With more free time on my hands than ever before I am left wondering if procrastination really is the enemy of creativity? At the moment, due to the UK being currently on lockdown, I am not working my day job. As a result I have plenty of time to do, well, everything. But still I find myself dragging my feet.
Take this blog for example. Recently there has been a regular blog post up every Monday morning. Emailed to all my lovely mailing list subscribers and live on my website for all to see. This in itself is an achievement for me as I have wanted to start a blog for a long time. I enjoy writing my posts! It doesn’t feel like a chore or a hassle. It’s fun to start making notes and see my thoughts spill out onto the page. Which brings me neatly to my point – why am I writing this post on Sunday night when I have had a whole week to write it?
I am using this unexpected time off to further my own business. I am drawing a lot more and have caught up on a few projects I had started. But there are still tasks which I move from one day’s to-do list to the next. More interesting thoughts are popping into my head and they get top billing, with the ones I’m putting off drifting to the bottom of the pile. But is procrastination the enemy of creativity? Or do some tasks need to brew in my mind for longer before they, and I, are ready?
I spend my professional life working to deadlines and being organised about what gets done and when. But now there is no set structure and no time limit. I begin to feel guilty about procrastinating because I have no excuse not to be creative and productive all day now, right? There are no obstacles, no outside influences to put me off the job at hand so when I am being “unproductive” really I am just being “lazy”.
However, my own creativity cannot be forced. Letting an idea sit for a while in my subconscious definitely helps. A great thing about having a 9 to 5 job to work my side hustle around is that I spend my day thinking about other things. It allows notions I have for my own work to bob along in the background until I’m ready to work with them. The difference is that in my usual situation I don’t feel “lazy”. I am busy at work and socially and then when I am ready to spend time on my own projects they are not new, they’ve been percolating in my mind for a while and are good to go!
I’ve never had more free time than I do now. It is allows unforced creativity. Ordinarily procrastination would be a terrible waste of time. But now it allows for inspiration and experimentation. When an idea would usually be rushed into production there is now time to question it’s every aspect. Try different models, develop new designs or even attempt an alternative way of processing the task at hand altogether.
I am not sure there are many artists, designers or writers who can sit down every day and consistently produce new work for a whole day, five days a week. And if you are one of them I would love to hear how you do it! For me it is an entirely different process. I am now learning to recognise the value in a little procrastination.