Procrastination:the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences of doing so. (Wikipedia).
This week, I was procrastinating 4 different things, and when I came to write this blog, the above definition surprised me as they didn’t all have ‘negative consequences’ so perhaps what I was experiencing was not procrastination…
One definition does say that it is the “habit of delaying an important task usually by focussing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead” – that I can relate to!
For the last couple of weeks, I have been working on a large painting – the largest I have tackled and it’s for a specific exhibition in August, which puts additional pressure to get it right. I kept putting off going to my studio to work on it. Then there was my office, which I had started to sort out, it was at the stage where everything was out in a jumble and again, I was resisting going and completing the task! I also had some DIY to do and some sewing to do.
I reflected on what I was avoiding, cycling round the four things in my mind and not doing any of them. I realised that there were different things at play here, intuition, lazyness and fear.
- Intuition – putting off continuing with my painting was intuition – I was still processing the next step, so far from procrastinating, I was giving myself valuable breathing space. This was a valuable insight.
- Lazyness – two of the tasks were chores, and you just have to get on with chores! I did one of them in 30 mins and the other in an hour, I must have wasted more time that that NOT doing them!
- Fear – I don’t know about other dressmakers, but cutting out the material is my biggest hurdle – the old carpentry addage “measure twice, cut once” equally applies to sewing. I was worried about wasting my lovely cotton – so I just took exta care, spending an hour cutting out the dress, and then only another 2hrs to complete it! Only this last one was true procrastination.
So, my tip to stop procrastinating? Reflect (journal even) on why, what are you avoiding? Are you giving yourself valuable thinking space before making your next move?