I'll let you in on a secret... (On Procrastination)

Truth is, I procrastinate. I was chatting with a friend recently about the merits of procrastination because I think it gets a bad rap.  In order to justify my rampant tendency to put things off until the last minute, I had to think seriously about what it means to procrastinate.  I came up with a few thoughts...

Procrastination is a balancer. (Balancer, says spellcheck, is not a word.  But it's staying.) It makes it so that if I need to take a break, I take a freaking break.  It means I will not force myself to do something I'm just not yet prepared to tackle.  It says, take a breather... you will finish this when you're better aligned with it.  I probably would have argued this as recently as a year ago.  But I put this theory to the test and noticed how my life became less tense, more peaceful, more manageable when I held off until I felt ready to go.

Procrastination sets you up for a better scenario. So this is the thing, I'm a dreamer.  This is not a secret and I've learned to embrace this (rather enormous) aspect of myself.  By stepping back and waiting, I can imagine all sorts of possibilities for, say, a design project- sometimes I try out different ways and find that none of them work.  Then I take some time to sit and just think- no writing, no drawing, no making- just thinking.  And, oftentimes, I'm not even thinking about the project itself.  Sometimes I just dive into my happy place and get myself feeling good for a while... three minutes, an hour, whatever.  I feel more calm, inspired, and motivated.  Then I'm ready to tackle the design or clean the damn toilet.

Procrastination meets the deadline.  Throughout my schooling- grade school up through grad school- I procrastinated with writing papers and working on projects (including my thesis and thesis performance!).  Nearly always.  Sometimes (and this is pretty messed up and I can't believe I'm about to share this) I would hold off on peeing until I finished a paper due the next morning.  I'd use peeing as a reward for meeting a deadline.  This bladder training came in handy for my years of teaching children where I couldn't use the bathroom until the end of the day in many cases, but I'll admit now that it wasn't the healthiest reward.  Point is, the intensity of an impending deadline helps me to focus in hard and powerfully.  I get deep into the work and begin to understand all the elements with so much more clarity than if I spaced it out differently.  These days I usually let myself pee, but my reward is sleep and maybe an episode of Louie, It's Always Sunny, or The Office.  Little joys.

I share this with you because it's what I do with my collection designs every single time.  Every time.  I dive in to finally construct each design like two days before the photoshoot (like the one I have on Monday!).  And you know what happens there?  I often recreate a whole new something in my feverish mode- and nearly always that piece becomes my best seller.

My secret to productivity is procrastination.  You?

[double exposure photograph]
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