Procrastination is the cause of many hours, days and years of lost creative time. In its most simple terms, procrastination is just doing something other than creating, when really, you’d rather be spending that time creating.
So why DO you procrastinate?
Surely if you can figure out WHY, you can start to beat procrastination, finally, after all these years?
This would seem the logical approach. But in fact it will only lead to MORE procrastination, not less. Let me explain:
Say you do ask yourself why you procrastinate. You might then answer – “maybe it’s because I’m not so familiar with this medium, I’m lacking in confidence.”
Or you might say – “maybe it’s because I’m close to the end of this project, and I’m putting off finishing it because then I’ll have to show it to the world.”
Maybe you’d say – “I’m procrastinating because I feel stuck with this project, I don’t know which direction to take next, so I’m avoiding making a decision and running with it.”
Most likely, there’s an element of all of these things in why you’re procrastinating. Along with potentially a thousand other things!
So where has this analysis and questioning got you? Has it helped you move forward? Has it helped you procrastinate less? No. It’s simply given you justification. Now you’re probably thinking – “No WONDER I procrastinate! Look at all these perfectly valid reasons! It’s amazing I’ve ever created anything in my life!”
Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, isn’t the greatest approach in overcoming the issue!
So what’s the alternative? If you don’t look at WHY you procrastinate, what else CAN you do that will actually help you create more?
Switch the WHY for HOW and WHEN and you’ll be well on the way.
Look honestly at how you procrastinate – your favourite techniques, the obvious large time wasters, plus the more innocuous ones that almost go unnoticed but lose you a few minutes here, a few minutes there, and add up to hours lost each week.
Then look at when you procrastinate – the times you’re most susceptible and vulnerable. These might be certain times of day, or certain stages of a project, or when you have other factors more prevalent in your life.
In both of these, simply be a detective, a neutral observer. Don’t attach any criticism or judgement.
Simply gather information on your procrastination habits. Information that will clearly give you the way forward in beating procrastination.
Forget the why, ultimately it doesn’t matter.
Once you know how and when, you can begin to lessen these times, to be more aware of the dangers and change your behaviour, and reduce this killer of creativity that’s hounded you for so long.