Note — make yourself comfortable.

Another coffee, glass of red? Have you eaten? Kinda hungry? What’s for dinner tonight? Lunchtime. Bugger — does that chicken go out of date today? Who’s texting now… oh yes, oops, forgot about that.

Right, better nip to the supermarket now. Quick email first‚ placate client — they’ll have the changes this arvo. What’s this playing… hey, love this choon … … … … … … I better get to the shop before lunch.

In this post I explore the notion that metaphorical planetary alignment is essential for a procrastinator to finally get on with it …

It’s taken me a little longer to get in the zone to write this instalment. Principally because I’ve not taken my own best advice — I failed to effectively plan.

As a procrastinator of some years (probably most of my life) I seem to like avoiding the tricky stuff or is it the mundane? But that’s not to say I’m not a capable soul***

When I put my mind to tasks, stuff gets done — indeed the designer’s lot is all about the tricky stuff. I won’t bang on about the complexities of my job — I’m sure your job is just as tricky, unless your job is the one lying in your bed flicking through Instagram.

I’ve been told by my clients that I’m generally pretty good at my job — which is nice. I put this down to a few things:

1. I seem have a natural aptitude for branding, graphics, creative musings, visual stuff
2. I’ve been told I’m quite chatty and this, it seems, has enabled me to clearly understanding my clients’ requirements — because conversation is a 2 way thing

3. I did quite a few years of training (I have a Masters in Graphic Fine Art)
4. Clients seem to love the intuitive journey that I take them on — although I’m sure most will attest that have a tendency stray from the path at times … but in a good way 😉

*** So it appears that I procrastinate better when presented with stuff that I need to do for myself, personal projects (like this), cleaning out the garage, topping up brake fluid, applying for a new passport. That sort of stuff. Sure, my job certainly allows for procrastination — it’s the cornerstone of the operating system GK v0.42* — but, as I’m sure other creatives may agree, it’s so much easier to do what you do for others rather than yourself.

I’ve been coveting a chap called John Perry. 

At this stage I should point out that I have done some research to back up my spurious thinking and that this text is not just self indulgent ramble, however, my research has been limited to sporadic forrays.

After all, there’s no real urgency to get this guide out there — It’s my guide, not some academic journal … In fact out of principle I may delay publishing this post for an extra week. So, as you can imagine there’s a lot of stuff written about procrastination. I’m going to share some of what I’ve read now.

John Perry wrote a book a few years ago called The Art of Procrastination: A guide to effective dawdling, lollygagging and postponing — I think he’s ripped me off 😉 John Perry resonates with me.

He explains how he actually came to write his well respected essay — written in an effort to avoid doing other seemingly more important work. It’s worth a read and will be far more informative than my blog will ever be … (his website sucks though)

… and to be fair, he is an academic teaching philosophy at Stanford University and has been thinking about this a lot longer than I have. Anyhow, he goes on about structured procrastination — a way of deceiving oneself in order to take advantage of a seeming ‘character flaw’. He says “… all procrastinators also have excellent skills at self-deception — so what could be more noble than using one character flaw to offset the effects of another?” I love this idea. But is this true for me or you?

Neil Fiore calls out the following types of procrastinators:

The Perfectionist, The Impostor, The Dread-Filled, The Overwhelmed, The Lucky One And there’s lots more out there. But I rather like Prof Frank Partnoy’s simplistic view that procrastination is a universal state of being for humans … he identifies just two kinds of procrastination categories that we all fall into active and passive procrastination.

Phew, it’s not just me after all. The point he makes is not whether we are procrastinating it’s whether we are procrastinating well. Mmm. So are you sitting comfortably? 

Adjust that chair. Find the right song, related gig, recipe, new podcast, old podcast, a price for any number of things you probably don’t need, new font, images of Finland and have that second cup of coffee. Definitely increase air flow† and finally, start some bloody work.

†This involves opening a window or better still venturing outside for a breathe of fresh air and sucking in a world of ideas…

the next part

As a footnote. At some point I may get round to expanding on all these ‘types’ and even adding a bibliography to this so you can read the references in more detail as I’m sure you’ve got time for that.