Procrastination, You’re The One, Will You Be My Wife?
So while I anxiously await her reply and think about honeymoon destinations (fingers crossed she likes Paris), let me explain why.
As creative people, we’re at our most prolific and creative when we focus on just one thing.
Yes, we can (and usually do) have a number of different creative projects underway at any one stage in our lives. But we can’t work on more than one of them in any one moment.
If I was to try to write a few haikus, capture some new woodland photos of summer unfurling, whilst dancing salsa, it would be impossible.
I could do those three different activities in a day, but to get the most from each experience, and to give my best effort and my fullest creative me-ness to each, I would do them one at a time.
The times in the past when I’ve been most creative, have been when I’m been totally immersed and focused on a single task or project.
For example, a while ago I committed to a personal writing marathon of six hours straight. I simply let the people I lived with know of my intentions, asked for their understanding, locked myself in a room and wrote for six hours. I came up with about 5000 words for a novel; it was a great experience.
Think about times when you have been most lost in creating.
Those occasions where you’ve completely lost touch with time and your surroundings, and your entire experience of the whole world during that session was just you creating. Powerful experiences aren’t they?
So, how does this kind of focused creativity relate to my love of procrastination?
Procrastination at is most simple definition is doing one thing to avoid doing something else.
Now if the “one thing” is always pretty meaningless stuff like checking your email for the 14th time that hour, or cleaning a kitchen worktop that’s already more sterile and shiny than a surgeon’s scalpel, and the “something else” is writing that novel that’s burning inside you, then it’s not so good.
Procrastination in this kind of scenario is not helpful, because you’re losing out on doing work that’s meaningful and important to you.
But what if you get on side with procrastination, charm her a little, talk about how you can help each other and both live together very happily?
What if the “one thing” you’re doing to avoid something else is itself a very creative and productive activity that you love doing?
An example. Say you have two creative projects you’re dying to get to work on. A new website design, and collection of short stories. Which do you want to avoid doing the most? Which is the most scary?
Let’s say it’s the short story collection. So, do you know what would be a REALLY great way of procrastinating and avoiding spending even a second of time on that project? Immersing yourself in something that’s so involving it’ll help you forget about the short stories altogether for now. Something like your new website design.
So there you are, highly focused on designing your site, and making more progress than you’ve done in weeks. In the meantime Miss Procrastination is delighted because she’s helping you completely avoid compiling that short story collection. Win/win!
You can get incredible amounts done when you’re procrastinating.
I’m sure you can attest to this yourself. The energy and furious activity that’s generated when you’re trying to avoid doing something is immense.
All you have to do is channel this into something else.
Here I have a personal confession. In my creativity coaching business, if I’m not sure what to do with my time, or what task is most urgent, I write an article for the blog, to avoid making a decision.
I’m certainly not saying you should always avoid making decisions, but if in the meantime you do something creative, the time is put to great use anyway.
It’s this use of procrastination that’s allowed me to write a new post virtually every day for the last three months. That’s why I love the power or procrastination.
Try this yourself. Think about the one thing you’re most afraid of working on and committing your creativity to. Then make sure you don’t spend any time on it by unplugging all distractions and locking yourself away in a defiant act of procrastination and working on the next most important thing.
Oh, please excuse me, I have to go now. My phone just vibrated, it might be my future bride with her answer. Au revoir mon ami!
(Main post image from Flickr by Magec)
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