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Overcoming Procrastination with Logs, Frogs and Blogs

by Jennifer on March 9, 2010

By Alanna Klapp

My formula to prevail over procrastination last year: keep a log, eat a frog and write a blog.

I attended writers’ conferences in March and September, and took two workshops: “Writing for the Web” and “Raising Your Internet Profile 101.” John Ettorre and Liz Adair imparted knowledge on blogs.

As part of the research process for the guest host interviews I do with The Writing Show, a podcast that provides information and inspiration for writers, I read blogs. I also read the blogs of writers I meet at conferences and online. In April, I became brave enough to leave comments and started to build what is now a solid network of writers.

While I concentrated on others’ blogs, research and interviews, I didn’t spend sufficient hours on my writing projects.

For this reason I purchased Kelly L. Stone’s Time to Write. I developed two habits after I read this book:

  1. I treated writing like a part-time job
  2. I kept a writing log. The log, handwritten in the blank “notes” pages of my planner, contained the hours and minutes I worked. I set a goal of writing 10 hours per week.

I started the log on May 11, 2009. The first week, I logged six hours and 30 minutes. For the next two weeks I wrote four hours, and since then I’ve worked as few as 64 minutes and as many as 19 hours, for an average of 8.5 hours per week.

This is shy of my original 10 hours, but I consider it part-time job status.

This continued until around Thanksgiving, when a co-worker loaned me Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.

This book is geared toward business professionals, but I read it as if it were written for writers. The book tells you how to make and prioritize lists. The concept of Eat That Frog is, if the first thing you do is eat a live frog, it’s feasible that’s the worst thing that’ll happen to you all day. The “frog” is the largest, most important task.

At the end of the first chapter is an exercise that asks the reader to write a list of 10 goals. Tracy advises to write in the present tense and first person so the subconscious mind accepts the goal right away.

I wrote a list of 10, with goal number four inscribed as, “I blog.” I implemented Tracy’s techniques, wrote my first blog post on December 7, 2009, and to date I’ve blogged nine times for 10 followers.

To battle and overcome procrastination on a daily basis, I keep a log, eat a frog and write a blog.

To learn more about the log and the frog, I urge you to read Stone’s and Tracy’s books. As for blogs, there are resources and classes for writers who want to join the blogosphere.

I believe logs, frogs and blogs are the tools we need to equip ourselves against procrastination.

About the Author: Alanna Klapp is a writer and guest host for The Writing Show, a podcast that provides information and inspiration for writers. She placed second in the Lea Leever Oldham essay contest in 2005. She blogs at Wandering the Mind of Alanna Klapp and contributes to the Cleveland Browns blog Bitter Orange & Brown.

Alanna is the second place winner of the first Procrastinating Writers “How I Overcame My Procrastination This Year” essay contest. Be sure to read winner Sara Lambert’s essay, and come back to the blog on Thursday to read third-place-winner, Karin Englund’s essay.

Ed. Note: There are links (above) to the two books Alanna Klapp mentions in her post. They are not affiliate links. Just helpful links so you can find the books if you are interested in learning more about them.


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alanna Klapp March 9, 2010 at 11:57 am

Thanks again, Jennifer, for this opportunity and your blog! Happy writing to all!

2 Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist March 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I was doing really well there for awhile. I had a huge frog for breakfast every day. But lately, I have been saving it for lunch or dinner and guess what? I am not writing. Boo.

3 Joanne Elliott aka soulsprite March 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Fun read with great ideas! Thanks!

4 John Soares March 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I agree with you — and Brian Tracy — that it’s best to tackle your highest priority task first. And that’s usually what I do.

However, sometimes I don’t have the necessary drive or determination, so I intentionally leave the task for the afternoon. Usually, when I absolutely must get something done by a certain time, I rise to the occasion and crank it out quickly and well.

5 Liz Adair March 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Alanna! What fun to read your blog, though I don’t think I’ll be able to get the idea of eating a live frog out of my head all evening. Luckily I’ve had dinner.

This was a great post! Nice to hear from you on the web.

6 Aggie Villanueva March 10, 2010 at 12:26 am

I do the same thing: reading business books as if they’re written for writers and artists. I’ve found a lot of help that way.

Thankx for all the tips!

7 Geoffrey Philp March 10, 2010 at 2:46 am

Congratulations,Alanna. It’s 2:45 am and I am eating the frog.

8 John Ettorre March 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Congrats, Allana. Keep up the good work.

9 John Ettorre March 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Yikes: I mean Alanna!

10 Alanna Klapp March 10, 2010 at 10:46 pm

@Rebecca: sometimes I think we overeat and become full! Don’t be too hard on yourself, I enjoyed checking out your blog and I’ll be back! Keep writing!

@Joanne: thanks, I’m glad you found it both entertaining and informative!

@John: it really does make things easier, although this is still something I work at daily, with writing and other aspects of my life! Thanks for reading, I’m happy to hear from someone in the frog-eating habit. It’s also good to hear that you sometimes intentionally delay a task until the afternoon and still accomplish it. There is definitely something to be said for doing certain tasks at certain times of the day when we naturally have more drive and determination. Yes, when the deadline approaches, though, nothing much matters, we just do it, and then I wonder why I didn’t just get started sooner and save myself all the stress.

@Liz: Thanks so much for reading and for your comment! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed reading my blog! You’ve been a big inspiration to me and I thank you! The thought of eating a live frog actually kind of horrifies me, too, because I have a real live (tree) frog, Fred, as a pet.

@Aggie: Thanks for reading and your comment! That’s the first time I’ve read a business book that way, and it’s helped me tremendously with my writing. It’s a practice I’ll have to engage in more often. I’d love to hear which business books you’ve read that have helped your art.

@Geoffrey: Thanks so much for reading and your comment, and good luck with your early AM frog!

11 Alanna Klapp March 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Hi John, thanks very much (and no worries!)!

12 Karin March 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Hi Alanna and congratulations on an excellent method! Wish I were as disciplined and decisive as you are. As you can see from today’s blog that my method is the opposite one and suitable only for permanent procrastinators.

Great idea, to get the worst out of the way first. I will try the frog method….some day. Perhaps. I’ll kiss the frog first, but if that doesn’t work I’ll try eating it!

All the best!

Karin

13 Alanna Klapp March 11, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Hi Karin! Thanks! I wish I could say I am disciplined and decisive all the time, but I’m not, the frog method is something I just learned last year and continue to try to do, one day at a time, as I am a permanent procrastinator. Your method sounds so appealing too and I am going to give it a try as well! You never know, what might happen if you kiss a frog, as opposed to eating it….. 😉 I do think, the more methods we have (and a combination of methods for different situations), the better we can beat the procrastination that plagues us!

All the best to you, too, Karin! Thanks for your essay, not only does it have great ideas, but I love the tone and the style of your writing! Great stuff!

14 Jenny Kane March 11, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Thanks Alanna for sharing your fun tips. It was encouraging to read about how you overcome procrastination. I tend to procrastinate too, so I need structure to keep me focused. But when I am too rigid, I rebel against myself and procrastinate. Your method honors the fun and excitement of writing each day. And when I am not procrastinating, I remember how much I love to write! It will be easy to remember too, log frog blog. I already got it!

Congratulations on winning second place!! Loved it.

15 Alanna Klapp March 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi Jenny! Thanks for reading and for your comment! I agree, when I’m too rigid with myself, I rebel and prcrastintate, too. When I first read Kelly L. Stone’s book and tried to set myself up on a schedule, I was rigid and when the time came to write, I didn’t do it. But once I started just writing down when I wrote and for how long, it became less of a “schedule” and something fun that I wanted to do, and then next thing I knew, I was on a “schedule,” it was almost like I tricked myself into it. It’s also funny how we all procrastinate on something we all love to do, which is write. I find the same result when I stop procrastinating, I remember how much I love it, and why was I sitting around flipping channels in the first place? I’m glad you find it easy to remember too, it actually came to me while I was napping and I knew I should write it down, but I fell asleep but did remember to write it down when I woke up, which rarely happens. Thanks again for your nice comment! =)

16 Vincent March 15, 2010 at 2:15 am

Hello, Alanna! It sounds amazing after reading your work; however, for me it’s a long way to catch up with since I procrastinate alot :-(. Though, reading inspirational articles do motivate me but that’s just for the time-being later it fades out…

Anyway, will try to reach up the ladder as fast as I can.

17 Alanna Klapp March 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Hi Vincent, thanks for reading! I think it’s easier to get started (I procrastinate a lot, too, and I get overwhelmed easily and often) if I don’t think in terms of how much I have to catch up on, because if I do that, I don’t want to do anything (and then I don’t, and then nothing gets done). But if I think of one small thing I have to do, and break that down into even smaller pieces, then it doesn’t seem like such a monstrous hill to get over. I don’t think you should try to get up the ladder as fast as you can, I think you should focus on the next rung and the steps to take to get to that rung. Don’t be too hard on yourself, either. Brian Tracy writes in his book that you will never be “caught up.” Ever. Reading that was very freeing for me (although I do still struggle with it, every day). If you like inspirational articles I really think you will like Brian Tracy’s book. Best of luck to you!

18 Paula B. March 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

I’m in awe of you, Alanna! Good for you for going after what you want!

(I’d be happy to eat a frog if it were chocolate.) 🙂

19 Alanna Klapp March 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Hi Paula! Thanks, that’s really nice of you to say!

(I think I’d eat a chocolate frog too!) 🙂

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