Thursday, April 14, 2011

Procrastination!? What Procrastination?

By Danielle Jackson

I don’t think I’m alone if I say that once you work in publishing, procrastination goes out the window. There’s literally no time to even think about procrastinating. As many of you know, publishing is a HUGE group effort—from our copy editors to our designers to our web team to our authors, it takes a lot of people to make one book… and Sourcebooks publishes around 300 books a year! Just think about what would happen if ONE person were to push things aside and put even the smallest kink in the process…

Luckily, we’re pretty efficient over here at Sourcebooks (and that’s not to say that there haven’t been issues with late books or cover re-designs at the last minute), and even when something does have to be arranged differently, we stay flexible to make the proper changes.

However, I do find small ways to procrastinate, in ways that won’t be detrimental to our publishing machine (which is wild and crazy and generally makes no sense):

-I won’t answer an email right away. A lot of you tell me I’m ridiculously fast with returning emails. The truth of the matter is, I’m OCD about that little Outlook envelop in my bottom right hand screen corner—for some reason I HATE IT. So I check emails to get rid of that envelope. However, in recent months, I’ve gotten “better” about letting things sit… for a few minutes at least.

- I rewrite my to-do list. I make an insane amount of to-do lists. I make one for each week every Monday morning, and usually make one each day. But then, I also make one throughout the current week, to plan for the following week. No, Seriously. I do. But when there’s a mountain of press materials that need to be written, or reports to be double-checked, I re-write one of my to-do lists, because, well, I’m just making sure I’m doing what I need to be doing!

- I read books! I think this goes without saying—when you work for a publisher, and you just so happen to love reading, you can’t really get in trouble for saying you’re reading, right? Because it’s an essential part of your job! :-)

- I hang out with a bunch of smart ladies, who have great ideas! So I might not start out talking to my colleagues (and currently, our all-star PR team is a total girls’ club—awesome!!) about a great marketing idea, and I know a few authors who like to chit chat in their emails throughout the day, but you never know what can happen when you start talking about Toasted Almond Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (dee-lish, btw) and end up with an idea for an email blast to librarians.

Admittedly, I have never really been one for procrastinating—it rides on my conscience too much when I know I should probably just finish something instead of checking Facebook all day (though, I do have to do that for my job, and by the by, I end up checking my own page)!

Are there certain things you almost procrastinate about? Or would you rather have that added pressure when you’ve put it off long enough, and you know you have to get it done?


  1. Hi Danielle,

    I totally get the email alert thing. While writing, I have to shutdown my email or I'm constantly stopping to answer a new email. It's almost like I can't keep writing when I know there's something waiting for me. Goofy.

    I almost procrastinate on doing my monthly reports. There's something about that task that I dread. Once it's finished, though, I realize why I felt so swamped. I was!

  2. Hey Danielle!

    I have to admit if I don't get to emails since I work full time and need to read and answer them in the morning before work, during lunch break and after work, I get swamped. If I don't answer them quickly enough, they get so buried, I don't remember not answering them. So it's just an important part of the publication/promotion process. :)

    I used to do lists but I finally gave up on them because I used to spend more time on them than anything else!

  3. Good mornin' Danielle,
    I hear you...I have too much to do in a day to procrastinate (well, other than dishes and closets and like I said closets have doors so that only leaves one thing).
    Whatever and however y'all are taking care of things at Sourcebooks is simply GREAT so keep up the anti-procrastination job!

  4. Danielle,
    I'm with you. I don't like to put things off. I like to get 'em done! When you talked about that "in box" that's me. I want to get them read and do whatever needs to get done. I don't even put off going to the dentist and I absolutely hate to go!

  5. Tracey-Exactly about the emails! I think I just know there's something in there waiting, so I answer it right away to at least add it to my growing to-do list ;)

    Terry-I always know when to email you :) And you answer them so quickly!

    Carolyn-Sometimes, I do put off vacuuming... I hate having to move stuff around!!

    Amelia-Agreed 100%! I'm glad I'm not alone in not procrastinating.

  6. Great blog, Danielle! I love lists too!! I especially enjoy checking out the lists at the end of the week and seeing all those tasks scratched off. The sense of accomplishment fires me up for the next week. :)

  7. I hate putting off stuff. I do like to get it done but I am the worlds worse for putting off stuff. I tell myself I am not going to do that anymore but I do it anyways. Put if off until the last minute.

  8. I love to do lists! I don't think I've ever rewritten one, though. :-)

  9. I'm the same way with email. If I leave it for a little while, it drives me nuts. I don't think that can really be considered procrastinating!

  10. When I worked outside the home, I usually never had a problem with procrastination (except filing - oh I hated filing lol). Maybe because not only was someone paying me to do a good job, I pretty much enjoyed what I did. I do believe when they say, if you want something done, ask someone who is busy. The more I had to do, the more I did. But when it comes to my personal life - I put off doing things I know I should be doing - such as housework and gift shopping - two things I don't really like to do lol so then I need the pressure of the deadline or I would never do it lol.

  11. Cathy-Isn't that the best? Seeing all of those things done? But we won't talk about all of the things that don't get scratched off!!

    Virginia-The way I look at it, even with people who do procrastinate, if that's what it takes for you to get it done, then that's what it takes! :)

    Olivia-Don't start! It becomes on obsession! I go through A LOT of post-its.

    Shana-From the looks of these comments, we should all start an email checking support group!

    catslady-Housework is probably the one thing I put off to a point that I have to really MAKE myself do it.

  12. Hey Everyone--Thank you all for stopping by the blog today! I just wanted to give a heads up; I'm about to leave for the day to get ready for the Obama Kick Off Fundraiser in Chicago tonight, so I probably won't check in again until much later tonight. I promise I won't put it off... ;)

  13. The older I get, the less I view it as a procrastination, and the more I see it as just keeping my priorities organized. Nobody, ever, not one time has been arrested for doing somebody else's vacuuming, for example. The housework WILL keep. Nobody, ever, though, not one time, turned in a sparkling manuscript on time by putting it off, day after day, week after week. This is not easy, but it isn't complicated either.

  14. I love my lists. I'd never get anything done if I didn't write down exactly what I was going to do - sometimes I even plot out when I'll do it. And if I do something not on my list? I'll stop and write it down, just so I can cross it off!

  15. Ah, another to-do list person, like me. So good to know! :}