I've been known to do a little of each. I also have a knack for dancing around a project in creative ways, such as feeling the sudden need to vacuum my keyboard, alphabetize the canned goods in my pantry, or polish the rear-view mirror in my car. It's funny how these things need to be done when a deadline looms, isn't it?
This "Deadline Crunch Syndrome" is something that frustrates me, for I prefer to be organized and on top of things. I hate when things are nagging at me and I'm feeling pressed, and much of it is due to my procrastination tactics. Having about had it up to here with my silly self in recent months, I've been paying closer attention to what helps me jump the deadline hurdles. Here are my findings:
1) Shut off the internet. It's way too tempting to hop over to Facebook or check your email, isn't it? I often find it best to close all internet windows. The online world will be there when I get back. As my seven year old nephew would say, "For real."
2) Minimize the interruption potential. It helps to turn the ringer off on the phone (cell and land line). I get any pressing items done before I sit down to write. Lunch? Check. Bills out to the mailbox? Check. Email to an editor? Check.
3) Assemble necessary resources. I make sure pen, paper, files, books, and other sources are handy and within arm's reach.
4) Hit the desk equipped with appropriate refreshment. It's a given. I will get thirsty. And hungry, no matter what kind of meal I just had. My favorite beverage is slightly sweetened iced tea. Pretzels are nice too. Oh, and chocolate of course. Just in case you wanted to know.
5) Sow discipline. I like to encourage myself that I am building good habits by sowing self control and perseverance. I'm expecting to reap big in this department. :)
6) Set small goals. Sometimes a project seems overwhelming, so I break it into segments. One page, seven hundred words, one chapter, feedback to three students...or whatever. It makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. It helps build confidence and the motivation to move forward.
7) Dangle the carrot. This ties in with number 6. If I get a certain amount done, then I allow myself a break, or check email, have some extra chocolate, or go buy a new Ford Mustang. Yeah, okay, so the latter happens if I get a really big book contract. Which, you know, could totally happen someday. (You are my friends - remember this and don't laugh too hard, for when you want to get a Ford Mustang I will back you up.)
8) Get input. Sometimes this means sending an email to a writing buddy and asking for their thoughts on a project. I'm also open to ideas, like the ones found in Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen's post, Five Tips for Getting Things Done Before the Deadline.
Do you have any deadlines looming? What helps you avoid the Deadline Crunch Syndrome? What's the craziest thing you ever did in your procrastination process?
Have a great week!
Image credit : http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1224529