This post was written by TCCS member, Sarah-Joy Pierce
How to beat procrastination at its own game
Who doesn’t love the start of a new job? You’re excited, you have a clear outline and structure, and you’re practically bursting with creativity.
But after for a few hours the excitement starts to wane (along with your creativity), and cleaning the bathroom seems far more exciting than sitting in front of the screen.
As a creative entrepreneur, I often find myself with limited time to ‘be creative’ and finish the work for a client. When I’m on a roll, I’m great. But when those wheels of progress stop… well, let’s just say they sometimes need a bit of a push.
Unfortunately, I don’t always have the luxury of getting up and walking away from my laptop. So how do I keep up the momentum? Here’s my seven-step process.
1. Blog about how to get your creativity going again
Ha! Just kidding, although it’s exactly what I’m doing right now.
If you’ve been sitting and staring at a blank screen, do something different for 15 minutes. Bonus points if it’s something you’ve been putting off for a while, such as blogging.
Knocking something off your five-minute to-do list can give your brain the reward it needs to switch gears and get the creativity flowing again.
2. Make terrible puns about your subject until your brains kick back into gear.
Some subjects lend themselves more to this than others. Notable examples from my client list include a business that sells and services air compressors. (Oh, those puns just breeze through).
This works better when you’re a ‘words’ person. But if you’re reading this blog then chances are that words are your thing.
Think laterally for a while, and it might help you infuse your writing with some much-needed creativity.
3. Do some online shopping
If you ask my husband (or my bookkeeper), I probably use this method to get my creativity flowing a little too often. But I find that a quick browse and ‘Add to Cart’ session can often put me in the right frame of mind.
And it doesn’t take long to calculate exactly how many more hours I need to work to pay for my new shoes—a great way to boost my motivation.
4. Get up and get moving
Real exercise (i.e. something that involves more than your fingers dancing over the keyboard) is a great distraction. It’s good for you, gets your blood flowing, and lets you tick off your ‘physical activity’ goal for the day. Even if it’s just doing walking lunges down the hallway, or a squat for every word you’ve written so far, exercise is never a bad choice.
It’s also great if you tend to eat as a distraction.
Instead of walking to the fridge, walk around the block. Your waistline will thank you, and if you take your furry friend with you they’ll thank you too.
5. Move locations
If you’re really stuck, try working somewhere else. That’s the beauty of the digital nomad life—you can simply pick up your computer and relocate. I often work in coffee shops, although I must admit I find some more inspiring than others. (The more hipster, the better.)
Tip: Make sure you take your laptop charger in case productivity strikes just as you run out of battery. Or maybe it only happens to me.
6. People watch
Depending on your location (I find coffee shops much better for this than my lounge room), look up from the screen and observe the world for a while.
Let your mind wander as you contemplate why that toddler is crying, or how the cute dog came by its current owners. A spot of people watching (especially in the sunshine) never fails to re-inspire me.
Alright, so you’ve tried the previous six steps and none of them have worked. It may be time to Just Freaking Do It and start writing. It doesn’t matter if you come back and delete everything later, at least you’ll have made a start.
If the blank page is too much to handle, flash back to Step 3 and grab a template from the Copy Shop to give yourself a structure to work with.
You can’t procrastinate forever, even if you’ve successfully written a blog about it. There are jobs to finish and bills to pay. But there’s also lots of fun to be had, so get back to it.
Over to you: What’s your best technique for beating the curse of the blank page and re-igniting your creativity?
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Sarah-Joy brings a smile and a sense of fun to everything she does…hence the name Joyful Communications. Sarah-Joy is based in Regional Queensland and works with business and industry, focusing on public relations, copywriting and editorial.