There is no such beauty as procrastination in action. I find I can get so many errands run, cakes baked and the house cleaned within an inch of its life when I have something that I actually want to do. Hi, my name is Nicky and I am a procrastinator.
I think it is absolutely astounding how I (but I’m presuming I’m not alone) can get every nasty and unfun task completed before I take the time to do the things I love. Why is that? Do I not receive more benefit from creating something that makes me smile? Does my soul not soar when I allow my brain to run wild through the dazzling fields of my imagination? (I say “brain.” I mean “mind.” If I let my brain run wild, there will be one catatonic polymer clay artist and a lot of terrified bystanders. However, there will also be one less zombie starving for nourishment. *shrugs*. It’s nice to think about how we can help others ^_^.) The fact of the matter is that housecleaning, and other such mundane tasks, are mindless. I can get them done without truly thinking about them. My passions, on the other hand, require so much more.
Not only do I need to think about the idea I’m working on, but I need to make a start, fail, troubleshoot, alter, possibly fail again, apply new changes, fail… At some point, however… Success! But failure is inevitable. I don’t mean to be some kind of Negative Nancy, here. I’m just stating what procrastination is for me; it’s avoiding failure.
I know the end product is going to be amazing! I am going to sit back, after hours of sweat, tears, blood (don’t worry, it’s not mine), and bask in the awesomeness of a completed piece. A wondrous, invisible muse that I plucked from the air and gave shape and form to. It will be my greatest success. A masterpiece. I’m overcompensating here. It’ll probably just be… bees. Or something. (But they will be the bestest and most awe-inspiring polymer clay bees in existence! *shakes fist*… What a great idea! I’m gonna make bees!). Anyhoo, where was I? Ah, yes. Failure. So, if I can put off using actual brainpower, I can also avoid failing and the harsh self-critism that ensues.
What I have learned, however, is that failure isn’t something to be feared. It is something to be harnessed and used as a driving force to move forward. Without failure, there is no success. Without mistakes, I cannot learn. And I am a well-schooled child of disaster. I cannot imagine where I would be now if I was never granted the opportunities to stop, reflect and gain insight to what I am doing and to remind myself of what my original purpose was. I think that if I thought my work was perfect first time, every time… I’d be lousy! Yeah, think about it. There would be no room for refinement. No time taken to expand one’s skills. No character development! We would be an assembly line of mindless creators. A mindless creator. Does this idea scare anyone else?
Difficulties are what help us grow as people.
So, how does one overcome difficulties, challenges and stressors? In four easy steps:
Step 1: Give birth to an idea (don’t think about childbirth. It’ll put you off)
Step 2: Infuse that idea with life (sit down, put up and shut up)
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: Profit
Step 3 is my favourite. It allows for true creative genius to flow. Seize mystery by the horns and give it a great big, loving kiss on the mouth. Although Step 3 is the most romantic (according to me), Step 2 is crucial. Just stop. Sit down. And get to it. It’s about telling yourself that your entire life doesn’t have to be completely sorted, cleaned, completed and alphabetised just so you can put bum to seat and write a single blog post! You know… if you’re into that kind of thing. Allow me to share something with you:
This is my workspace. For all of you who know me, you’ll know that this is doing my head in. I’ve recently moved house and my workspace is also being used for temporary storage (and I assure you, it is temporary). So, I am squished to one end of my desk because this is all I can currently access. But let’s look at the success in the mess.
Baby steps, people! I’m preaching about how to defeat procrastination when I am clearly still an addict. But break each goal down. For me, I still did the laundry, but I left the task incomplete by not putting it away. This doesn’t seem like an epic win, I know. But I am the kind of person who likes to finish what I set out to do, and then it is done. Ticked off the list (yes, I’m a list-maker). So, this is a start.
Bottom line: You want something done? Freaking do it. Before someone else thinks it up and patents it. No sympathy here. If I miss an opportunity merely because I was too lazy or too fearful to take advantage of it, well, I’ll own that. But I hope not to put myself in a position where that will be an option.
P.S. Do you reckon you’ll think about childbirth next time you have an idea?
You will now.