I've read a fair bit about procrastination recently because its always been a big issue for me and like everyone I want to stop doing it. So much time has been wasted when it could have been used productively, probably years of my life at this point. Even when I know that doing work will be a huge benefit to my life, I just blow it off to watch a silly web video. Reading all this I've realised that for me its not about laziness, which I always thought it was for me, but about fear. Fear that people will think I am a bad designer with no originality. Fear that my work wont be good enough. Like right now I have a fear that people reading this will think I am stupid and laugh at my bad writing. Its what is getting in the way of finishing my website and even telling people I'm writing on this blog.
I realise this fear is subconscious and I don't even register it as a fear when I procrastinate. Its because switching my brain off and watching a video is easy and sitting down working is hard. So my brain uses this fear to force me down this easy route.
One of the best ideas I have come across to help with procrastination has been from Michael Jones. He's a motion graphics designer who writes about this kind of stuff from time to time. He says you need to make a proclamation to yourself to do your best. This is what he says his thought process is like:
“I need to get this done. Even though I may feel like blowing it off. I said I was going to do it; and I will follow through on this commitment.
I’ll give it my best and focus on the process. I’ll work deliberately to do it at a high quality and have fun with it. If I don’t know how to do something, I won’t panic inside, I’ll do my best to figure it out. I’ll learn as I go and do my best.
I’ll work on this for 60 minutes and then I’ll take a break. I’m going to tune out email, twitter and all other distractions so I can focus on this task.
It’s ok if it’s not perfect, it’s a process.”
I like how this stops the fear of not being good enough. It brings the work into the present as its all a process and I need to focus on this one little bit right now. I like how it says if I don't know something don't panic. I think in the past I've probably stopped working on a few projects because I get to a point where it's not turning out how I imagined it would and I don't know how to make it work. I need to get past that feeling and just work around the problem, maybe change it slightly, then move on. I need to just do my best because it will never be perfect and never be exactly what I see in my head.
I will be coming back to this post to give that quote a read every night before I get to work. Until it is burned into the back of my head.