The Top Ten Ways I Get Nothing Done

Here they are, in no particular order. The ways I procrastinate writing. Reasons or excuses. Legitimate or imaginary. Out here. In public.

The things I need to change or reprioritize (Well, maybe not number 8. I’m not the only one with a say in that matter):

10. Say yes. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to everything else. Including what’s on the to-do list. Saying yes to everyone all the time is a real time killer. Free for lunch? Yes. Catch a movie? Yes. Come fix my…? Yes. Want to see my new puppy? Absolutely yes. And on and on it goes.

9. Netflixing.




Especially when the hubby’s home from work and that’s what he’d like to do as well.

8. Own a fifteen-year-old cat with a poor digestive system. And who sheds his weight every third day. His companionship may outweigh his maintenance on certain days, but others—not so much.

7. Wait for the perfect moment/environment. I tell myself I have to have a clean area to write creatively, but when I take the time to clean up piles of mail and tackle random to-do list items, I end up on that time-consuming trail of solving the “pressing” issues hiding in those piles instead of writing. Writing can wait until morning when the desk is clear. But morning typically brings all new piles—real or imagined.

What I’ve found is that I’m waiting for the planets to align where all of the areas of life (motherhood, wifehood, granddaughterhood, businesshood, churchhood, etc.) are totally quiet and calm. With all of their respective problems solved.

Ducks. In. Neat. Rows.

Never going to happen.

6. Work in front of a big window.


All it would take is for me to turn my desk toward the wall, but that claustrophobia thing kicks in and I’m back watching the leaves blow in the wind again. And oh, look! The mail truck came. Time to make another pile on the desk…

5. Hop down the social media rabbit hole. I’m not a big Facebook user outside of church and this blog, but I came across this post and, bless the heart of the one who put this where my eyes could find it, now I see it everywhere. Best two minutes and twenty-six seconds on the internet. When you’re done reading the blog, come back up here and click on it—but only if you have time to watch it to the end. The bird on the right represents most of my friends. Me? I’m so the bird on the left—it’s not even funny. And yes, when I searched for the link, I let the video play and smiled all the way to the end.

Another two minutes and twenty-six seconds swallowed whole.

4. Lose four hours of sleep in the middle of the night on a regular basis.

This one is a creative energy killer and ties directly to external chaos and life issues.

3. The office door doesn’t lock, and those I reside with aren’t trained to read the “Do Not Disturb” sign.

Or they think it doesn’t apply to them. Because they’re special.

And they are. Special.

Or they don’t think their “quiet” presence in the room bothers me. But I can hear them. Breathing. Hovering. Waiting with loud, oxygen-sucking thoughts as they scroll on their phones. Except the cat. We took his phone away a while back…

So why bother with a locked door or a sign? Everyone ignores them anyway.

2. Blog about it. If you’re blogging about your hobby, you’re likely not engaging in said hobby. None of the words I write for this blog count toward any fiction progress at all. The energy and time the blog takes are not recoverable. Would I be better off working on my work in progress? Probably. But, alas, here I am. Doing the introverted marketing thing. Writing while not writing.

1. Devalue the writing. Writing doesn’t pay the bills—yet, and the publishing world moves slowly, so what’s one more day of lost writing time? But those days turn into weeks. And then into months. I push the writing aside for everything on life’s to-do list or when chaos strikes. Then I tell myself there’s no energy left for creative thinking. But, I do have the brain cells for sarcasm and whining about the thing that squeezed against my writing time. And honestly, sarcasm and whining take as much creative energy as sitting down and making up stuff for other people to read. I’m just doing that other bit out loud as opposed to on a laptop…

So those are the big ones. My reasons/excuses/self-imposed limitations. And nearly every one of them I can work on. And nearly every one of them would go away if I solved number one. Except number 8. He keeps respawning his nine lives.

Solving number one. What a cool realization from writing this blog. I didn’t intend on learning anything when I clunked this list onto the screen. It was to be just one more blog post…

I need to value my writing. It needs to be important enough to be a stable fixture in the day. A priority. And fun.

A fun priority.

A fun priority that keeps me out of the therapist’s office and out of my pastor’s sermon illustrations.

What about you? What’s your “fun priority” that you can’t seem to get around to?

Make a list of your top ten or fifteen hinderances. Then hunt for that one thing on the list that, if solved or rethought or restructured, would solve most of the other points. That one thing that you absolutely can control (without ending up a headline on the six o’clock news, mind you).

Then go have fun!

And if all else fails, click the link in number 5.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.