The Productive Way to Procrastinate

Posted on June 11, 2014 by Amber K

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For many freelance writers, procrastination is a lifestyle. With no boss breathing down your neck, it’s all too easy to get distracted. I know as well as anyone – time flies when you’re watching YouTube videos. However, procrastination doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you do it right, you can turn your distractions into something that builds your writing skills or boosts creativity.

Reading More to Improve Your Writing

Reading used to be the bane of my writing existence. It would start with an interesting thread in a forum, or a link I just had to click. You tell yourself it will be just one thread or just one article. However, online distractions are like potato chips. Before you know it, you’ve eaten half the bag, you’re filled with regret, and there’s bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. Unfortunately, you can’t make a potato chip habit healthy, but a reading habit can be good for you.

Reading is more than just a good excuse to avoid work. Your local library advertisements are right – reading broadens your horizons. Check out some awesome blogs, read the newspaper, or get started on that new fantasy epic. You’ll see what makes great blogs so great, and learn the tricks that seasoned journalists use to make a captivating news piece. Access to a wide variety of writing styles will let you pick and choose the elements you’d like to incorporate in your own writing.

I Want to Write, Just Not This

Sometimes I’m in the mood to write, but when I stare at the list of blog posts that need to be written, nothing jumps out at me. Either I’m bored with the subjects, or I just can’t wrap my mind around whatever topic I’m supposed to be working on. In these situations, I have two choices: force myself to write a lackluster piece that I really wasn’t interested in, or write something for myself. Many freelance writers – myself included – avoid the second option. Words I’m not getting paid for?! Ridiculous!

Except for the fact that you probably wouldn’t have gotten into this profession if you didn’t have the drive to do something creative. Writing someone else’s words when you really don’t feel like it only punishes your creative side. Take the time to write your own words. Start a blog, write your memoirs, or create a work of fiction. Do it for your own personal enjoyment, and who knows – you might find a way to profit later!

Exercise for the Mind and Body

Are you fidgeting in your seat like a third grader before recess? Do you keep jumping up every few minutes to examine the contents of your refrigerator or look out the window? Your body is trying to tell you that it’s sick of sitting in front of a computer. Listen to it and go for a walk or hit the gym. Research shows that exercise – particularly aerobic exercise like walking – improves creativity. This article by Christopher Bergland is an interesting discussion about the science behind exercise and creativity.

Your body isn’t the only thing that needs exercise. This study published in PLOSone suggests that puzzle games and brainteasers could help improve cognitive function. The participants in this study played either Tetris or Brain Age. Both groups showed increased cognitive performance after a month of playing these games for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Finally a good excuse to sit around doing crossword puzzles!

Amber K enjoys writing about home improvement, gardening and the great outdoors. When she’s not sitting in front of a computer, she can be found developing strategies to conquer the world – or at least her own little piece of it!


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