It’s really easy to push things off. In fact, I’m the worst at focusing and the best at procrastinating. In fact, it took me a year to finally clean my keyboard, and I only did that because I was trying to come up with reasons to procrastinate on writing. I’ve found that procrastination is a gift generously bestowed to most teenagers, which isn’t something we should hold onto.
NaNoWriMo is a day away, and in honor of that, I have 5 tips that help me focus and push away procrastination. Let’s aim to win NaNo, and have a productive November.
(Note: I am not an expert, and everyone is different. Find what works for you and stick to it! You ultimately know what is best for yourself.)
1. Write your expectations for the day
And be reasonable.
I’m really good at believing myself to be superwoman. I can do a million things and work all night without batting an eye, right? A regular sleep schedule? HAH. Eating? Why is it necessary?
But I’ve found that I need to sleep, eat, and schedule. Your expectations feed into your priorities. What is more important to you, working on some art or writing a book? Music practice or book reading? I personally try to have three overarching goals, and then fill in with things you know you have to do. When you have expectations, especially if keep them doable, it’ll shape your whole day and set you on track for slaying it.
2. Wake up and exercise
This might be a walk, this might be stretching, this might be a full on HIIT thirty minute routine, it’s totally up to you and your day. As someone who’s constantly jittery, I find that if I expel some of that energy even before it kicks in (The only time I’m not jittery is in the morning, when I actually need to get up. Go figure. 🙄😂) It also puts your mind into a work space, instead of a relaxation, do nothing space.
If that makes sense.
It probably doesn’t. Regardless, waking up and exercising helps your brain realize that you plan to get things done.
3. Fidget toys
I live for fidget toys. When I was younger, I actually hated them, mostly because the ones that I had available didn’t agree with me. They either made noisy clicks, or were the wrong texture, or they were fidget spinners. Fidget spinners and yours truly are not friends.
But in the past month or so, I’ve found some fidget toys that work for me. I love stress balls, but I’ve always popped my stress balls in the past. (It was kinda satisfying, like popping a huge, gross, unattached pimple.) But, I finally found a stress ball that I cannot pop. Isoflex has amazing, unscented stress balls that are filled with moon sand instead of liquid. They’re amazing.
Stress toys are an awesome way to help you focus.
4. Take breaks
Might seem slightly counter intuitive, but I know that when I give myself slots of time to just rest, I often work a lot harder. I find that I love racing. When I find that I have thirty minutes, fifteen minutes, or even five minutes until break time, I’ll push myself harder, to see if I can beat my record from last time.
Sometimes taking breaks doesn’t work for people, because they need to stay in the work mindset instead of flipping back and forth. That’s okay, if it doesn’t work for you, find what does.
5. Figure out your most productive time
Some people scoff at being morning person or night owl, and other people say you can train yourself to be either or, or even both. I’m not here to agree or disagree with them, but I know for me personally, I’m a night owl, but if I don’t want to get distracted, I need to do it in the morning.
I know that if I do something in the morning, my brain is programmed to do it again at night. Not sure how it works like that, but it does. And if I want to do something creative, I need to do it at night. (Unless it’s a huge project like painting.)
Figure out when you’re most productive. You might be better at math in the morning, and better at music late in the evening. There’s no set procedure for every person, it just takes a willingness to explore.
What tips do you think will be most helpful? Do you enjoy fidget toys?