World enough and time.

Life is short and distractions are many. Had we but world enough and time, this would not matter, but we don’t; life is short and we nave neither world enough nor time. But procrastination is difficult to avoid. And yes, there are numerous studies into the benefit of small doses of procrastination, or procrastination by other names; however, like anything, and especially like any vice, procrastination in large doses can be the difference between success and failure.

I, like many other people who write, have faced writers block. But not the abstract, Shining-esque, concentrating and can’t write sense, but the very real, ‘I’m distracted by all the things around me that are far more engaging than doing the work of writing’ sense. And writing is work, I whole heatedly believe that creativity is not a mythic, muse-given skill, but a simple work ethic (in fact, I have this poster above my writing desk). And because it’s work is why it’s often so difficult to get to work.

Over time I’ve found that the best way to beat procrastination is to give into it, and then find a routine. Before you get to work, take an hour or two or three and watch all the YouTube videos you want, clean all your dishes, make your bed, give into your procrastination in one fell swoop, and then sit down. This is where the routine comes in, after you’ve gotten the procrastination out of your system, fall into a routine of work. This is how I was able to write a 65,000 word novel in three weeks, by having a routine and sticking to it like it was my job.

My routine was simple and effective for me. I’d get up at 8, make a pot of coffee, eat a little, and then write until the coffee ran out, then I’d make another fresh pot and write until dinner, then I’d write again until midnight and sleep until the next day of writing. Because I had a routine, this was one less thing I had to worry about, because I almost always wear the same thing (I have a drawer of black, pocket t-shirts), this is one less thing I have to worry about. Having less unimportant things to think about and having a routine have been scientifically shown to help free the brain throughout the day to be more creative and make better decisions.

There’s no secret to success, but there are a lot of things successful people do in common, and one of these things is having set routines that help them preform at their best, and having very strong and deliberate work ethics. But another thing they have in common is knowing when to take breaks, procrastinate, have fun, and the get right back to work.

-T

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4 thoughts on “World enough and time.”

  1. And even if you do the those other things to free your mind, the internet is right there just a click away on your keyboard. One minute you’re looking something up as research, and the next you’re down the rabbit hole on a message board for local ambulance drivers.

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  2. Great advice! I have also found it super effective to give in to my procrastination rather than forcing myself to attempt to get work done when my mind is elsewhere. As for establishing a routine, I agree that having one enhances productivity but am not yet ready to join the ranks of you, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg in wearing the same outfit everyday although it’s tempting (thinking of what to wear every morning is such a hassle).

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