When creating myself, and when hearing about other artists creating, there are common themes and blocks that show up time and time again. Shared struggles that, although they’re slightly different in their fine detail, have enough similarities to make them worth discussing, and finding ways to overcome them.
Three of the most destructive and frequently appearing creativity blocks all begin with the letter P.
In this mini series of three posts, we’re going to look at each of the three, what they look like, and how you can protect yourself from attacks of these dangerous killer Ps. This is the second post. The first, on perfectionism, you can find here.
Killer P number two – Procrastination.
What it looks like: You never seem to get around to creating the work that’s most important to you because there’s always something else that seems more urgent or pressing on your attention and time.
Why it’s so destructive: Procrastination is one of the most devious characters we come across when we try to create, because much of the time it does its damage without us even noticing.
We convince ourselves that we will create after we “just” check our email, “just” make a quick snack, or “just” reorganise our art supplies one more time. In that moment, on the surface, it feels like these are legitimate tasks that need to be done, and they need to be done right now.
But then they expand to fill every last second we have and we end up never getting around to creating. The more of these little procrastinating tangents we go off at, instead of lessening, the more they seem to appear. We can never do them all, so we feel more and more pressured, and increasingly frustrated at not creating.
How to beat it: As we’ve discussed, the dangerous part with procrastination is how sneaky it is. Before we know it, half an hour has disappeared, we’ve created nothing, and we’re not sure what happened.
The first step to beating procrastination is to admit you procrastinate. Just like every other single person on the planet. Welcome to the procrastination party, we all drop in here from time to time, whoever we are, however creative we are.
Once you admit you procrastinate, it becomes so much easier to see the times when you’re doing it. You’ll know already, if I really pressed you on it, and you were completely open, what the two or three biggest procrastination habits you have are.
Mine? Checking email and blogs on my RSS reader is probably the worst, I still do this maybe three times as much as I need to. But I’ve become aware I do it, and how often, which has meant I procrastinate only a fraction of what I did when I was virtually oblivious to it. As a result I get a lot more of the important stuff done.
Set yourself a few days to become aware of your procrastination habits, and note down every time you get drawn into one of them. You’ll soon realise which are the worst offenders, and the ones you’re most easily drawn into. The more you notice them, the more obvious they’ll become.
Then, with that new awareness, you’re in such a powerful position. Procrastination can’t trick you like it used to it, you’re on its case, it’s out in the open in broad daylight and running scared, rather than operating sneakily at night in the shadows. The next step is to find the work that’s most important to you, get focused, and create.
The first in this mini series on the Killer Ps was about Perfectionism. You can read it here.
The third and final post is about Permission Thieves. You can read that here.
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