Friday, August 16, 2013

The Indie Intern - Procrastination

Being in a situation with loose supervision is problematic for me. For more than half of my life I’ve attended classes where I met with teachers several times a week. Beyond that I’ve always had parents and coaches and peers to push me. There was no real reason for me to develop a fool-proof way to self-motivate.

I suddenly have to rely on my own powers of self-discipline and responsibility. There is no one looking over my shoulder every day. This realization has been very important. It might be one of my biggest take-aways from this internship.

That doesn’t mean I’m doomed to middle-management or need to be supervised at all times; I need to be able to motivate myself so that I can have more effective autonomy.

The way I’ve done this is by creating “stations”. My home is where I relax. I have two part-time jobs so that I can earn a little cash while I become an adult, which is expensive nowadays. When I come home, I throw myself on the plushiest piece of furniture and see how long I can go without thinking. Naturally, this is hurdle I need to jump to get work done. 

But instead of making my entire home a place of dreaded work, I went about creating a new space. I realized that I don’t have a problem with working at my other jobs because I have a designated place to go. When I am there, I do my job.

My designated spaces for internship duties are my local library, coffee shops, and my desk. Instead of continuing to flounder, I identified my problems and found a solution that works for me. Now, when I need to do work but can’t find the motivation to do so at my desk at home, I muster the energy to pack up and leave the house.

Remaining productive is important to me. I want to write and make a comfortable living. These things do not go hand-in-hand. If I can’t write or work on personal projects, I can’t be happy. If I can’t do what is expected of me, I can’t be happy. We’ve all taken a look at what we need to accomplish and instantly felt bone tired, but we have all also felt the creeping depression that accompanies being unsatisfied.

I’m glad I’ve encountered this unexpected problem. Now I know how to better handle myself, and I can use that knowledge to make myself happier by applying it to my personal work in writing as well as my future professional goals.

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