How many projects do you have waiting that you’ve never started or never finished? You stare at the list, the list stares back at you, and before you know it, you’re full of guilt, promising yourself you’ll start on at least one project tomorrow – for sure. Promise.
News flash – tomorrow never comes.
Something else always comes up. Time goes by fast. The window of opportunity gets increasingly smaller.
Now, you could continue along the path of good intentions and never accomplish a thing – or you could make a decision to regain control. For all you know, that opportunity for a publishing contract could be right around the corner. It could knock any second.
Are you ready?
James and I had a wake-up call last week. We happened across a publishing company looking for submissions. The opportunity sounded great, it fit our fiction niche, and it offered a contract. Too good to be true?
Yes. We were nowhere near ready. We have files. We have chapters waiting for editing. We have outlines and elevator pitches. We have piles and piles of notes. Basically, our novel is complete – and also completely scattered in pieces between
I think I finally got my point across to James. We can’t put off completing the novel any longer. It is as much of a priority as anything else.
People often get caught up thinking they have to finish one project before they move on to the next. I used to be like that. After reading on time management, I realized this linear thinking was just another bad habit to break. If you want to get anything done, you need to start working in 10-minute sprints. Let me explain:
Procrastination has many causes. The most common is that the task at hand is one we’re not looking forward to doing. We get stuck, get writer’s block, and come up with a million excuses not to do the project.
The deadline creeps closer and the stress increases in direct proportion. It’s a horrible cycle, leaving you jammed and twice as stressed as when you started procrastinating.
The next time you run into this problem, tell yourself you’re going to work on the project for 10 minutes. Anyone can spare 10 minutes from their day, right? I guarantee that if you stick with your project for 10 minutes, you’ll end up working on that project a lot longer – just make sure you don’t work too much longer!
When I do my 10-minute projects, I place a cap of an hour. I can usually complete the project or task within that time frame. If I’m still dragging after 10 minutes, I can put the work down and move on to something else. I’ve at least gotten ten minutes closer to completion.
Carry that 10-minute to-do to your schedule for tomorrow. It’s on the agenda, you’ll work another 10 minutes, and before you know it, the deadline is met – with time to spare.