Ever hear that timeless saying, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” or even go so far as to say it out loud to yourself? Yeah, me too.
And thus opens the door to the dangerous world of procrastination!
Upon starting a career as a visual artist I would draw and paint at the speed of light meeting deadlines long before they were due only because I wasn’t sure just how long each project would take to finish. My drive was extremely strong, and still is, however I’ve now become more comfortable in my craft and understand my limits and capabilities within certain time restraints. I also find myself taking on a much heavier work load as I realize how much work I can complete faster than before. I’m a bit of a workaholic so multitasking projects is how I thrive. The only problem is the more skilled I become in a certain area the more I tend to procrastinate.
Now I can tell you from experience that procrastination is the type of practice that gives with one hand and takes away with the other. You get the instant gratification of relaxing, hanging out with friends, or watching just one more episode of your favorite show yet you have to deal with the consequences of stressing out, sacrificing sleep and rushing to complete a project on time.
But this brings up the question, “Is procrastination really a bad thing if I’m still able to meet my deadlines?”
The answer is YES! It’s a known fact that stress is the cause of many physical and mental ailments and sleep deprivation, well we all know how messed up that can make you! Not to mention the fact that finishing projects at the last minute leaves no room for errors or revisions which can make or break you as a professional.
So how does one keep from procrastinating?
As for me the answer lies in keeping myself constantly challenged. The more I try my hand at new techniques or using new products I’m unfamiliar with the more I retain that original drive to get things done right away. If I’m not sure how long a project will take to finish I will generally get it done sooner than later in case I might hit an obstacle along the way. So if you’re having a problem with procrastinating then I challenge you to challenge yourself. Wade into uncharted territory and attack it at full force. You might be surprised at how ahead of the game you can get and you’ll be able to carve another notch in the old skill belt!
(This piece posed a few new challenges for me, but now that it's complete I can take what I've learned and move onto the next!)