Close
Close

10 Surefire Ways to Overcome Blogging Procrastination

This guest post is by Marelisa Fábrega of the Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online.

If you keep telling yourself that you’re going to start blogging on a regular basis, and that intention has failed to materialize, it’s highly probable that procrastination is the culprit. My favorite definition of procrastination is the one provided by Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., creator of the popular web site procrastination.ca, so I quote it often. Here it is:

“Procrastination is the needless, often irrational, voluntary delay of an intended task.”

That is, you intend to write a blog post, but you go off and start doing something else which is not as important to you, and which doesn’t need to get done right away. Below you’ll find ten surefire ways to overcome blogging procrastination, so that you can achieve your goal of blogging on a regular basis.

1. Make blogging a priority and schedule it

If you keep telling yourself that you’re not blogging on a regular basis because you simply don’t have the time to do so, ask yourself if blogging is a priority for you. If it’s not, then you should seriously consider giving up your blog. After all, your time is being occupied by other things that are more important to you than blogging.

Procrastination

Image copyright galexa - Fotolia.com

On the other hand, if blogging is a priority for you, then you need to make time for it. The way in which you make time for blogging is by giving it a time slot in your schedule. There’s a huge difference between the following two statements:

  • I will write a blog post this week.
  • I will sit down to write a blog post on Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m.

The first statement is a vague intention, while the second statement is a strong commitment. Which of the two do you think is more likely to render the result of a published post on your blog?

2. Create a list of all the reasons why you blog

When you have powerful reasons for doing something, you’re much more likely to overcome inertia and procrastination, and get moving. Ask yourself: “Why is it important to me to update my blog on a regular basis?”

  • Do you want your blog to become the definitive source for quality information in your niche?
  • Do you blog in order to attract potential clients to your business?
  • Do you blog to help others achieve a particular goal, such as to lose weight or get their finances in order?
  • Do you blog in order to create an additional source of income so that you can save up to travel around the world?

Hang up your list in plain sight. Then, when you’re thinking of turning on the television instead of working on a blog post, look at your list. Allow your reasons “why” to fuel your motivation, so that you get to work on your blog post instead of giving in to the lure of the couch and the TV set.

3. Blog about a topic that you’re passionate about

As Piers Steel, Ph.D. explains in his book, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things off and Start Getting Stuff Done, the more valuable a task is, the less likely you are to procrastinate on it. A task’s value is determined by two different factors:

  • The first factor is how much you enjoy performing the task itself.
  • The second factor is the external reward that you expect to receive if you perform the task.

When you blog about a topic that you’re interested in, it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy the process of writing. That is, writing blog posts will become a rewarding activity in and of itself. This makes blogging a valuable task, so you’ll be much more likely to engage in it.

4. Increase the external reward

As I explained in the previous point, the bigger the reward that you expect to receive for performing a particular task, the more valuable that task is, and the more likely it is that you’ll do it. Therefore, you need to ask yourself how you can make the task of blogging more rewarding.

The reward that most bloggers seek is to have their posts read by a large audience. So set up a strategy to make it more likely that others will read what you write. Here are some examples:

  • Optimize your posts for the search engines so that what you write is more likely to be found by your target audience.
  • Tweet your posts and share them on other social media, such as Facebook and Google+.
  • Each time that you publish a blog post, visit from five to ten popular blogs and leave comments which add value to the conversation so that others are likely to click back to your blog.

5. Keep a notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas

When asked what was the most frightening thing he had ever encountered, novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “A blank sheet of paper.” A lot of people share this same fear, and they procrastinate on getting to work on a new blog post in order to avoid the prospect of staring at a blank screen, without knowing what to write about.

You can lessen this fear if you keep a list of possible blog topics that you can choose from. And that’s where your notebook comes in. Write down any potential blogging topics that pop into your head as you go about your day. Ideas can be triggered by anything:

  • a question a client asks you
  • a comment your two-year old makes as she trying to get out of eating her vegetables
  • a slogan you read on a billboard
  • an article you read on another blog during a coffee break.

Inspiration is fleeting, so make sure that you carry an idea capture tool with you at all times. Then, when it’s time to work on a blog post, you have a well of ideas to choose from.

6. Break it down into smaller pieces

The bigger a task seems, the more likely it is that you’ll look for ways to avoid it. The way in which you make a big task look less threatening is by breaking it down into tiny bite-size pieces, or subtasks. It’s even better if you can assign a specific amount of time to each subtask. Here’s an example:

  • Spend 40 minutes researching an article on the relationship between humor and creativity.
  • Spend 15 minutes creating an outline for the blog post.
  • Spend 25 minutes developing the first idea.
  • Spend 25 minutes developing the second idea.
  • Spend 25 minutes developing the third idea.
  • Spend 25 minutes writing the introduction, the conclusion, and a catchy title.
  • Spend 15 minutes editing the blog post.
  • Spend 15 minutes formatting the blog post and adding an image.

7. Create a blogging checklist

If a task lacks structure, we’re more likely to procrastinate on it. When we know exactly what to do next, we’re less likely to procrastinate. Therefore, it’s a great idea to create a checklist of everything that you need to do in order to get a blog post published. Then, when it’s time to work on a blog post, you can just work your way down the checklist.

8. Use the Swiss Cheese Method

Stop telling yourself that you can’t write a blog post unless you have a large chunk of time available. If you only have periods of about 20 minutes scattered throughout your week, put that time to good use. Make holes in the task of writing a blog post by working on it during small pockets of time, on a consistent basis. Soon, by writing a little here and there, you’ll have a published blog post.

9. Create a ritual

One way to make sure that you sit down to write your blog post at the scheduled time is to create a ritual that signals to your brain that it’s blogging time. Your ritual can be anything: light a candle, put on classical music, say a little prayer, or get yourself a cup of tea—whatever helps. Your lizard brain is much more likely to cooperate if you train it to recognize a certain series of actions as a firm command that it’s time to get to work.

10. Create accountability

We’re much more likely to keep promises that we make to others than we are to keep promises that we make to ourselves. Use that fact to your advantage and bolster your willpower by relying on others to hold you accountable. Here are two ways to create accountability:

  • Put an “About” widget on your blog’s sidebar and make a commitment to your readers about how often you’ll be posting on your blog.
  • Join a group of other bloggers and agree to hold each other accountable.

Conclusion

The good news is that there are many ways to overcome blogging procrastination. Get started by applying these ten surefire ways to overcome blogging procrastination presented above. How do you overcome blogging procrastination? Please share in the comments below.

Marelisa Fábrega blogs about creativity, productivity, and getting the most out of life over at Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online. She’s the author of the ebooks “How to Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List”, and “Make It Happen! A Workbook for Overcoming Procrastination and Getting the Right Things Done”.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Great article, thanks for the helpful tips! It’s important to write about the topic we are most passionate about because we all need a reason to work other than to make money. Tapping into the one thing we are truly passionate about can lead to discovering brand clarity.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Andrea: I’m glad you found the article useful. Also, when you’re passionate about something it comes through in your writing. I enjoy reading blogs where the owner is obviously passionate about their topic.

  2. Conni says:

    Wow, super cool tips! Thanks so much.
    I especially the one about breaking the writing process down into smaller pieces. That helps with the overwhelm of starting a new post.. Will definately try it out next time.

    And yes, totally support the notebook advice – it’s sooooo important to have something to write down ideas at all times, wherever you are. I gave up actual notebooks a while ago, and instead use my iPhone’s note taking app, which works just as good. And I know I always have it with me.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Conni: Whenever I get a new idea for a blog post I’m so sure that I’m going to remember it, and then a few minutes later I start thinking of something else and “poof”, the idea is gone. I learned the hard way to write things down. :-)

  3. Faizan says:

    Nice Article and I think the first two ideas mentioned are the most important. When you have fixed a time for blogging, most of the time you will be able to write a blog post.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Faizan: For me it’s like exercising: I exercise every afternoon at the same time. I don’t ask myself whether I’m inspired to go for a run, and I don’t wait to be “in the right mood”. I know that at 6:00 p.m. every day I head out for my daily run or walk, and I just do it (yes, like NIKE). When I treat blogging the same way, I have no problem publishing regularly on my blog.

  4. irena says:

    Blogging is a hobby that is fun, although sometimes there is saturation, but with blogging all the better, despite the day to day affairs.
    but whether blogging can make you prioritized them as your need day to day? only you who knows

  5. Amanda says:

    Thank you, Marelisa, for this great article. I find that as an inveterate perfectionist, my procrastination comes from wanting to do my best writing every time I sit down, and that creates a daunting task. So to overcome this, I now rely on the moment of inspiration that you mentioned. (I’m fortunate to have a flexible schedule where this is possible.) When something or someone inspires me to write, I sit down at the very next opportunity and write about it. My writing now is more often coming from that free-flowing, happy place of inspiration, rather than a not-fun, stuck feeling of “I have to” or “I should.” Again, thank you!

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Amanda: I’m also a perfectionist, but I now allow myself to sit down and write a sh*tty first draft (like Anne Lammot recommends) and then I just work from there. :-)

  6. Sam Mangum says:

    this post is exactly what I needed today. I have been trying to write a post for the most part of the day, but distractions are getting the best of me lol. Im going to cut myself off from the world and WRITE! lol Thanks for this post!

  7. Some fabulous tips I rely on my checklists so much, it ties in with the smaller blocks and swiss cheese method, and I schedule my checklists. I have creative ones, and “boring” ones depending on my moods.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Jamie: You’re absolutely right that the three concepts are related. Your checklist is basically a breakdown of what you have to do, and by having the process broken down you can take advantage of small chunks of time.

  8. Wendy says:

    Number 5 and 6 are exactly what I do. I type many posts and ideas directly into my blog and save them as drafts. Then I can go back whenever I have time or desire to finish them and it is a good starting point when I do not know what to write about. The one drawback is remembering to change the date before I post it!

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Wendy: I keep a notebook. In spite of all the technology involved in blogging and social media, I’m still a pen and paper person at heart. :-)

  9. Élan says:

    Thanks for the tips! #3 is the one that has been working best for me right now. If I feel like I have to blog about a certain topic, I tend to procrastinate more. By relating my blog post to my “passion of the day”, I work much more effectively.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Élan: I agree that some of the best writing happens when you just think of a topic and feel, “I have to write about this right away”. :-)

      • Ivan says:

        For those not at home with the term “procrastinate”, it’s synonyms are “prolong” and “postpone”.

  10. Another way to avoid procrastination is to measure how much you do it. LazyMeter is a free app that measures your productivity. Each morning, it creates a to-do list for your day, and then you check off or pause (reschedule) tasks until the list is empty. The result is the only to-do list you’ll finish everyday, and a measure of how much you do versus postpone. Users find they procrastinate a lot less when they’re being measured, and also hitting a pause button increases awareness of when it’s happening. LazyMeter is built by procrastinators for procrastinators; we solved our own problem and hope it will work just as well for you.

  11. Jenny Shih says:

    My favorite way to keep blogging is to commit to a schedule, your first point. Every Wednesday I have a post that goes out first thing in the morning. It’s become a habit, and habits are always easy to keep!

    For those who benefit from accountability, another option is to partner up with one other person with the same blogging goal as you. Simply holding that commitment for each other can often be enough. No one likes to report it, “I didn’t do it.”

  12. Karan Lugani says:

    Its very important to be passionate in what we blog. Choosing a niche due to higher earning potential maybe a great drawback as one soon loses interest.

  13. Great seeing you here Marelisa. I have been experiencing blogging procrastination lately. I guess my other work has taken priority over blogging for the moment. Your post is sure to help get me back on track.

  14. 2, 2 and more 2 Marelisa. Find your Why, hold it, and you stop making excuses and start blogging. Why is your emotional driver, pushing persistence through your being.

    Ryan

  15. Thank you very much for the post. You have a lot of great advice. I see more than a few of my own blogging procrastination listed. I spend all my time writing for others that I always put my personal writing last, and I never seem to have time to get to it. #10. Is a surefire way to make it more of a priority for me. I am also guilty of #8. #5. My problem is not a blank page, but pages and pages full of ideas. When I go to write I can’t focus on where to start. #2. May well be a perfect solution.

  16. Daniel says:

    There is only one way to beat procrastination, and that is to just go out and do it.

    Whether Blogging, or anything else for that matter, if you keep looking for a way to overcome it(Reading Books, trying out different methods to get your motivation levels up) you will get stuck in a rut.
    Your search for a cure to your Procrastination will itself become a form of Procrastination.
    This will then create a vicious circle, whereby, no matter what you do you will end up back at square one.
    There is no magic wand that will make you get off your tush, and get things done.

    You just do it.

  17. Thank you very much for the helpful post.

    Well, I just noticed that procrastination(due to the tips that were given) is only an internal battle that we have with ourselves. It is a result of our repeated inaction for so many years, habitually delaying task and choosing play first before work.

    I remember that this is one of the reason why I failed my first network marketing venture and it negatively affected the first three blogs that I started. After the last failure, I started to rethink on how I can conquer procrastination and the answer I found is finding a deeper purpose and motivation to succeed. Right Now, I can say that I am better than ever and I am slowly conquering procrastination.

    Cheers for the awesome post!

    Armand Polanski

  18. Tom Parker says:

    Breaking it down into smaller chunks is definitely a must for me. I’ve been writing a lot of articles on nutrition recently. A lot of the articles are very similar as there’s a lot of crossover between nutrients (e.g. lots of nutrients keep your blood healthy) and some are also very long (2,000 words +). Tackling these articles in 1 go is almost impossible.

    • Optimist says:

      You simply make the two years procrastinations of mine become,purely a waist of time. thanks a lot.

  19. James Greg says:

    Great points for blogging successfully. Making it a priority and scheduling it through your daily work is something that most bloggers cannot do and this is the main reason for the downfall. Being consistent is the key to success and also a guide to learn the mistakes people usually do while blogging and complaining of not getting satisfactory results.

  20. Sanjana says:

    Marelisa, your blog post came at the perfect time.
    I’ve started a blog last month and I had blog posts in various stages in my drafts folder – I had only 2 posts published even though I have a spreadsheet full of post ideas. I am passionate about my blog but I needed this great list of ideas to kick start my posting. In the half hour since I read this post – I’ve managed to publish one of my long suffering draft posts.
    I really liked how you broke down the tasks into sub tasks and also about creating a list of reasons for my blogging. It has helped me focus on writing content and hitting publish.Thank you!

  21. naijadotcom says:

    I like the part about breaking it down,i always have a notebook with me to jot but i have never really gotten to work on most stuffs i jot down,i think being detailed does it.

  22. Pj Zafra says:

    Hello Marelisa,

    Great post you got here! You are really right about asking ourselves if blogging is one of our priorities. If it is our priority, we would have more time for it and more things to do for it to grow. I’m currently on my 3rd month blogging and all these tips that you’ve shared is really helpful and insightful. Most of the tips you’ve shared are actually eye openers. Something that can wake you up and start evaluating what you really want for your blog.

    Starting up with my blog was definitely a challenge at first. I had to do everything I can to make it a part of my daily routine. So far, I’m getting better with what I do on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing this! Keep it up! :D

  23. Thanks for sharing the tips. I will make sure I write one or two posts for my blog every day. When I start to feel tired or out of ideas to write, I will read blogs and write down ideas. Finally, those little ideas can be published as a new post. :)

  24. Alconcalcia says:

    I think it’s important to consider sometimes that not everyone wants to have your opinion forced on them on a regular basis. My own rule is only to blog when I am passionate about something. That may happen twice a week, once a month or quarterly – but people would soon get fed up if, like the annoying person in a bar that sidles up and gives you their unsolicited opinion, I pumped out a regular piece just because it kept my online presence up. Hold something back, give only of yourself what you would want to receive. Imagine if everyone who ever used the web wrote 3 or 4 blogs a week? How dull a task would it be sifting the wheat from the huge pile of chaff that is out there? Quality, not quantity folks!

    • Bang-on Al. You speak the truth,

      Personally I think this article is almost entirely rubbish, and of little use to anyone who struggles to blog.

      • Marelisa says:

        Hi Stephen: If you feel that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, then, by all means, don’t blog. This article is intended for those who do have something of quality to say, but sometimes struggle with procrastination.

    • Jenny Shih says:

      I agree and I disagree with you on this point. Yes, inspiration and quality are important. Consistency is also important, especially if your are trying to run a profitable, growing business.

      Creating quality content on a consistent basis builds trust with readers. What would happen if one week Problogger didn’t have a single blog post? We’d wonder what happened and if we could still count on the regular and consistent insights that we experienced in the past.

      If I blog one week but not the next, then I blog for the next three weeks, then I skip 3, my readers (and potential clients) are going to question my reliability. They may not do this consciously, but subconsciously, they will wonder if they can deliver what I claim to deliver in a coaching session with them.

      Everyone needs to find their own stride when it comes to writing. For you, that may be following inspiration. For many, I believe that consistent blogging builds the foundation for a solid business.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Alconcalcia: I’ve gotten comments from readers indicating that every time that they open their Google Reader they immediately check to see whether something new has been published on my blog. I also get emails from people saying that my blog posts inspire them and have helped get through difficult times. This tells me that my blog posts make a difference to my readers. In addition, my blog is a business, and being reliable–publishing on a regular basis– is part of presenting a professional image. Now, of course, I don’t press the “publish” button until I feel certain that the blog post that I’m about to publish is of high quality.

  25. Steve Scott says:

    Marelisa,

    Some great anti-procrastination tips here. Ultimately everyone has to decide if blogging is “really the thing” for them. Many people are in it for the $$ and quite frankly it is a lot of work invested at first with little gain. If people are finding it hard to “do it” even after following your steps they should take a hard look at if it is something they really “want” to do.

  26. Thanks for the awesome tips, the one about having a notebook and jotting down ideas seems doable to an extent. Writing regularly and scheduling posts is what I am doing currently.

  27. Bougie Girl says:

    Great article! Earlier this year, I was struggling to blog on a regular basis. Then, I started taking long walks and snapping photos of scenery around my city. Afterwards, I created a blogpost around a particular photo. This enabled me to break the spell of procrastination/writer’s block.

  28. David says:

    Very good subject on Procrastination and Blogging! Not to mentiom Link building. Thanks For the info! Check out my Custom Designed Blog on Web, SEO, Social Media Martketing – http://www.awoa.com/blog/

  29. Kenley Jones says:

    Procastination is the Assassination of Motivation

  30. LesMcP says:

    Great post Marelisa. Just started blogging and getting started was my biggest obstacle. Going to forward this to my team and use it as basis to establish discipline in our collective blogging efforts.

  31. bob solis says:

    For those who benefit from accountability, another option is to partner up with one other person with the same blogging goal as you. Simply holding that commitment for each other can often be enough. No one likes to report it

  32. You really enjoyed your post Marelisa but I have to say that I really believe one of the major reasons for procrastination is simply not knowing what to write.

    You can be new to a niche, you can be really revved up & excited about the topic but you can still know very, very little about it…………….let alone enough to write a good post about it!!!!!!!!!!

    I agree with all you say but when it comes the time to bang out that article you need to have the knowledge to produce the quality content!

    Nick

  33. XuDing says:

    Great and useful article.

    I even found the reason why I procrastinate on blogging task, which is I always tell myself to “write a post per week” instead of setting the exact time for it.

  34. Manuela says:

    Very interesting and useful…I have to write regularly for a blog and sometimes seem to me to write the same things. I should refine my ability of observation

  35. Jawad says:

    Thank You for this article. I think no. 7 is extremely helpful when it comes to my experiences in blogging. When you have to simple run down the checklist, it becomes alot easier to even land a plane.

    Also I would like to add that writing the general outline with an actual pen and paper really helps. Writing is something that tells our mind to let go and the creativity flows. As a result, as soon as I start with one idea, I am usually able to make an outline for the whole article right there. Give it a try and see if it works.

  36. martin says:

    If I feel like I have to blog about a certain topic, I tend to procrastinate more. By relating my blog post to my “passion of the day”, I work much more effectively.

  37. Raven Poplar says:

    Mostly what I do is schedule the time I need to write an article, blog, or news post. I’m a stay at home dad with a lot of responsibility outside of my blog, and I wasn’t getting my posting done. One day I got fed up an scheduled a morning to write, actually neglecting the kitchen floor, and it worked. Now I try to strike a better balance where nothing is neglected, but the principle is the same.