The Practice of Creativity

Exploring ‘World-Class’ Procrastination

Posted on: November 30, 2015

There are exquisite pains and gifts within procrastination. When we put off beginning or completing a creative dream, we escape judgment and failure. . . Most of us are involved in procrastination to some degree–let’s bring it out into the open, speak of it with gentleness and humor–admit when it’s crushing us or stopping our joy.
SARK, The Bodacious Book of Succulence

In July, I asked readers to take a one question poll and answer the following: What is the biggest obstacle you face in your creative life?

The second highest response after ‘finding consistent time to work on projects’ was ‘procrastination’.

I consider myself a recovering ‘world-class’ procrastinator. I often procrastinated with writing and creative projects because of fear, anxiety, ambivalence, not knowing how to ask for help and support, discomfort with ambiguity in the creative process, and not knowing how to start or stop a project. My procrastination pattern was both deep-seated and well-developed.

procrastination-breaking-habit

As creative people, many of us are struggling with world-class perfectionism issues. We usually suffer alone without support or guidance. We often feel guilty and angry about our behavior, but we rarely stop to ask why and how we developed these ways of being in the world. The work of one of my mentors, Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy aka SARK has been of enormous help to me. Many of her books explore the varied facets of procrastination. Until we look at our emotional history of procrastination, our ability to change, interrupt and soften this pattern will be ineffective.

The questions below come from SARK’s Bodacious Book of Succulence. They invite you to explore more deeply the pains and gains regarding procrastination.

 

Procrastination

  • Are you aware of procrastination in your life?
  • How does procrastination affect you?
  • In what ways do you stop yourself from experiencing joy or success?
  • When do you first remember feeling procrastination?
  • Were your parents procrastinators?
  • Is someone close to you a procrastinator?
  • What gifts do you receive from procrastinating?

My additional questions:

Do you delay on projects important to you even when you feel physical or emotional pain?
When you procrastinate do you find yourself saying that working last minute helps spur creativity?
Who might you become without this pattern of procrastination?
What kinds of activities do you never procrastinate on?

 

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2 Responses to "Exploring ‘World-Class’ Procrastination"

Hi Michele,

I used to be a light procrastinator out of fear that my projects are too big and my skills too inadequate. For the past two years at least, I find myself procrastinating lesser. I still put tasks off but it’d usually be due to lack of time, and that I’ve been working on other tasks (writing/publishing/illustrating-related) for the whole day and evening, and my brains are too melted for me to do anything else. I reckon if I manage my time better and put a definite end to procrastination out of fear, I could be twice more productive. Might have more books released. 🙂 Your recent posts often make me reflect on my work pattern and how I can improve it. Thanks so much!

Dear Claudine,
Thanks so much for this comment. It sounds like you have made a lot of progress in dealing with procrastination. Yay! Fear is definitely one of the number one things that stops us. But, I have found that that more we have the experience of completion with projects, the fear tends to lessen. And, when we ask ourselves, ‘well what’s the worse that can happen’ and really take that into account, we see our challenges in a much more realistic light.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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