Every morning, it takes me about 7 minutes to get out of bed, make myself a cup of coffee, and sit at my desk to punch those keys.
Usually, what I do is this: I take a look at all my drafts. There are hundreds of them. I open and close them, go through what I have so far, reading their introductions, until I find what I am looking for: something I’m terribly excited to write about.
Sometimes it takes me a few minutes, other times it takes me close to an hour, but I always find something that I want to write about.
If I start working on an article and I feel like procrastinating, taking some time off to think about the topic, or I feel like I’d better do something else instead, I start all over again, by looking for that one idea that inspires me to write about it right then and there.
What I am looking for is the topic or idea that I am most mentally clear about at the time.
We’re often told that procrastination is a deadly sin of creativity, that we must force ourselves to do the work.
Actually, I believe this advice is quite counterproductive. We must do the work, yes, but we can always choose what we can work at.
How to Use Procrastination to Your Advantage
There are hundreds of quotes that stress the idea that you should not put off for tomorrow what you can do today and that someday’s not a day of the week.
All are terrible cliches that make us feel guilty for not being driven to do something.
This abundance of advice meant to discourage procrastination doesn’t account for the fact that we can use procrastination as a tool to be more productive.
It’s quite simple.
Whenever you find yourself struggling to write an article, work on something else.
What if the ideas you’re writing about aren’t worth writing about? What if this desire to procrastinate is your brain letting you know that your idea is uninspiring, cliche, or even downright terrible? What if procrastination is your mind’s way of letting you know that you have yet to know enough about that topic to turn it into an article?
If you do not feel passionate enough to write an article, no matter your mood, energy levels, or how hungry you feel, then odds are you shouldn’t be writing that article. At least, not right then and there.
Procrastination can be used as a simple tool for figuring out what are the ideas that are most worthy of writing about today.
The desire to postpone the work we must do is intricately tied to our energy levels, moods, mental and creative capacity, and this means that we are naturally attracted to different topics and ideas during different times of the day.
That’s why I always advise people to set up a folder of ideas. That’s why I have hundreds of drafts, hundreds of ideas, hundreds of headlines.
I am always looking for that one idea that inspires me to write about right then and there, no questions asked.
You can even take this a step further, by asking yourself if a certain paragraph is worth writing about.
If you’re struggling with a certain paragraph, maybe your article will be better if you don’t include it. Maybe you should just delete it altogether, and work on your next paragraph.
What doesn’t come naturally to you, most times it’s an indication of something you’re not yet ready to write into existence.
Of course, the trick is to keep searching for that one idea that inspires you. If you do not, then procrastination does become a debilitating habit, one that will sabotage your creative output in a bunch of insidious ways.
But the fact that you don’t feel a strong desire to write about a certain topic could be used as a tool that you’d be better off writing about something else entirely.
Do not use procrastination as an excuse to act lazy, but rather as a tool to find the ideas that you feel a strong inclination towards, the ideas that you genuinely want to publish and share with your readers.
Whenever I adhere to this rule, I end up writing close to 10,000 words in a single day, some 3–4 different articles.
Whenever I forget about this strategy, and I force myself to stick to whatever topic I’m writing about, then it takes me an insane amount of time to write the damn thing, after countless mini-sessions of aimless wandering on the web, or a couple of naps, or just plain staring out the window, wishing the damn thing wrote itself.
It’s painful to watch, and even more painful to experience.
So, why not use procrastination as a tool to help you identify the ideas that are worth your time and energy today?
Tomorrow, depending on your mood, you might feel a strong desire to work on the articles that made you want to bang your head against the keyboard a couple of days earlier.
This is my simple guide to using procrastination to become a more productive blogger.