How to procrastinate like a creative pro

I wouldn’t claim to be the best at much in life – I have a few talents and quite a few more “needs improvement” areas – but I think I’d be at least tied for first when it comes to procrastination.

I have lost valuable hours to the following:

– Youtube karaoke (Unfortunately, yes. Think Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You for a visual)

– Writing crappy (and occasionally non-crappy) poetry

– Creating a Christmas list on Pinterest. In March.

– Constructing a whole Pinterest Life (it’s like Sims for semi-grown ups!) in general

– Trying on outfits, complete with hair and makeup, for a month’s-away event

– Making a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos run

– Decadent coffee breaks

– Thorough life analyses of strangers on social media

– Random Google research on obscure topics

– Youtube makeup tutorials (don’t judge)

– Deciding to learn a new song on guitar – ‘That’ll be quick, right?’

– Sending a text out to everyone I’ve been meaning to talk to in the last year

– Writing a character sketch I never end up using

– Lying on the floor doing absolutely nothing

– Etc. etc. etc.

Procrastination is an art, you know.

Actually, sometimes art is the procrastination – at least the form it takes. Like when I would write the best part of my stories in college during a math class or some other lecture. True, I was not focused on the task at hand, but I was, in fact, creating something.

And I know I should probably be writing about how to avoid procrastination and increase productivity – that’s the kind of thing people actually Google right? But that would be such a false thing for me to do, seeing as I literally got through college by waking up at 4 a.m. on the same day a paper was due and writing it in one sitting… And you know what? Like much else in my life at this point, I’ve decided to just own it.

Now, with a lot of people asking me how I come up with topics to write about or how to make time when you have a busy schedule, I’ve realized procrastination is oddly kind of the answer for me.

I mean, I wouldn’t really advise allll of my methods of procrastination (as they’re written above) but I think it can be kind of healthy and fun and a good way to get creative. And here’s the secret – we can refer to procrastination from here on out as just making the most of the normally ill-spent hours in a day. Because, like my college essays, whatever you’re procrastinating will get done anyway. It has to, so you will always find the hours.

But I can only advise procrastinating if you’re actually going to do something: So get up off the floor right now.

I often stall productivity by list making. In fact, I’m looking at the notes on my phone right now and one of the most recent notes contains a list of all the ways in which I procrastinate. Using list writing about procrastination as a means of procrastination? That is some Inception, dream-within-a-dream stuff. And also pretty unproductive, I’ll admit it. But, it did lead to this blog post! Keeping a list of everything that pops into my head might not be the best thing to do if I’m trying to finish cleaning or accomplish any other task, but it definitely puts me in a creative space more often than if I was

A. single-minded about every project at hand
B. trying to focus on one thing while my thoughts were elsewhere.

And on that note, I never have writer’s block when I’m using writing as a means of procrastination – AKA, when I should be doing something else. I’ve found that when I am in the mood to write, it’s pretty valuable to push a few other things aside and just get the thoughts onto paper, because that way I don’t have unwritten ideas buzzing around in my head, the creative equivalent of flies, making focusing on anything else nearly impossible.

(Side note, I just realized that when that happens to me it feels exactly like waiting to be called on by a teacher, overwhelmed by the thought that you’ll either forget what you have to say if you’re not called on soon or you’ll take your brilliant thought to the deathbed and never get recognition for it. Was I a crazy student or did you ever feel like this?)

I will literally write down any blurb of thought, even those as short as a Tweet, knowing it could fuel something, someday. One time in a fiction class in college we were given the assignment to take a sentence of dialogue that was written on a scrap of paper, and to construct a character analysis based on the person who might’ve said it. My sentence was: “You need like, 7 bulbs of garlic and to crush it like, so much.” I ended up writing about a girl named Paisley whose story I’m dying to actually tell in its entirety someday. It was such a freaking cool exercise. And in this same classroom, we read about a technique Sandra Cisneros has used in short stories – which is to keep “buttons,” or bits of random writing, that she can refer back and include in future stories. These buttons are essentially what I just mentioned – random thoughts you might write down in your Iphone notes. Two buttons I have in my most recent notes:

1. “My Keurig keeps begging me for water and I swear even inanimate objects sometimes want more from me than I’m willing to give”

2. “Stay ugly, ducklings”

Super random, and mostly irrelevant. I know that not all of my thoughts are worthwhile. But I also kind of think that they are? Even if you’re not a writer, I think you should write down your thoughts. Maybe you’re nothing like me and don’t feel the need to discuss everything to death, but I just think it’s valuable to treat your thoughts like they’re special, because they are. They just are.

It’s good procrastination, nonetheless.

I’m not entirely sure what excuse I can use for being so vigilant with my Pinterest boards, but happiness counts for something too, right?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s