College teachers are notorious for piling on homework at the last minute. The last days before a wedding are often a mad rush to the finish. An author accomplishes feats during the final days before a book deadline. It’s human nature to create time stress, and writers are particularly good at it.
Whether we miscalculate or procrastinate, the result is the same. Time-stress is no fun and leads to dangerous consequences. The American Psychological Association links chronic stress to the six leading causes of death. Have you ever seen the effect of erosion? Little-by-little, over time, wind and weather can wear away stone. Stress can kill a writer. Don’t let it take you down.
Overcoming Last-Minute Time Stress
Maybe you’re on board with lowering your time-stress but can’t seem to figure out how to slow your schedule. Believe me, I know what that feels like. I’m at the end of a year where I paid the consequences of over-extending myself. Never again. I’ve had to learn that making commitments calls for mindfulness, practicality and self-discipline. Using myself as an example, I’ll explain how these mindsets can combine to safeguard your time.
Knowing who I am and what I want helps me align my schedule to my purpose and goals. Simply put, I don’t do anything as an author that takes me on detours. Life is too short to waste time on distractions. I do consider my market as I write, but I resist the temptation to color outside the lines.
I’m usually flattered when others invite me to participate in a promotion, book bundle, blog post, speaking engagement, or some other opportunity. Or fear-of-missing-out syndrome urges me to rush into the Next Big Thing. However, if I take a deep breath and consider my whole schedule in light of the lifestyle I can sustain, sometimes I need to say no. Turning down a chance to shine doesn’t feel good, but neither does burnout.
Actually writing during the time I’ve designated for it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I have no control over disruptions, but not always. Maybe I haven’t set boundaries with a neighbor or answered the phone when I should have let it ring. I can distract myself by opening email or visiting social sites for ‘just a minute’ before working. A break from writing goes on longer than I’d planned. I give up for the day when I should press on. Developing a habit of self-discipline counters, but doesn’t eradicate, these problems.
Final Thoughts from Janalyn
Have you ever had to assure captcha that you are not a robot? I have to remind myself about that sometimes. I am not a machine. All I can do is set up a reasonable schedule and hang on for all I’m worth. Sometimes I let go. Life knocks me back or I needed better SMART Goals. After I fail, I continue.