problem with procrastination. Uh yeah. Feels great to know I’m not alone, but also a little disheartening exactly how widespread this is. I caught an article by Jeff Goins regarding how to get the work done which outlined the use of negative consequences to get one to finish writing. This is a little different from what is normally touted as advice. If you look at it as carrot versus stick, we are constantly extorted to go for the carrot. Positive things will help us do more. Rewards are king. Except that doesn’t always work. In my personal experience, rewards do not seriously motivate me. I’m the kind of person who would rather just do without than work for something I don’t necessarily need and if I need it, it’s not a good reward. That makes rewarding me a problem. That eliminates the carrot.

By contrast, Jeff’s article pushes the stick method: pushing yourself forward with negative consequences. One of his consequences: giving up coffee. That just makes me quiver cause coffee. I am unfortunately not an adherent to the stick method either. Consequences capable of moving me forward would also cause me a great deal of anxiety making me less likely to do the work instead of goading me forward. So, no stick method.

Seeing the problems with this, I went looking for a third option on one of my writer Facebook groups and a fellow writer, Tallulah Lucy, stepped up to the challenge with this post, How I Beat Procrastination. She offers ideas on the underpinning of her procrastination and how to work around that. My favorite thing: Finding the FUN in the task you have to do. Writing is fun except when you have to. When I’m just poking around writing whatever, that’s not an issue. Unfortunately, I have goals and things to finish, meaning I need to consistently be moving toward some kind of resolution. A bit daunting when I think about it, exactly why I procrastinate.

Taking Tallulah’s advice, I’m looking for the fun in the work I’m doing.