What we call something has a significant impact on our perceptions.
If you don’t start a project when you or someone else thinks you should, labeling it “procrastination” places a lot of negativity squarely on your shoulders. “Procrastination” can suggest laziness, hesitation, lack of responsibility, and indifference. Any of these individually (or collectively) represent a heavy burden; this burden makes it even more difficult to be creative and productive when you need to be.
While in school, and beating myself up more than I do now, I would have readily labeled myself a procrastinator. Many nights I wrote papers for next-day classes or began intense studying for tests right before they were to be given. Doing this never hurt the results though, since I earned strong grades throughout school.
With experience, however, it’s clear making progress on every project won’t begin right away.
Many really important projects will seem as if they should take a lot of effort over a prolonged period of time. Despite their importance, your approach to these projects may not unfold until very close to the deadlines they carry. Nearly every time though, what has to happen to make the project great comes into clearer view at the RIGHT TIME, the necessary creativity and productivity begin to flow, and the project gets done successfully.
What in my earlier life I’d have thought of as procrastinating, I now consider to be an integral part of managing the creative process. Through using creativity-instigating techniques which are shared here frequently, there’s now a high degree of confidence that when it makes sense to turn attention to a project (even if it seems really late in the game), the creative spark will be there to deliver what and when it’s ultimately needed.
I don’t pin the procrastination label on myself much at all anymore. Trust me – if you still think of yourself as a procrastinator, you should stop using the term too. You’ll be a lot happier, creative, and more fulfilled when you do. – Mike Brown
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