Go Ahead, Procrastinate…Or Wait Until Tomorrow

I am actually writing this from Starbucks. I have been having some Internet trouble at home today, so after a very frustrating morning, I decided to hit the road with my computer. I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to be very productive or creative here, but as luck would have it, a change of scenery turned out to be just what I needed.

Even with all the noise and distractions all around me, this place is full of energy.  And energy is always a good thing. I just wasn’t feeling that at home today, if you know what I mean.

My plate is so full right now that it is absolutely overwhelming. When I feel like I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start, I usually decide to do none of it until I have exhausted every other possible thing I could be doing instead. Yep, procrastination is a trademark trait of mine. I have always saved things until the last minute. But, I don’t consider it a character flaw.

Proactive procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For me it is all part of the creative process, and the end results are always positive.

I was never that person in college who started studying for an exam days or weeks before the exam date. Nope, I usually lightly studied until the day before the exam, then crammed. The same was and is still true with projects and presentations. If I know that something isn’t due for a week or two or three, I keep it on the back burner until it is absolutely staring me in the face, and always end up finishing it the night before it is due. It’s pretty common for me to pull an all-nighter.  But again, it’s just part of my process.

And what about the results, you ask? Always positive! In college I always scored very high on my exams, papers and projects. And in my professional life, I always create a much better end result on those projects that were put together the night before a big presentation, meeting or event. Since I know that about myself, I don’t beat myself up for procrastinating anymore.

Here’s a little sneak peak into what typically happens. See if you can relate to this…

I turn on my computer, open whatever program I am going to be using for my project, then minimize that program and open up my Internet browser. From there my ADD kicks into overtime as I switch between things like my Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, watching drumming and music videos on YouTube, checking out the latest articles on Mashable, reading my BFF Cheryl Howe’s latest blog, checking out the latest music from my friend Bon Evans, shopping on Amazon, and general surfing around. (I think you get the idea). Then, before I know it, an hour (sometimes two) has passed, and it’s about 10:00 pm, at which time I start doing math problems.  You know the kind: If I go to sleep by 1:00 am I will still get 5 hours of sleep.

Anyway, then I get busy…really busy. And when it’s late like that and quiet in my house, my brain kicks into high gear and I tap into all sorts of creativity. And somewhere around 2:00 am or so, I look at my finished project and think, “Ah, another masterpiece!” Then I go to sleep.

The fact is, if it didn’t work so well, I wouldn’t do it.  But years and years of successful execution has proven that this is the correct process for me. And that’s the point really. It’s all about what works for you.

Here’s an analogy for you (my husband has an analogy for everything, so I thought I would give it a shot). It’s like taking medication. If you and I take the same medication, it might keep me up all night, while putting you fast to sleep. It doesn’t affect us both in the same way. I have to take what works best for me and you have to do the same for you.

So, are you a procrastinator too? Or do you start working on something the minute you know about it and finish it well before it’s due? If so, more power to you!

6 Comments

  1. Procrastination is not one of “The Three P’s…. {Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.- Napoleon Hill}”
    But it is however a regular part to my daily routine. I dibble and dabble in things through the day and as soon as the moon comes up I kick into overdrive. Everything gets finished or to that next stage.
    Personally, if I did not dibble and dabble during the day then my night would be chaotic. Its because I half finish things, or even just start things, that I remember to finish them. When the surge of energy kicks in, I have lots on the table to accomplish.

    There is a Healthy level of Procrastination. I believe your self-control in procrastination is perfectly healthy. I live by the same model. Seems to be doing good so far 🙂

    1. Thanks Bon!

      I think most creative types are a bit similar, and we are more driven by moonlight than daylight. Procrastination has always been healthy for my creativity, much in the same way as my insomnia. The two often go hand-in-hand. I don’t fight either one anymore; I embrace them! It’s all part of the process.

      Cheers,
      M

  2. I try not to procrastinate as much as I used too. I get up early now because that’s when my house is the quitest. I think settling into creative work isnt’t the same as procrastinating. You need time to get your mind into a different place than the every day hustle and bustle. Just my thoughts. While you’re watching druming videos, you mind is probably working on your project on the subconscious level. I liked to let my subconscious do as much work for me as possible. It only looks like I’m daydreaming.

  3. It’s deliberate procrastination on my part, but I am saying that this is a good thing! It definitely lets me transition to a more creative place and allows me the time to find the inspiration I need. It has never failed me yet and I am a willing participant every time. I fought it for years, but it was useless. Now I give right into it and let it do its thing.

    Cheers!
    M

  4. I always tell people I practice JIT – ‘Just in Time’ management! I heard about it many years ago at a seminar and it matches me exactly ! I sent you an article.. Read it next time you’re avoiding your ‘to do’ list!

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