23 February 2010

on the subject of putting things off

I can be a procrastinator of epic proportions. I often find myself spending time thinking about the things that need to be done when, in reality, if I took the time I use stressing about it just doing it, things would run smoother.

I'm not sure why I require a kick in the pants but apparently I am not alone in this strange habit.

I'm an admirer of Lisa Call not only for her artwork but for her tremendous discipline. She knows what she wants and attacks it full force. But you know, life gets in the way sometimes and when things get hectic, things get put off.

She talked about this problem in a post titled "The Magic of Completion" on one of her blogs, Make Big Art. Here is an excerpt from it (posted with permission):

"Completion is huge. It's massive and energy altering.

Completing a project can give you a boost. From big tasks like my studio. Or small tasks like mailing a collector a thank you note.

The act of getting something done, crossing it off a list, is magical. All the energy that was being used to worry about, stress over, keep track of, think about, complain about, etc - all that energy is freed up and suddenly available for new projects, thoughts and inspiration.

Completing a task or project builds your self confidence. You realize "Hey, I can do this." So the next task becomes just a tiny bit easier and your productivity increases and things are crossed off the list and energy is freed up. Its the snowball effect. Next thing you know, you are invincible.

Projects that were blocked suddenly become viable. New ideas are generated opening up new possibilities.

The power of completion is huge."

(Follow the link above to read the full post.)

This is completely true for me (and I suspect most people). I'm working away on a deep spring cleaning of the house and when I'm done, the difference will be huge - not only in my physical environment but my emotional side as well.

I need to find a way to be more disciplined in the studio. I don't really set too many strict goals. I keep my mind wrapped around a couple of things but outside of that, I don't feel like I push myself hard enough.

I think the trick would be finding a way to push hard enough to produce more work but not drain the joy from it. Its certainly a fine line.

I was about to say "food for thought" but that sort of goes against the whole point of the post, eh? I think I'll start small and work on my procrastination habits. We'll try to wrangle that beast first and then see what comes next...


Kim Hambric said...

I can't seem to complete the cleaning of my bathroom. For some stupid reason it seems overwhelming. Perhaps I'm focusing on the bathroom because there are so many larger things which need to be completed.

My in-laws are downsizing (an understatement) from a 4,000 square foot house to a small retirement closet. My home is now filled with boxes and bags of their former things with the promise of more to come. My shoulders are stooped with the thought of finding places for things unwanted. The things that are really unwanted will be given away -- quickly and free.

So if you want to clean my bathroom, I'm sure I would feel free and energized.

Hmmmmm, I've unloaded here and do fill a tad better. Sorry.

Linda Branch Dunn said...

I am trying to complete my mother's taxes, and find I will do almost anything to put it off. The bathtub is spotless. Now perhaps a bribe of coffee and a croissant. Will that work?