The thing that you want to do the most, do that. – Joss Whedon

I am in time-management heaven right now. Three and a half weeks till my book deadline, Greg with a broken hand and Owen starting daycare in two weeks. Summer is coming; activities and events are writing their way into our calendar at a rapid clip.

I say I’m in heaven rather than hell because I’m not freaking out. (Yet.) I had a fabulous coming-together of ideas in the shower over the weekend, so I know exactly which steps to take next to pull the pieces of my book together. I have some nights to work in addition to most weekdays, so I’m confident I have the time – and the space of time – to get it all done.

At exactly the right moment, given all this, crafty compatriot and Joss Whedon fan extraordinaire Kimberly alerted me to this interview he did with Co.Create on being prolific. Dude gets a lot done.

Given that he’s about the only person I’m inclined to say I’m a fan of, being unusually disinclined toward being a Fan, I was pleased as punch to know that he didn’t finish reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done either. And that, as I quoted him saying above, he works on the parts of a project he’s most excited about rather than holding them off till later.

In most of life, I delay my own gratification. I finish my least-favourite food first and make sure my most-favourite is my last bite. In university, I’d force myself to do the most boring or tedious assignments first, holding the most engaging ones as an incentive.

But not for work anymore. Now, I not only do the thing I’m most excited about first, I even let myself be distracted by unrelated things I’m excited about. I find that if I don’t do this – if I delay that gratification – I get less done. It’s more distracting to me to keep exciting things at arm’s length than it is to take an hour or two away from the less-exciting task at hand to just do them. Because I dream about them, and then I end up dreaming about other things. It just doesn’t make sense to force myself to work around the path my brain wants to follow. Just giving in and following the path allows me to focus properly on the work I need to do, with far less stress.

This is how I’ve been dealing with procrastination lately. I do the thing I want to do the most, even if it’s not directly related to my pressing deadlines, but always making sure I come back to the required task. Surprisingly, I get a lot more work done this way, and I’m happier doing it.

How have you been dealing with procrastination lately?

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Kimberly Hirsh

I find myself working this way, too, lately – always with one eye on the calendar, of course – and it is much preferable to saving the fun stuff for later. I find the more I go with my energy and interest, the better the work is.

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