Procrastination is a familiar foe of anyone creative. Which means procrastination is something that negatively affects ALL of us to some degree or other.
(I’m just starting to write this after having avoided it for a few hours for other desperately urgent tasks like folding and putting away washing, checking the latest few hundred posts on my RSS reader and, um, eating chocolate shortcake biscuits.)
In simple terms, procrastination is doing something relatively unimportant as a way of avoiding doing something more important.
It manifests itself in dozens of seemingly innocent ways, a few of those I just mentioned.
Because these days we are more highly socially connected than ever before, the potential for procrastination is greater then ever before. Imagine 10 or 15 years ago, how fewer distractions we had to stop us creating!
Procrastination is a habit, which means it’s something we learn, then do it so automatically we don’t even realise we’re doing it until it’s too late and there’s another half an hour, half a day, half a year, half a decade forever gone…
The good news though, is we can UNlearn procrastination, and develop new habits that mean we will be far more vigilant to the most common procrastination temptations. As a result, we’ll all be far more creative.
So how do we start to unlearn the art of procrastination?
The first step is to admit we procrastinate, and become aware of when we’re doing it. And a great way of doing this is to keep a form of diary. What we’re aiming for here is to record all the different ways we avoid creating, as well as the times, and circumstances when we’re most susceptible.
Just recognising the main temptations is a very good start, and by also noting when and where we procrastinate most, we can build up a complete profile of the habit. Then we can begin to overcome it.
A crucial point to mention here. You’ll most likely be shocked at how much time you procrastinate, as well as all the different ways. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Treat this exercise as the first step towards a more creative, more aware phase of your life. This is not the time for judgement or recrimination or mourning the time lost in the past. From this point on, you’re going to be more creative.
Besides, once you realise how much creativity you were channeling into finding different, ever more devious ways of procrastinating, you can redirect all THAT creative energy into more important stuff too.
Once you identify the main ways you procrastinate, you’re in a far more powerful position to be more creative.
To make this even more effective, I invite you to share your top 5 procrastination habits with us here.
Then we can all smile in recognition at what we all post, and move on to becoming more aware and more creative together.
Is that a deal? : )