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PE: Procrastination and Creativity

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 6:00 AM

 Procrastination and Creativity

Procrastination by FireCaster

"You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that?
Last-minute panic."

Bill Watterson

You are well-aware of the importance of this project, in fact you can't wait to get to it! Too bad you promised your friends to go for a drink, and then there's that movie. Also, your productivity is at its strongest at Midnight, first Tuesday after the Full Moon, starting earlier would be a waste of time. Make sure you are well-rested! After all, is there a better way to prepare yourself for a productive tomorrow than an enjoyable today? Relax

 Your diagnosis: Procrastination positive. Devilish

procrastination by Fukari

"Someday is not a day of the week."

Janet Dailey

:-? (Confused)  What is procrastination

- In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing more urgent actions with tasks less urgent. More importantly, doing so willingly, fully realizing the consequences.
- Counterproductive, needless, delaying behavior can be classified as procrastination.
- Often results in stress, sense of guilt and crisis, severe loss of personal productivity as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments.
- Impulsive personalities as well as perfectionists have more tendencies to procrastinate, but for very different reasons.

Procrastination is extremely prevalent. While many people procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning and disrupts one's career or personal life. Psychologists consider procrastination a troubling phenomenon that does not appear to be disappearing anytime soon.

Student syndrome

Estimates indicate that 80% - 95% of college students engage in procrastination, approximately 75% of them consider themselves procrastinators and almost 50% procrastinate consistently and problematically. "Student syndrome" refers to the phenomenon where a student will only begin to fully apply themselves to a task immediately before a deadline. It usually includes more of a plan and sincerely good intentions. For example, if a student asks his professor for an extension to a deadline, he defends his request by how much better his project will be given more time to work on. He fully intends to commit to improving his paper or project, but he ends up close to the same situation he started with, wishing he had more time.

Nuu I want to get rid of it!

:bulletpurple: Firstly, learn to recognize when you start procrastinating and why it happens. There are plenty of reasons, from low self-esteem and fear of success to pure laziness. Remember, your performance "still being better than the other dude's" is not a reason to keep the denial going.

:bulletpurple: Resist the temptation of numerous distractions. The key is to believe in yourself, your ability to complete the task and even enjoy the process, as opposed to the certitude of incapability and boredom often causing procrastination.

:bulletpurple: Set time challenges. I'm sure you are familiar with the "race myself to see how fast can I get it done" method. Another one I find effective is an everyday painting/creative challenge.

:bulletpurple: Create "artist" hours. Just like office hours, during those do NOT do chores, answer phones or unimportant e-mails. Let your family know your schedule and insist on not being disturbed, use this time to create art.

:bulletpurple: Be realistic at what you can accomplish, over-committing yourself causes needless stress. Also, give yourself enough time to get things right, what's the point of finishing something fast just to find out you have to re-make the whole thing.

:bulletpurple: Stay on task. Under any circumstances. God forbid you get into new projects before finishing the one you are currently working on, one day you will find yourself surrounded by unfinished paintings.

Ball pen art - Work VS passion by ArtisAllan

Structured Procrastination

Structured Procrastination is an interesting method to make this bad trait work for you. Main idea is that procrastinating doesn't mean doing absolutely nothing but rather marginally useful things, like gardening, making a diagram of how you will reorganize your files when you get around to it or, well, painting something you are not supposed to be painting at that moment. This method is based on a fact that procrastinators can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.

Procrastination Inspired by PillsburyMassacre09

:O_o:  But really, can you set a time-frame on being creative?

Creativity is a very delicate flower. It occurs unconsciously and sometimes gets strongly chained down when interrupted or pushed too hard. Am I trying to give you a reason to procrastinate? Not at all, what I've suggested above still applies, however learning to utilize your strongest moments will allow you to keep much more effective work schedule. In another words, there are moments beyond your control when you should, for the next big creation's sake, break a couple of rules listed above and 'play your cards'.

:floating:  EXCEPTIONS...for the sake of creativity!

:bulletgreen: If you get an idea, you get an idea. Keep a notebook at hand to make notes. Write down every thought. Once you have nothing more on your mind, get back on the project you were working on. Structured procrastination theory suggests that the ideas WILL start flowing like a river once you start dealing with an important but rather boring project.

:bulletgreen: From time to time, take a break from commissions and very important duties and paint something just for yourself. No limits, no other people's opinions, you were working hard so now bring it all out, on to the canvas! Tomorrow you will have to do things other people want you to do, but today you have a free hand!

:bulletgreen: When you're "on the roll", keep rolling! This happens sometimes, you work on something for a longer time and you are getting the hang of it, make an extra painting or a story despite the fact that you should be moving on.

:bulletgreen: Seriously, not getting things done due to 3 hours of sleep every night is not procrastination, it's madness. Get some sleep, okay?

Waiting by CloverKane

"Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act."

Paulo Coelho

Do you consider yourself a procrastinator? What do you think is the most common reason for procrastinating, in your case?

How did you try to get rid of the habit?

Feel free to share your thought in the comments below Heart

Important notice: Writing of this article have been heavily procrastinated to the last minute before the deadline. Things you gotta do for the research ;) (Wink) 
Also, my balcony looks fabulous since the day I was supposed to start writing...


References & for further reading

Wikipedia | Piers Steel, The Nature of Procrastination (2007) | Why we procrastinate and how to stop | Overcoming Procrastination | Structured Procrastination
Steve Pavlina, Overcoming Procrastination | The Cost of Procrastination | Theories of Procrastination | Scientists research why procrastination is getting worse

Previous articles  OMG MOAR POEMS!

Developing your personal style The Impact of Color The power of context I don't know what to paint Dealing with a negative feedback Learning to paint with DeviantArt 5 excuses why you just can't do better 5 reasons to believe in yourself 9 tips to be more creative 9 ways to overcome (artistic) Frustration
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bennartistic Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this constructive article. I have a lot of reasons why procrastinate artistically, but the major one in self doubt alongside comparing myself to others that have been in the art game for awhile. Fortunately, I have come to the realization that once I sit down and actually focus on drawing, my work is not disappointing. I do have to implement the ideology that even if the work is disappointing that its a good thing because its all part of the process of evolving into a better artist. I also have come to the understanding that all work is not going to be appealing and thats okay, its not hindering, but humbling in a sense. As a note to self and others that might be reading my post, especially those that are just finding their creative ability; don't compare yourself to others, admire and strive to be at the same level of ability or better. Thank you for this extremely helpful post.  
YumeNox Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Really constructive article. I learned reading it. I feel more motivated to start controlling procrastination  (not only in art ... ) :) thank you !! 
HitlerKiller66 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Student Digital Artist
pwassonne Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I definitely have that student syndrome thing but I can't identify the reason... or maybe it's a mixture of all of them XD
ShinpanX Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I am a procrastinator. My main issue that I've noticed for myself  is how unorganized my thoughts are and lack of motivation to finish my writing.
I'm still dealing with it, trying to think of ways to get over but reading this is really helpful,
I should try some of the idea's you suggested and see if they help me. Thx for writing this!:D (Big Grin) 
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am a procrastinator :iconterminator-plz:

I think the main reason is perfectionism. I just always want to make the perfect thing, so I'm launching myself in very ambitious projects that will last for months mainly because I'm not sure about how to make it, my ongoing photomanipulation is a good example... Started last year it still not finished because I've changed the composition several time, rethink the all picture, had not found yet all the necessary stock... Countless of reasons to keep it unachieved for the moment.
But I will finish it (ok this year, because I want to work on an other even more ambitious project that will procrastinate again :lol: )

What to do against that ? Well it's difficult....
The best is a real deadline, not something you can change or negotiate but a real one.
For me the most efficient is a customer or an exhibition, and the last one is far more efficient because you have many peoples waiting for your work. But ok it's the easiest deadline you can find.
An other example I have is making a calendar for your friends or colleagues, you have a real deadline (1st January :lol:) and once you have made one everyone will expect to have a new one. I do calendar for my colleagues where I work with pictures made with my microscope, I've made 4 so now I have no other choice but continue at making new ones :p
I also use photobooks as a personnal deadline. I try to make a new photobook of my work each year and to have a nice one, you have to fill it with new works... Since I love books this gives me a good motivation to have a rather constant production, it not always help for huge projects for a constant production it can help.
Of course to be efficient you need a photobook to show you can do it. So the first step of this method is to create a photobook with older works, if you like books you can be amazed by the result and find a huge motivation in them.

In consequence of my photobooks scheduled I always have several projects at the same time, but never on a similar timeline, short projects can be good for motivations and help to work on other long and boring projects. I think photography is a good tool for that =)

I also use notes, to save my ideas, it's very efficient. :thumbsup:

"Structured procrastination theory suggests that the ideas WILL start flowing like a river once you start dealing with an important but rather boring project." I can confirm :blush:
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Some interesting links there. Thanks for that. I have a theory that some procrastination is because you subconsciously know you're not yet ready to dive in for whatever reason, and finding the reason why is better for long term success than forcing yourself to go ahead anyway. I've moved house so many times over the last decade I've built up a massive backlog of half formed ideas and projects which only now am I able to start tackling, and I'm finding the amount of mental space they take up is a little bit of a hindrance in focusing on commissions and the new ideas I have (some of which can't wait their turn, lol). Whatever works, as long as it actually works, I guess. :)
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for reading :)
WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014   General Artist
I'm a terrible procrastinator myself :no: this is an awesome [and helpful] article though. A lot of good points, some I didn't think of :heart:
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're not alone in this, thanks for reading :)
WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014   General Artist
:heart: no problem :)
Stygma Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm a procrastinator at home because at work I'm an overachiever and I don't want to spend my few spare time pushing myself even more! :D
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Haha :D

Thanks for stopping by ;)
Beltaneh Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014
Quotes you found fit so well :) 
Great article!
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for reading :)
DeviBrigard Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014
..keep reading that reference as "Pliers Steel"
I think its time to go sleep now.
Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional
Oh my that's so painfully true... But, also, inspiring to do something about my very serious procrastination problem, thanks for writing and sharing! :)
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for reading it :)
Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Professional
Well, I probably should consider a success the fact I've read it right away instead of procrastinating it for later :D
dreamsandabyss Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Student
this was really fun to read. especially that i am a self-proclaimed professional procrastinator. lol. usually when i'm faced with a project/assignment/paper i gauged how long it will take me to do. if it's a hard one i sometimes divide it into phases. then i know how long i can procrastinate without being late for my deadline. 

and when i fell lazy...i just don't force myself. coz usually it's more harmful than productive. >_<
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That could be true, sometimes forcing is a waste of time (not a rule, though). Thank you for reading :)
dreamsandabyss Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Student
your welcome. it was a pleasure. :)
The-Kinky-Hobbit Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Student General Artist
Somebody recommended this article to me and I love it! :3 Very informative and insightful! 

Two of the ways I dealt with Procrastination issues was changing my self talk, instead of getting frustrated with myself I told myself I knew I was responsible and could do this successfully

And/or I got to the root of why I was procrastinating (such as fear of failure and what not) and talked myself out of it and encouraged myself from there. 

Thank you +fav 
jane-beata Featured By Owner May 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I am very glad to hear such feedback, thank you for reading :)
allison731 Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
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Your work has a chance to enter in our Gold Star Championship finale too where you can get nice prizes from us and gather more fame for yourself. ;) Good luck. :iconcool-smileplz:
jane-beata Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
allison731 Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
8Imagination8 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Ehehe, I think I'm procrastinating right now by looking up drawing tutorials instead of practicing piano...  Which I will probably only do the day the holidays end...  Next week ^u^

pure-blooded procrastinator through and through ^^;

hmmm, mm, I wonder how to counter that...
Hydra15 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014
I know that feeling, I should also be practicing piano right now.
8Imagination8 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
And I should be studying for my exams this week ^u^
super-Epic-Waffle Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
heh! i have tons of unfinished paintings.... TuT
SPisharam Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
As a life long procrastinator with Attention issues added I am happy I chanced upon your post. Thank you I am going to to try your suggestions :) Helpful and entertaining to say the least!

I have these periods of extreme creativity / hard work followed by extreme procrastination. Kind of push everything to the edge before I finish it; and then I feel bad because I did not take enough time thereby my work is not as good as it could be etc... it is cyclical and draining like crazy.

PettyInterests Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Hobbyist
I enjoyed the Paulo Coehlo quote at the end!
ArTRefugiuM Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2013   Traditional Artist
Yep, I'm definately a bad procrastinator. I start at least 3 projects and let them lay around for weeks to months then before I start finishing them, meanwhile beginning another 3 projects... -.-
Siestalan Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013
"There are plenty of reasons, from low self-esteem and fear of success to pure laziness."
Bahaha that line made me crack up. Seriously, I'm crying xD
All three of those reasons apply to me ... everything fits so darn well to me aww man I gotta get rid of that procrastination syndrome somehow D:

... hmmm I should probably study ... but I'm too tempted to draw something now ... *busy pencil scratching over rough paper* *furious erasing* *sobbing*
stubborninsomniac Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013
i'm scared of succeeding and failing at the same time. i don't like attention and i find myself more creative between three and six in the morning, when i should be sleeping for work the next day.
dang and posting this has given me attention
Niki-Cavallone18 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am a procrastinator. I think the reason for my procrastinating is first; I'm lazy (obviously). The second being that I try hard to schedule myself when in reality, I'm don't. I play first, after a couple of hours I look at the clock and then say, "Nah, it's still early, I could finish it in a couple of hours if I want to", then continue on playing. After another couple of hours I look at the time again and when I see that it's late, I make myself think that I can always finish it tomorrow, that I have plenty of time to do it. The third one is me over thinking stuff. First I remember that I have something to do (like a project) then I think about what to do with that, and how should I do it, then comes the problems and the cycle of putting it off starts again.

Sometimes music makes me want to procrastinate. I know some says it's inspiring but for me, it kinda makes me more lazy. When I listen to music I just want to drop whatever I'm doing and head bang along to the beat, or sleep. And then the putting off cycle continues again.
jaWeNsHaMmY Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your first paragraph absolutely refers to me >W<
ugh. i keep making plans, schedules and to do list but i always end up not doing it !!! >U<
and when its time to sleep i always say its still early so i end up sleeping reeeally late... 
and the worst thing is i procrastinate doing something about this problem >W< 
oh.. i cant end it >W< im still figuring things out TT^TT

Niki-Cavallone18 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know right?!
Niki-Cavallone18 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And I forgot the other one, the main reason on why I (and other people) procrastinate. It's because we lack self confidence. You start sketching, then took a coffee break and started to browse whatever is new or hot on dA. I see a very magnificent piece of art then BAM! My ego is crushed. After the break, I look at my WIP and go, "Oh what am I even trying? Compared to those works , mine's a piece of shit." and then give up the whole thing. I know that it's pathetic and we should "believe in ourselves" and "practice makes perfect" but really, when you see a work better than yours, it really gets you down and stops you from trying cause you know that you don't even have a chance against that fine piece of work.
iTunafishieRAWR Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My reason for procrastination is just pure laziness and lack of motivation orz
I hardly have motivation to do anything, be it homework, drawing, studying, etc. 
The furthest I can go is just thinking about it and I'm trying to get rid of this procrastination sdfhretgadfgafasdfs
Firey-Flamy Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, unfortunatelly, I'm a procrastinator. That is for sure. :dead:
In my case, I think the main two reasons of procrastination are:
a) Having too much work to do. It feels like a mountain on the shoulders. That's why often I'm even afraid to start, with the thoughts like "oooooh, so much to doooo, aaaaaah". But such thoughts don't help much and the number of tasks doesn't reduce. Of course. :|
b) Dependance on the mood. If I'm not in the right mood, it is very difficult to get myself to do something. And the mood changing takes time, argh. :noes:

I'm still trying to get rid of such condition, with varied success. But recently it feels like I'm giving up, because the most of my plans are ruined because of this. I hate it. :grump:
Kurosaki224 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the fact that I'm reading this article about procrastination while I am in fact procrastinating.
Kurosaki224 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Says a lot about my personality.


alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep. This is me right here. Thanks for this article! I needed it.
sharkbyte3827 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
Thank you for doing this article.

I am addicted to procrastination. I find myself often just standing in place like a zombie, sorting through my things I need to do over things I want to do. Struggling to substitute the "i'll do it later" for "Let's get started."
I spend more hours on my computer for surfing the web, checking emails and playing games for hours. Often losing all interest or focus on my creativity.
When I do start to draw something, I only get as far as a simple sketch and don't bother seeing it to the very end.

What I've been doing to combat my procrastination has been to force myself into doing something more creative. Either my drawing, my hobby or just something too keep me pro active.
I've even come across the Brain Age: Concentration Challenge for the 3DS and it has helped me to keep my focus on tasks.
Missleepify Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I am the queen and goddess of procrastination. I mean, really. The only reason I have not yet failed school is because I've been a lucky son of a bitch that had teachers that just didn't care :lol:

A splendid example was an essay I was supposed to hand in by christmas.
I handed it in a week before summer's break. A fucking week. AND I WROTE IT THE NIGHT BEFORE :stare:

This is starting to become a real issue, just because I'm starting to realize just how bad it is. I mean, the only reason I'm writing this is because I wanted to procrastinate clicking on the "overcoming procrastination"-links that were posted in this journal. "I'm going to click them, just after writing this comment..." And I'm starting to know that after I've posted this, I'm going to start colouring this watercolour sketch I've had lying around since yesterday instead of actually clicking on them although I know I'm probably going to procrastinate that too through playing 3DS instead and then making lunch and then making more coffee and ahhhhhhhhhhhh

... Help me :iconstareexplodeplz:
icy-ciel Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A wonderful and useful article, written in an easy to read and fun manner :love:
OtterAndTerrier Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Stupid sexy procrastination.

I procrastinate a lot. It hasn't negatively impacted my career so far, except that I don't study for hours for finals because I just can't, and leave it for the last minute. I generally do well, though, but it's annoying, because sometimes I feel like I could have done better if I hadn't procrastinated so much!

I'm procrastinating right now.
ZYL5 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I too, am a avid procrastinator, and it has unfortunately negatively impacted my career pursuit (lost FASFA for one semester, but since I cannot afford classes without FASFA, I am now in a very bad rut).

I think one of my ultimate personal goals for this year is to rid myself of this... disease. D:
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