You might have read the title above and thought it was a complete contradiction, or that a few words were missing. Like the words “is the opposite of” after the word “procrastination”.
But as I’m about to show you, procrastination, used cleverly and creatively (and I know you’re both clever and creative) can unlock an abundance of creativity that will make you feel like you’ve stumbled across some secret potent fuel that powers you to the moon. Or the sun. Or anywhere else in your universe you want to steer your rocket ship.
Let me explain how.
Procrastination we usually think of something that kills our creativity, sucks our time and causes us great frustration. It’s an enemy of creativity, one of the most destructive and insistent enemies there is.
In simple terms, when we procrastinate (I say “we” because if we’re honest both you and I procrastinate way more than we’d like to) we’re finding ways to avoid creating what matters, what’s important.
It’s a way of temporarily tricking ourselves into believing that cleaning our kitchens for the third time this week, checking our email for the thirteenth time today, or making yet another snack we don’t really need or want, are the absolute most urgent and important things we can be doing right now, the best use of our time.
“Creating the art that I love and that brings me more reward, enjoyment and pleasure than anything else can? Or having a sparkling kitchen worktop? Hmmm… I think the worktop is clearly the most important priority here…”
These are the kind of conversations and reasonings that occur in our heads.
“Once that worktop is clean I can REALLY focus on being creative. After I’ve checked my email just one last time. Oh and I’m sure that was my tummy growling, I’d better just make another snack before I get down to creating, so it doesn’t distract my flow later…”
Ever had these kind of internal conversations? Yep, me too.
Procrastination takes something less important to convince us to not do something more important.
And THIS is the key to how we can use it to be incredibly creative.
Say you have three creative projects you want to get started on. One idea has been burning in you for months, and keeps begging to be created. The other two are less insistent, but still projects you’re really keen to work on, ones that fire you up and excite you with their potential.
So let’s use procrastination to make a decision here on what to focus on.
That urgent smouldering you-can’t-ignore-me-for-one-more-second-because-I’m-going-to-burst-right-out-of-your-chest project is obviously the most important. So we can’t work on that one. Remember the basis of procrastination – it uses something less important to convince us to avoid doing what’s most important.
So how about to make sure we don’t get down to creating that most important work, we pick the second most important project. One that you still are highly motivated about and can’t wait to get started.
By working on this one, you’re avoiding the big project, so your procrastination will be happy.
This sounds too obvious and you would expect your procrastination to be smart and wise to what’s happening.
Here’s the key thing – your procrastination IS smart. But you’re smarter. Every single time.
Procrastination is just a part of you. It comes from you, you’re the greater, smarter, more creative entity that’s in control.
You’re the one that’s making the rules and taking the choices.
So whilst you’re happily lost in creating your second most important project, your procrastination is sitting back with a pina colada topping up its tan by the pool with a smug grin on its face. Because it’s got what it wants. It’s “convinced” you to avoid the most important creative project.
You can use this as often as you want. Going from project to project, creating freely and happily while your procrastination turns a shocking shade of lobster in the sunshine.
Isn’t that a huge step forward from doing trivial and unnecessary activities like cleaning already clean worktops and checking email already checked five minutes before?
Of course it is. Without doubt.
Your most important creative projects will keep calling you. They always will, they’ll never fall silent.
But because you’re constantly creating anyway, working on art that genuinely inspires and motivates you, you’re creativity will reach new levels. Making it even more powerful, and it even more likely that you’ll gradually spend time on the biggest projects anyway.
If you want to you can take this even further. State your most important project as actually building your own rocket ship. Then to avoid doing this, get on with that second most important work – finishing your novel, or your play or your symphony.
Remember, you’re in control. Procrastination is smart, you’re smarter.
Play it at its own game and outsmart it, and in the process create a consistent stream of rewarding creative projects that take you from strength to strength. Or that fly you in your rocket ship from from star to star.
Try this today. Let me know what you create.
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