I have strong procrastination tendencies – I sometimes think that if it weren’t for the last possible moment, I wouldn’t get anything done. Better time management and organization have helped me overcome a lot of my delaying habits, but there are some projects and tasks on my to-do list that even now have been put off repeatedly.
In my post Control Your Time and Become a More Successful Artist I mentioned how helpful Michael Hyatt’s blog has been to me in better organizing my time. In a blog post, Hyatt lists reasons we might be procrastinating and suggests understanding why we procrastinate will help us overcome procrastination.
Reasons you procrastinate
- You aren’t clear about your goals.
- You haven’t identified your why.
- You haven’t chunked the project down to bite-size pieces.
- You are distracted by too many tasks.
- You haven’t built in any accountability
Read the full post for some great ideas on how to stop procrastinating.
Of course, if you don’t have time now you can always wait until later…
I can thoroughly recommend all those steps, and I’d add another: Remember you don’t have to be a master when you start; get it done and then refine it later.
I was procrastinating badly with a whole list of business tasks. After considering what was really stopping me I realised I was intimidated, fearful of failure, and overwhelmed. So intimidation and fear first I reminded myself every day that I don’t have to be a master when I start, just get it done and refine it later. Then I broke many of the tasks down into seperate steps and scheduled one or two steps into my day every day. I have just today tackled my third last task on the Really Scary Art Business Development Tasks list. The second last task is tomorrow and then I’m giving myself a two week break before diving into the last one which will require breaking down into about 6 steps to accomplish. It works me I feel empowered and encouraged to keep going each time I finish a task I’ve been avoiding.
Thanks for your blog Jason, I’ve found some very helpful advice on art business and sales in your posts.
Great advice Mary – and congratulations on tackling your fears to get work done!
Being your own boss has both its pros and cons. This is probably all the more so for an artist. With flexibility comes the ease of procrastination. The easiest way to prevent this is to force yourself to stick to a rigid schedule of being in your studio for a specific period of time regardless. Some allowances can be made, however you need to regard it just like any other job. Prioritize your tasks for the day by putting them in writing the end of the prior day, and review them the first thing when you come into your studio each morning. Break the areas of your job up such as “marketing”,creating, and miscellaneous. Make sure that one area is not cutting into time allotted for another. Being able to actually check them off your lists helps you mentally stay the course. Keeping close attention to time management and holding yourself responsible will help you reach your goals. Make sure that others know as well that you are not to be disturbed during your working time is important. Keeping a long range planner is also a positive incentive to keeping yourself on track. Reward yourself periodically when your objectives are met. The minute you recognize procrastination creeping in, remind yourself that only you are going to make things happen, and immediately put yourself back on course.
Having moved to Arizona from out of state, I had many boxes to unpack in order to just be able to function in my house. Having a room in my garage to use as my studio, I shoved all my boxes of art supplies in there, ready to unpack after my house was in order. Some of the items were unpacked over time and my studio was set up with the basics, however, those remaining boxes nagged at me whenever I had to step around them. I need to paint first was my mantra or I’ll never make it as an artist!
One day, I determined to move the clutter out of my studio and put it all in another area of my garage where I could tackle it as a separate project. Once that was accomplished, I felt a sense of freedom when working at my easel, savoring the clean, organized space. That feeling of accomplishment spilled over into my determination to organize those remaining boxes. Taking two days to go through boxes of reference material and filing it, was easier than I had anticipated. Just two days spent in order to gain a feeling of freedom to paint without that project hanging over my head has made a huge difference in my eagerness to get into my studio earlier and produce something great. All my supplies and reference material are where I need them to be and it’s full steam ahead! Action is way better than procrastination!
The best part of being your own boss is that you get to choose which 18 hours of the day you work!
Wow! How did you get it down to 18? Asking for a friend.
This is my absolute worst problem. What have I learned? I am a resourceful person who enjoys lending a hand and some mental lifting to others. At the center of that is a lack of assurance that I can get my own stuff done because I lack ability.
Being considered ‘smart” and “able” isn’t any good on the homefront.
Fear is another deterrent. It’s very easy to say, “Just plunge in. Where’s your spirit of adventure?” But if you’re looking at cash flow or putting an image up on social media, “adventure” is not the spirit you might need.”
All of this to say. Procrastination for some of us is a head game that we’ve learned to play, and as changing behaviors, it is extremely difficult at best, impossible usually. Is there a 12 step program for this?
You made me laugh
You made me cry
You made me kiss my fears goodbye.
Day after Day… until it becomes part of your regimen! Thanks Jason for the posts. They all are pertinent and helpful!