Last week we discussed the concept of percolation vs. procrastination. Percoloation is a positive thing which can happen at the beginning of a project or at certain points during a project when you need time to take a step back and think about things. Procrastination can stop us from ever starting or finishing a creative project so it is something that we need to be aware of. Awareness is the first step and I often think the key to becoming a more creative person. If there is something you have always wanted to do or a project you just can't seem to finish, you might ask yourself why. Recognizing why it is easier to clean the bathroom than write the first sentence of the novel you have dreamed of writing is the first step to beginning to write. Is it because you are afraid that you don't have time? Maybe you are afraid that noone will read your book or that you don't have something to say. Fear often stands in our way of reaching our goals. Recognizing that fear can be a normal part of the creative process is liberating. Overcoming fear by taking small steps towards our goals is empowering.
One way to overcome procrastination is by setting very small steps or goals for yourself. Getting your paints ready to begin is a step. Looking at references pictures is a step. Sketching one small part of the painting can be a step. Setting aside 5 minutes to paint is a step. What often happens when you give yourself five minutes to paint is that you quickly realize that you have painted for 20 or 30 minutes. It's getting started that is often the hardest thing to do. On the other hand if you only plan to paint for five minutes and then paint for five minutes you have met your goal and should celebrate those five minutes
Awareness of what has worked for you in the past is another way to overcome procrastination. I know that I have a hard time going to the gym but if I have a trainer waiting for me I will get there. I know that it's hard for me to walk the track on a regular basis but if a friend is waiting for me, I won't let them down. Does something like this work for you?
A big part of overcoming procrastination is recognizing the steps that you do take. Taking time to notice and celebrate the creative process is often overlooked. Have you ever thought of keeping a Tah Dah list to celebrate each tiny step that you are taking towards completing your project? TaDah lists can be lots of fun plus they help you recognize what you have accomplished rather than worrying about what you have not completed. Focusing on the positive helps in every aspect of life.
Having an accountability partner often helps. Checking in with someone who supports your efforts and is there to encourage you when the going gets a little rough can be a great help in keeping the momentum going. This is something new that I offer as a creativity coach and you can find more information here.
Procrastination happens to almost everyone at one time or another. If you have any questions about procrastination or possible ways to overcome it, don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to help you get your projects started today.
Next Wednesday I will talk about the importance of making mistakes and practice in the creative process. I hope you willl join me.
Remember: When you share your dreams and talent with the world, magic happens. Let the magic begin!