Ten Ways to Waste Valuable Writing Time

in Faculty & Tenure, Time Management

Ten Ways to Waste Valuable Writing Time

You have a week off of your normal responsibilities – maybe it’s Spring Break, or maybe it’s during the summer. You say to yourself “I’ll have huge blocks of free time –I’m going to get so much writing done!” Here are some ways to make sure you get very little done. (Read the reverse version of this article.)

  1. Don’t plan what you need to get done. Just wait until the minute you sit down at the computer.

  2. Don’t schedule the time you’ll write. Wait until you’re in the writing mood.

  3. Always start writing at the beginning. If you have thoughts about other parts of your work, put them in the back of your mind. You’ll remember them easily later.

  4. When you decide it’s time to write, check your email first. You wouldn’t want to miss something important.

  5. It’s your vacation. You deserve a break. Do something less stressful, like playing Snood. (If you’ve never played Snood, please don’t start now – the guilt would kill me.)

  6. After you’ve written a few sentences, reread them. They’re probably terrible, so you’d better delete them.

  7. You finally write a halfway decent paragraph. Don’t keep going. Make that paragraph perfect. After you’re done perfecting it, check it again. It’s not that good, is it? You’d better delete it. Tomorrow you’ll write better.

  8. As days go by and you notice that you haven’t been writing, promise yourself that when you do finally sit down and write, you’ll write for at least four solid hours. That will make up for all the writing you didn’t do. Plus knowing that you have four hours of writing ahead of you will really motivate you to get started. Tomorrow.

  9. The more you try to write, the harder it is. That means you should stop trying to write. Maybe tomorrow, you can do some more research. Isn’t there some article you still need to read?

  10. Don’t back up your work. Computers rarely crash.

These ten ways to waste time are guaranteed to leave you with little to show at the end of Spring Break. Again, if you would like to read about what you should be doing instead, read the article I wrote that is the reverse of this article: Make Your Free Time Work For You.

© Gina Hiatt, PhD.
Gina is a dissertation and tenure coach. She helps academics, from grad students wondering about their dissertation topic to faculty members who want to maintain a high level of research and writing, to reach their goals more quickly and less painfully.

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