Battles of the Mind: Dealing With Procrastination

As a freelance writer, and self-starter there are times I find myself overwhelmed by the writing tasks I have to perform.

Feeling overwhelmed with tasks can often leave us discouraged, dampen our drive and momentum, and prevent us from working towards our goals. It becomes all too easy to avoid doing the work and seek comfort in the seductive haven of YouTube and social media. In these moments of weakness, it is good practice to stop, assess our frame of mind, and combat the thoughts that keep us at risk of becoming jaded.

The following are practical action steps that have helped me to overcome such challenges!

Revisit Your “Why?”

This is something I like to do frequently. Remember why you started to write in the first place. What motivated you? What goals are you working towards? Write these down, and refer to them in times of need. These reminders can help you to keep sight of the bigger picture, and determine your focus.

Bitesize Your Workload

Sometimes the work can seem daunting when there’s a lot to complete, to the extent that we put off starting it altogether. To tackle this issue, I set myself a timer for 20 minutes and write what I can, taking a 10-minute break immediately afterwards. I then repeat this cycle on a loop. If you increase the working time by 5 mins every round, you’ll soon find yourself well into the task. I find that this exercise really gets me into the flow of working, but more importantly, it helps me to START the work. Getting started is often the biggest hurdle, and breaking weighty tasks into manageable, bitesize, time-chunks can be an effective way to overcome it.

Talk About It

Speaking to people who share your vision, whether friends or family members, can be an encouraging and even cathartic practice. People who understand the stresses of your field of work can offer helpful advice and even encourage you. In moments of need, take some time to speak to like-minded individuals, or friends who support the work you are doing, to give you that boost of confidence.

Change Your Outlook

Try to see your work as something you GET to do instead of something you HAVE to do. I find that recognising a task as an opportunity, rather than a requirement, allows me to approach it with verve. Despite the struggles, I remember that “this is me working towards my future, getting to pursue my passions and make a career for myself”. I acknowledge that the moment of struggle is simply a moment, but more importantly I get to experience it and be better for it. I recently read a post that said “thoughts are the seedlings of realities”. On this basis, if our thoughts and our outlook towards life’s challenges are negative, what reality are they likely to manifest?

Pray

Personally, speaking to God about my challenges is a reminder that I am not fighting my battles alone. Just taking 10 minutes to ask God for help and guidance, or for strength to deal with the negative thoughts and distractions as they come, can do wonders!

I sincerely hope that something in this post has resonated with you, reader. If so, what are some of the tools you use to tackle procrastination?

~JJ

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