to the seat of the chair. -Mary Heaton Vorse
When no one else depends on your delivery, without editorial deadlines or production milestones or scheduled review meetings, it’s far too easy to push aside the Important for the urgent or pressing “in-your-face” issues of the day.
The irony is, that I most often procrastinate when I really care about a project—the perfectionist in me holding back until I know it can be perfect beyond a doubt—which, of course, is never!
I also procrastinate when I find a project dull or lacking challenge. Or if the project-at-hand doesn’t push my buttons. For example, I once scrubbed the entire house with a nail-brush and cooked a six-course cordon bleu meal, when I should have been studying for my upcoming six-hour registered stock broker’s licensing exam. The man of the house was thrilled, while my stress level soared through the roof knowing that I’d merely delayed the inevitable dreaded study of ‘puts, options, bonds, and living-wills’.
But that was many moons ago. And as much as I’ve procrastinated over the years—and still do—there are many more times when I’ve been so utterly absorbed by my work, that I forget to eat, drink, and sometimes, sleep.
At the end of the day, I always deliver. Always meet deadline. And I've learned that procrastination works for me as part of the creative process. I've learned that it’s good to sometimes allow a certain amount of time just to think ... letting fragments of ideas infuse, and thought patterns simmer, until that intangible 'something' kicks in and I’m at the boil raring to go!
I discovered what I already knew—that at least in this area—I’m perfectly normal!
- Amy Holden Jones believes that all writers are good procrastinators. She says that the process is of writing is grueling, until her characters begin to come alive to her, and that’s when she develops a sense of connection with the project.
- Steven DeSouza, knows when he’s about to write because he becomes a neat freak, organizing his desk and tools until ‘it’ floods in.
- Leonardo da Vinci was known as ‘highly distractable’. He finished The Last Supper only after his patron threatened to cut off all funds. And he took 20 years to finish painting the Mona Lisa.
- Leslie Dixon says we all have what she calls ‘stalling mechanisms’. The phone, email, reading the newspaper. But she also believes that procrastination can be a tool for success; assuming you can control it and ultimately deliver the goods on time and in good shape, you’ll have the edge over those who can’t control it.
- Douglas Adams’ friend, Steve Meretzky says, "Douglas has raised procrastination to an art form. Hitchhikers Guide would never have gotten done if I hadn't gone over to England and virtually camped out on his doorstep."