Most of my clients pay me to help them develop strategies and keep them accountable. Generally, I help people STOP procrastinating and get past blocks. But recently I realized that sometimes procrastination…isn’t.
Here is one example: My small business clients frequently hire me to do some kind of business writing for them, in addition to my consulting services. Over the past month I took an objective look at my creative process and realized that I produce much better content in a much shorter time if I factor in time to putter around or ruminate.
It has gotten to the point where I will actually add this processing time into a project timeline.
So while I am walking or doing yoga or cooking or generally looking like I am procrastinating, actually a lot of progress is being made behind the scenes! When I finally sit down to write, the words literally pour out of me and good content is created very quickly.
I then walk away and do something else and come back to edit the copy later.
Usually clients accept the first or second draft of my copy. My writing quality and client satisfaction have skyrocketed. All because I have learned to respect my creative process.
I have a client who goes through a similar process and needs time to “do nothing” – but adds in waiting until the project is due so he feels like he is in a pressure cooker. He was a former reporter so that kind of time-crunched deadline feels right to him, and his work is excellent. However, this is a combination of both good and bad procrastination in my opinion. We are working together to get him out of the habit of waiting until the last minute. It’s not great for his stress level.
If you are a genuinely procrastinating and need to get more done, I highly recommend that you take a look at this presentation Productivity: The Secret Sauce. I speak on this topic frequently and always get great reviews. Hopefully there is something in it that can help you.
I urge you to take a long, objective look at your creative process so you can make it easier for yourself to produce your best work. Just adding in that one step has had amazing results for me.
So what do you think? Do you have a creative process? Do you need time to ruminate or do you “just do it”? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Catherine Morgan is the editorial director for CarolRoth.com | Business Unplugged and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc. She is a business consultant to consultants and a career transition coach. Catherine is an engaging public speaker who frequently presents on several topics, including career transition, growing a solo service business, and productivity.
Fun fact: If I am cooking an elaborate lunch someone will walk in the kitchen and say, "Smells great! What are you avoiding doing?" Sometimes it IS avoidance, and sometimes it is part of my process. The trick is to know the difference.