By Rohi Shetty

“Perfectionism and Procrastination lead to Paralysis!” ~Roy Sorrels

The three top obstacles that are responsible for writer’s block are:

Perfectionism leads to fear of failure and that in turn leads to procrastination.

The good news is that Peter Shallard, aka the shrink for entrepreneurs has devised a system called the Five Pillars of Productivity to destroy procrastination once and for all.

The Five Pillars of Productivity are (drum roll, please):

  1. Specificity
  2. Measurement
  3. Accountability
  4. Deadlines
  5. Play

1. Specificity

The most effective way to set daily writing goals is to ask yourself a single question:

“What can I do today, entirely on my own, in this day and this day alone?”

This question helps you to set goals that are neither too fuzzy nor too detailed.

Ask yourself this one question every day. Then take action on your answer.

For example, you can set yourself the goal to write 500 words daily.

2. Measurement:

Measurement and recording of simple daily steps is a powerful way to boost your motivation.

The first step is to choose a specific writing-centric goal.

As in the first pillar, this could be to write 500 words.

Then you need to keep a daily record of it.

The most famous example of the effectiveness of this method is Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity tip “Don’t Break the Chain. Jerry resolved to write jokes for a few minutes daily. Each time, he succeeded, he drew a big red “X” over that day on a large wall calendar. Eventually, Seinfeld created a chain of red “X”s. This motivated him to never break that chain and continue the string of big, red Xs.

(Free resource: The “Don’t Break the Chain” calendar –One-year writing goals calendar based on Jerry Seinfeld’s method. It allows you to start on any day of the year.)

3. Accountability

Accountability helps you to achieve your goals because someone else holds you accountable. If you don’t have any accountability, you cannot achieve anything. It’s the only pillar that is dependent on someone else. The bad news is that it’s not easy to find a reliable accountability buddy. One solution is to join an online writing group or forum.

4. Deadlines

In order to build the pillar of deadlines, you have to build the other three pillars first. It’s impossible to set meaningful deadlines consistently without specificity, measurement and accountability.

The alternative to deadlines is Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

5. Play

If you want to sustain long term success as a writer, you must regularly schedule activities that you love to do. “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” is a popular proverb because it is true.

According to Peter Shallard, when you implement these five principles, you will eliminate procrastination forever. However, you have to integrate all the five pillars of productivity into your business and your life.

For more in depth explanation of Shallard’s system to beat procrastination, check out his free training: The Five Pillars of Productivity video tutorial series.

How do you deal with procrastination and writer’s block?

Let us know in the comments below.

(24 September 2014)

Rohi Shetty has published five illustrated e-books for children on Amazon. Subscribe to his blog Write. Publish. Repeat. to receive free copies of his e-books and connect with him on Google+.

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