How to Stop Procrastinating for Good

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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End Procrastination: A Brightly Colored Blue Bench at the Chicago Botanic Garden buy at

Every blogger has had their share of writer’s block, and every dreamer can attest to letting months drift by without taking action on their dream.

People often think these are examples of creative procrastination at its finest, but I think it’s really just another form of writer’s block, or creative block, or even motivation block. It’s that moment you sit down and tell yourself you are going to work on your [insert dream here] and you can’t get started.

You simply aren’t coming up with your “creative spark” — or compelling drive to do what you think you should be completing.

You may think this is happening because you don’t feel “in the mood.” It’s like that feeling you sometimes get right before you start something that will be good for you, let’s say, like going for a walk.

You think about finding walking shoes and suddenly your brain begins whispering all the reasons why you don’t want to go. It may take everything you have to convince yourself to put on your walking shoes, let alone, go outside and walk for 10 minutes —- let alone, for 30 minutes.

But a funny thing happens once you begin walking: you get into it. The next thing you know you’ve done your 30 minutes and you feel great.

So what in the hell was that?

It’s sort-of a motivational block.

I don’t like the word motivation when talking about what it is that blocks your creative juices —- and stops cold your happy urge to do the thing that will satisfy your heart for having accomplished it.

I was thinking about writer’s block all weekend while I was trying to figure out what I was going to write for you on dreaming, or blogging. As some of you know, my Aunt died mid-week, kicking most of my creative dream inspiration to the curb while I cried and tried to accomplish work.

It was difficult for me to focus on my blogs. Each time I sat down at my desk it felt like a big blank screen was staring back at me while I felt nothing. “Go away!” the computer whispered, and so I did.

Sometimes solutions to problems come to you in spite of yourself.

It’s also been a very rainy, stormy week with too much time spent indoors, so by the time some sun appeared through the clouds today I went out and continued to work on a garden project I’ve slowly put together.

I’ve been repainting my garden swing that blue color you see in all the garden magazines. I was motivated to finally start this bench-painting project after seeing some great garden images on Pinterest.

Pinterest blue garden inspiration

I love painting and working in my garden. It feeds my soul, so whenever life is kicking me around a bit, I pull out my garden gloves and go outside and push around some dirt.

Today was one of those days that I needed to paint and push dirt.

Every now and then I’d think, “What in the heck am I going to say about blogging or dreaming this week? I don’t think I should go down the road of ‘my Aunt just died, proving life is too short so go get on with your dreaming people’ blog post.”

So I’d continue to paint my blue bench and let it go.

By the time dinner was over and I finally sat down to write my post I was back at the place of writer’s block, but instead of getting too worked up about it, I took a couple of deep breaths and thought about all the ways a writer can overcome writers block … and how you creatives’ can overcome creative blocks … and you dreamers can overcome dreamers block…

Then it hit me.

The reason I started working on my garden again was because I’d seen those beautiful garden images on Pinterest and after a while they stirred my motivation to actually go buy the paint to transform my garden.

Fruitflesh : Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write

When I lack the will to write, I’ll pick up a little book ex-dreamer KB gave me called Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write by Gayle Brandeis. This book takes me out of my practical mind into a place where suddenly I MUST go write about oranges.

What the book and Pinterest have in common is that they are catalysts for motivation —- a way for me to feel that urge to get up and go do what I am being called to do.

Listening to 1980’s dance music ALWAYS makes me dance in my chair to the point where I simply must get up and dance around the room to a song. Classical music makes me mediate. Rock music motivates me to clean my bathroom.

My son is as bad as I am in the mornings, so knowing this, I am motivated to get up extra early each day, start coffee and help him get his day going. I love being wide awake when he stumbles out of his bedroom with his hair resembling a punk rock look on one side. It makes me smile every single day.

My friend Elisabet and her daughter Kelcie insist that my son and I join them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at least once a week —- out in public —- which forces me to get dressed up and go socialize, which is really good for me.  Last night I actually said hello to several men.

Of course my son and Kelcie didn’t like that part of my “feeling creative.”

What I am trying to say here is that you have to find out what motivates you to be creative, to write, to pick up that camera, to make that phone call -— to work on your dream.

I think if there are areas in your life that you aren’t working on it’s because you haven’t figured out what would make you want to do it. Just think of it as a case of [insert what you can’t seem to make yourself do] block and then try to think of creative ways to get yourself going.

Need to apply for a new job?

Take some creative risks. If you are artistic, create a brand logo of your initials and create your resume around that. My ex husband got a winery sales job because he put an image of a glass pouring wine out and it looked like it was being poured on to his resume. The fun of creating it took away the pain of having to touch up his resume. He liked it so much when he was done that he was naturally motivated to test it on some wineries … and it worked.

Need to take photographs?

Does staring at another photographer’s photographs in your niche motivate you? No? What about sitting and cleaning your camera while you watch you favorite TV show? Or what if you just take it outside with you in the evening while you sit with a glass of wine and look at the sky? You might become motivated to pick it up and start taking pictures of something that catches your eye.

You have to find what it is you love to do, then apply that love-logic to the things you want to accomplish.

Sometimes the motivation resembles the first 10 minutes of the walk you needed to take — you don’t think it’s going to work, then suddenly the juices start flowing and before you know it you’re done.

This week spend some time looking at how you might combine something you love (like me with the 1980’s dance music) with something you keep putting off (like dancing to 80’s music for 30 minutes a day for more exercise) and see if you can’t combine them to motivate you into creating the dream you are yearning for.

Make a list of all the things that you love.

Put the list up near your desk, or where you contemplate your dream and the next time you need motivation to end a particular “block” look at your list. See if there is anything you love that you can combine with what you need to get done and use the combination to complete the next step in your dream.

Who knows …  you might find that you’re not really a procrastinator after all.  You just needed to add in something else you love.


Procrastinating on Our Dreams My new Blue Garden Bench