Ten Ways to Waste Writing Time

in Articles from our Newsletter


“I’m not going to stop the momentum I have from writing this summer.  I know I can write during the academic year.”

“I will not wait until a school break to finish this article.  It should have been done yesterday.  I’m going to write every day during this semester.”

At the start of the semester, academics may have all kinds of resolutions about how they are actually going to write more during this academic year.

I thought that in order to illustrate how to accomplish that, I would turn the idea of writing productivity upside down and present some ways to assure that you waste as much time as possible.

  1. Don’t plan what you need to get done. Just wait until the minute you sit down at the computer.  You won’t be tempted to check your email.
  2. Don’t schedule the time you’ll write. Wait until you’re in the writing mood.  After all, as soon as there’s a free half hour, you’ll take advantage of it and start writing.
  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. You’ve worked hard this week; you deserve a break.  Before you start doing something stressful like writing, you need to relax and do something less stressful, like playing Whirly Word on your iPhone (don’t ask).Time-wasting game
  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 start writing, 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 the semester.  Now that you know what NOT to do, I hope I’ve given you a few reminders of actions that you can take in order not to waste time.



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