We all do it, Procrastination

So I just listened to Pauline Wallin speak about procrastination. I am friends with, married to, and even though I pride myself in my multi-tasking, AM, a procrastinator.  If you aren't one, I will bet you know one!  This is a learned behavior which, fortunately, means it can be unlearned.  Finally we all can be free from thinking its just something that we are!  There are a lot of reasons we all procrastinate, admittedly some, more than others.  I know some of my own excuses have been getting something else done first, not having enough time to finish the task or the famous "I'm not inspired!" 

 The reality is we spend more time feeling stressed by the task than the amount of time it actually takes to do it.  Something that was said which really struck home with me is "Inspiration begins AFTER you start not BEFORE".  When I think about it, it really is true.  This most definately relates to creativity but I think it is the equivalent of starting something and realizing its not as bad as you thought it would be.  We all build tasks up to be giants in our heads and we feel like it is impossible to tackle.  By engaging in the process, even if it is only for a limited time, it will feel more manageable. 

 Another advantage to avoiding procrastination, beyond all the stress you will avoid, is you allow your mind to make all sorts of connections it may not have if you were pressed for time.  You avoid "tunnel vision" which really will open you up to different ways of getting to the, and hopefully better, end result.  I am a person who truely loves and responds to deadlines but I'm not always sure the deadline needs to be the point of no return, super bad things will happen if, do not miss this, actual deadline. 

 One thing I have consciously been trying to do in recent months, is to avoid my own defeatist thoughts.  When starting a new project, and I find myself calculating the hours it will take until it would be done, I stop myself and just start on one part.  That could be sketching, laying a piece out, scanning, whatever it is, I do something.   I try to remind myself to not worry about the end result and to just worry about what I am doing that moment.  I also try to start the next step instead of being satisfied with just completing the current step. This way I am not tempted to put off the next item on my list and the next time I sit down to work, I will already be engaged. 

 Find out what motivates you and give yourself a reward or something to work towards.  I love lists, dorky as it may be, I get great satisfaction out of crossing something off.  I have obviously passed this gene along to my daughter who began making pictoral lists long before she was even able to write!  I have recently implemented this into my jogging, where I will dot my calendar every day I run.  Like I said this is what I respond to, yours may be getting up and taking a break, or going out to dinner or lunch.  Either way, if you provide a reward you will be more likely to keep going and complete your goal, in addition to the fact you will no longer have to waste any more mental energy on the thing you didn't do. 

 So here's to all of us tackling those lists of to-do's and hopefully retraining our procrastination tendencies!