By Jennifer Blanchard
I have a confession to make: I can’t live without my BlackBerry.
My entire life is programmed into that thing–my doctor appointments, meetings I have at work, reminders I set for myself, etc. If I ever lost it, I’d go crazy and probably forget everything.
For me, setting appointments is a huge step toward getting something accomplished.
If I put it in my phone and set a reminder, there’s a much better chance it will get done than if I don’t write it down at all.
Making writing appointments can be an effective way to get your writing done.
However, most procrastinators–even if they made a writing “appointment”–still wouldn’t write when their schedule says they are supposed to. This usually boils down to a couple things:
- People are often afraid of committing to a specific time because then they feel pressured to write
- People don’t know how to keep an appointment with themselves
There is a simple method to help rid you of any fears you might have about making a writing appointment. I call it “Make an Appointment a Day.”
How it works is:
- For a two week period, you make one appointment every single day.The appointment can be anything you need to accomplish–walk the dog, exercise, get your nails done, play basketball–whatever.
- Then you keep whatever appointment you made, every single day.Doing so will help you get in a habit of committing to yourself and following through. Once you are able to do that for your everyday tasks, then you can transition to making a writing appointment every day.
Here is an example of how a week with one appointment a day would look:
- Monday: exercise 6 p.m.
- Tuesday: walk the dog 5:30 a.m.
- Wednesday: watch America’s Next Top Model 7 p.m.
- Thursday: exercise 8 p.m.
- Friday: drinks with friends 9 p.m.
- Saturday: mow the grass 11:30 a.m.
- Sunday: make lunch for the entire week 2 p.m.
So in this example, if these are the appointments you’ve made with yourself, you would need to make sure you complete each task when the time comes.
It’s difficult to be accountable to yourself (which is why a reliability buddy helps); that’s why scheduling writing appointments is so important. Sometimes that’s the only way you’ll ever really be accountable to yourself.
But since keeping self-set writing deadlines is difficult, especially for writers who procrastinate, learning to first keep any kind of self-set deadline (see example above) will help get you on the right track.
Give “Making an Appointment a Day” a try, and if you do, be sure to let us know how it went.