Procrastinating has a bad reputation. “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” But if you are a chronic procrastinator who still produces successful work, you may be doing it right after all.
Putting things off until the last minute can certainly lead to high levels of stress and less attention to detail. However, some forms of procrastination can lead to high levels of efficiency:
- Take breaks when you lose concentration? When your mind reaches a point where it is easily distracted from the project at hand, let it. Step away for a little while, close the laptop, take a walk, read a chapter. When you get back to work, you will be energized for the next step.
- Think before you type? They say that Mozart composed all of his music in his mind and then just wrote it all down. You may not be a musical genius, but some of your creative work is going on in your head before you hit the keyboard. If you find that by the time you sit down to create you have made a lot of the decisions, you weren’t really procrastinating.
- Look for inspiration? We are surrounded by information and inspiration. If we are open to it, ideas will come to us while we are doing other activities. Keeping track of those ideas is part of the creative process, even if they come to us during a run or a movie.
- Take a second pass? Some people spend a lot of time trying to get their first draft as close to final copy as possible; others grind out a rough idea and refine it later. Taking time to let that rough draft percolate and coming back to it with a more detached point of view can lead to a better result in the end.
I was supposed to write this blog post on Sunday. But it was Mother’s Day, so I wrote it on Monday. Yes, I procrastinated, but I had a lovely day. Did it work out?
Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative