Category Archives: Exercises

Stop procrastinating on… self publishing tips #1

Stop procrastinating on… starting

Now that I have a book on Amazon, I have to learn more about self-publishing. How to do it in a way that works? There are tons of information out there, so I need to find a way to get started on it. Since starting is a key problem for many people who procrastinate, I’ve developed a simple tool to help with that process. It consists of three simple steps. I’ll share these first, and then apply them to my own example.

A simple tool to help you get started

    1. Finish this sentence: I want to start…
    2. Think of three concrete things you could do to start it.
    3.  For all three things, ask your self:
      – Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
      – How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
      – Does it actually contribute to what I want to start?

Example: How to start learning about self-publishing

1. Finish this sentence: I want to start…

I want to start learning about self publishing.

2. Think of three concrete things you could do to start it.

A) Read a book.
B) Watch YouTube clips.
C) Join relevant Facebook groups.
D) Listen to podcasts (I know, that’s number four, but hey, why not?)

3. For all three things, ask yourself:

– Does this combine with who I am and how I work?
– How likely am I to procrastinate on this one (and why)?
– Does it actually contribute to what I want to start?

A) Read a book
  • It combines with who I am. I like reading, and I like to be thorough.
  • Oops. I’ll know I’ll spend too much time finding the Best Book. Maybe that’s not procrastination, but it certainly is time consuming. And not very rewarding. I like to be efficient, so maybe this is not my best option.
  • It would contribute, but too slowly. That doesn’t stimulate me. So I’ll probably end up procrastinating anyway.
B) Watch YouTube
  • Does that combine with me? Mwah. I’m not a big fan of watching YouTube to gather information. It seems fast, but it’s often not in-depth enough for me. Also: too much talking that isn’t relevant, which exhausts my head.
  • Definitely a procrastination risk. There’s SO much on YouTube, how to choose? Also, I like my learning with less distractions, so I’d not be looking forward to doing it.
  • It would contribute, I expects tips that you can apply straight away. Maybe I’ll watch some, but it shouldn’t be my main strategy for learning.
C) Join relevant Facebook groups
  • That combines with how I work for sure. I spend time on Facebook and I like it there. I know it’s easy to find groups, and if I don’t like some it’s easy to leave. Efficient.
  • A very low procrastination risk for me. Once I’ve joined, information will pop up in my feed, in small chunks. So I’ll easily get an overview of which topics are discussed, and which ones might be relevant for me. It will function as a constant reminder that I want to learn more about this. And contact with others stimulates me.
  • It will contribute, IF I take the next steps and dive deeper into some of the relevant subjects.
D) Listen to pod casts
  • I don’t know yet how much that suits me. When there’s too much irrelevant talking I find it time and energy consuming.
  • The procrastination risk is not too bad. I’ll know I can listen to some when I’m doing a task that doesn’t require my full attention, so I can try some out without feeling I lose time.
  • It would contribute; I expect relevant information with enough depth.
    I ended up doing a combination of these. Facebook groups turned out to be a quick and consistent starting point for me. I’ve found my favourite one called Self Publishing Made Simple. It brings me learning, practical tips, accountability, and the feeling to be in it together.

I have found a YouTube favourite, some pod casts I like listening to, and an e-book that’s very helpful. I’ll share them in later posts, this one is long enough already 🙂 If you have any favourites, please let me know in the comments. There’s SO much to learn that I expect it will stay a regular topic for me in 2020.

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Challenge: can you take five?

What I’m asking of you is at least 5 minutes of your time -for as many days in a row as you dare to promise.

What do you seriously procrastinate on?

Think of a wish or task that’s always there… That always should be done, but that never gets done. At least not the way it deserves to be done. If you’ve been working with the Pomodoro technique or frogs: you’re probably looking for something that’s worse than a frog, and you didn’t even consider to put on your Pomodori list. Or it was the thing that never got done even though you used those techniques.

It may be an Unfinished Art Project, the Worst Administrative Chore of all times, that closet you can never get out of because you don’t even want to look into it, contacting that long lost friend or family member, something you think is too big to work on.If you join this experiment, you promise to work on this BIG thing at least five minutes a day. You’re allowed to do more, not to do less.

Create accountability

1) Share your THING here with words or a picture.
2) Name your punishment (what you’ll do when you skip a day).
3) Tell us the amount of days that you will do this experiment.
4) Add how you’ll reward yourself if you do reach your planned amount of dates.
5) Smile!

(I’ve copied this exercise from my productivity group on Facebook. You can join the group and post your answers there if you prefer some more privacy than this public space. If you want to post here, search for the reply button at the top of this post.)

By the way: I wasn’t planning on blogging the exercise, but the first responses on Facebook were so wonderful that I wanted to spread this idea further and wider. You can also do this with a friend or family member as accountability partner. Have fun, and have results!

Discover when you procrastinate, and why

Create a procrastination jar (or box, or piggy bank, something that looks nice).

Every time you procrastinate, you write down the reason for it as soon as you realise it. Add the time, and the activity you should be working on. Put the piece of paper in the jar.

After a week, sit down and look at your notes. Can you discern a pattern? Maybe the time of day, or specific activities. Analyse what you see, and get ready for week 2.

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In week 2 you do the same, but you add another layer. You write down what’s going on in your mind, and what’s going on in your body. For example thoughts, like ‘I don’t exactly know how I’m supposed to do this’. Or sensations in your body, like being tired or feeling in need of some fresh air.

After a week, sit down and look at your notes. Can you discern a pattern? Analyse which types of thoughts lead to procrastination. Or the ignoring of which messages from your body.

Don’t forget to share your experiences here! Shedding light on these habits weakens them…

This exercise has been inspired by a post by Dimitrina Kaneva, who wrote about it very elegantly and illustrated it beautifully. I recommend reading her post. She also wrote about her results.

What does procrastination look like?

procrastinationmonster

You know how monsters lurk under the bed, in the dark? And you know how to get rid of them? Right.

If you want to beat your procrastination monster, you need to get to know it. Know it really well.

What does your procrastination monster look like? Where does it live? How? What does it feed on? What are it’s favourite tv programs? What are it’s hobbies? What are it’s fears? What dirty little secrets does it have? And so on.

You can draw, write, do anything that might make this subject more fun than depressing. I would love to see some pictures of your monsters here. Blind them with all the light you shine on them!

(You’ll find the reply button at the top left of this post. If you don’t want to share your monsters with the world, you can just share what you took from this exercise).