Creator or procrastinator? - Taking control over your creative life again!

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When I hear or read interviews about creatives talking about their creative process, it is really funny to also hear the misconception involved in it. "It sounds so easy! They are really focused! Why can’t I be as focused as well?" It frequently gives the impression that the creative process is magical and the results are the consequence of coordinated steps which turn into a “creative dance” with a magnificent result. If the creative process were a dance, it would be a tango, where the partner is the uninvited participant in the process called procrastination.

Procrastination is something creatives have to deal with and sometimes embrace. No-one procrastinates on purpose and that is why it can be really frustrating. You do not get things done because you end doing things that even weren’t on your plans or that were in your plans, but it just isn’t the right moment to do it. Suddenly your daily goals start to seem distant and another day is gone.

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Procrastinating gives such a bad feeling and also a sense of frustration and deception. You swear yourself you will not fall in the trap again, but it keeps happening and taking control over your creative life. Our attention is fluctuating, leaving wishes and dreams on the second plane. That is why procrastination is so uncomfortable. It keeps saying somehow “no” to your dreams while your subconscious keeps saying “yes”. It feels like a betrayal on ourselves, sometimes for things that not necessary mean pleasure but obligations instead.

I have to accept, that I personally have to struggle with it each time I write a post for this blog or when I want to take some time to draw. There is always some "amount of procrastination" involved. It does not matter how much I love doing these activities. Procrastination is always there waiting for the minimum distraction to turn everything into a mess.

The time has come to overcome it and take some action. It is time to take your creative life in your hands again! Recognizing the problem is very important and probably the most important step of all. Sometimes is not that obvious, but if you are not getting things done in your creative life, maybe it is time to give it a second thought. Take a breath and a couple of minutes without distractions to think of what is really happening.

Once the problem is recognized, you better take all distractions away or minimize it as much as possible while creating. Working on digital mediums as your computer, tablet or telephone, can be the main reason it happens. Deactivating notifications can be helpful. If you have to use your browser, while working on your project, avoid social networks and watching videos. You know how easy it is to fall in one of those video chains and the “just one more”.

Having all you need with you while you are working can be very helpful. I am not just talking about materials like pencils and notebooks. I also mean things like snacks and having enough to drink with you. It will avoid going to the kitchen to get a glass of water and then realizing that you haven’t washed the dishes to notice at the same time that you have not watered your plants in days, and that are some clothes you have to fold… Yes, house chores are as risky as watching videos on Youtube when you are creating.

Read some articles about procrastination. It will help you to understand better what is happening and why you cannot get things done. Acknowledging the problem can be really helpful to make better conscious decisions. And please, do it out of your creative season. These are some of the awesome articles which can be really helpful:

  1. Wait But Why: Why Procrastinators Procrastinate

  2. Brain Pickings: Anna Deavere Smith on How to Break the Paradox of Procrastination

  3. Creative Mornings: Jakub Vopelák: Procrastination

  4. Darius Foroux: How To Beat Procrastination (backed by science)

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Once you have taken action, it is time to keep your vision and let it fluid. Staying focused also means compromising with the creative you. No matter how much you love that side of yourself, it can be really challenging. But that is also the reason why giving a try is worth in order to avoid procrastination. Your creativity deserves your time and your talent. Give it as much as it deserves!

If the creative process were a dance, it would be a tango, where the partner is the uninvited participant in the process called procrastination.

So, do not forget:

  • recognize the problem,

  • turn off notifications on your deceives,

  • minimize distractions,

  • have everything you need with you,

  • have enough water and snacks with you,

  • inform you about the problem,

  • keep your vision and let it fluid,

  • stay focused,

  • and, why not, accompany all this with your favorite music…

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