Being in the zone

Summary: A post about procrastination and poor writing skills.

There are times during your day when you absolutely do NOT feel like doing something – Reading, Writing and making those important calls top my list. I would conjure up the same reason every time: Now is just not a good time I would tell myself!

I have wanted to publish a post for two weeks now, but every time I reminded myself of this, I would tell myself that I would write ‘tomorrow morning’. It’s been 10 days since that tomorrow morning passed. I saw why 4 such mornings did not work – work started early, I woke up late, I forgot about this, all of the above. The remaining mornings though were alright – I had some time to write, but I chose to do something else instead I don’t even remember what! As I woke up yesterday, it dawned upon me: the day, the alarm and the realization. I realized I P!

I realized I Procrastinate! Now I never took this idea of Procrastination seriously. As I wrote in one of my earlier posts, what you do really affects how productive you are. Once you identify which part of the day – mornings, afternoons, evenings – make best use of your tasks, you should fit your tasks into that part. Writing for me took the morning slot. So I never saw telling myself that I would writetomorrow morning as a form of procrastination. It was only when 10 mornings had passed did I realize something was just not right. So, I decided today morning it was and guess what – it wasn’t! I then decided t do something very weird – I would write when I felt the most disinterested. I wanted to see if I had been lying to myself all along.

Well, I did just that. It was late evening and the only thing I wanted to do was relax after a long day’s work. The prospect of writing at this time did not interest me whatsoever. I was tempted to buy another morning, but I remembered what I told myself earlier. So, I sat up and wrote and I realized I had been lying to myself. Well, partially! I could write with quite some ease and thoughts seem to flow quite well. But there was only so much I could write. After the first couple of paragraphs, I realized I was beginning to slow down. But what mattered is I had started and that felt like an accomplishment in itself.

Studying Liberal arts meant one had to do a great deal of writing. Studying engineering before that only meant writing came very artificially. So, for a lot of us engineers, being told to write “2,500 words” seemed like the biggest challenge in years. We couldn’t get away with the creativity we used during engineering – Inserting songs in between paragraphs clearly did not work. This called for serious writing! We all struggled with the challenge, procrastinating our assignments until we were told the deadline would not be extended anymore. I wondered how I managed to get through all that writing and well – déjà vu! The only way I managed to finish well within deadline was because of two simple reasons:

1.    Start: I dealt with the writing procrastination by aiming to write 100 words on anything that was in my mind and then let thoughts about that flow for a day. Writing 100 words the next day seemed effortless. Just all those thoughts from the previous day was a big aid here. Sometimes, I would go back and write something completely new; hey, you at least found a topic now!

2.    Write when you feel blah: This weird trick seemed to work for me. When I started writing when I most did not feel like, I was surprised just how easily words seemed to flow. I also made the start and this gave me the confidence; that I could write anytime. There was no right time to write.

I started by writing only the first two paragraphs last evening. As you can see, the two paragraphs are just about what was in my mind then. Once I made this start and realized I could just write at any time during the day that gave me both a confidence and push, two essentials to start writing. Happy Writing!

Written in August 2015.

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