How To Make Sure Procrastination Doesn’t Keep You From Your Best Work

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Marisa D. Aceves. Object 180. digital photography.

For additional examples of my work, check out the my website at http://www.acevesart.com/

Deep down inside, we all know we have to “get to work” to make our creative business a reality.

While many of us could come up with a variety of well worn excuses for why we can’t or shouldn’t work, work is necessary in order to create a sellable product.

However, when we work feverishly without rest, we can over think a problem and inadvertently “destroy” what is beautiful about our art.

So how can we avoid this aggravating situation and still remain productive in our studio?

What is the difference between “stepping away” from our work and “procrastination”?

When we “step away” from our work, we are simply taking some much needed time to properly assess whether or not certain elements of our work are coming together to form a successful, complete piece.

We can ask ourselves questions like:

a) Does the work reflect what we initially set out to say?

b) What can we correct about the piece?

c) What part of our work needs to remain intact?

“Stepping Away” is definitely a time for both proper judgement and reflection. It is different than procrastination because it serves a purpose. It is a brief, meaningful rest before you return to work; it is a momentary vacation not an eternal vacation.

The evil twin sister of “stepping away” is procrastination.

Webster’s dictionary defines procrastination as “The act or habit of procrastinatingor putting off to a future timedelaydilatoriness.”  

 “Procrastination” convinces us that we need to take a longer break than we really need.

Pretty soon everything else we’d rather be doing instead immediately takes priority over the hard work we must do in order to accomplish our artistic goals.

So how do we stop “procrastination”?

Here are some tips for how to avoid procrastination while allowing yourself some “stepping away” time.

1. Admit that you have a problem with procrastination 

Admitting that you have a tendency to procrastinate is key to addressing how to stop this common “time-stealing” habit.

2. Deal with the reason/s why you procrastinate 

There are several reasons why people procrastinate.  Your reason/s for procrastinating may be different than you neighbors’, but the point is that you understand why you procrastinate so you can address these issues.

Here are some common reasons for procrastination:

a) Fear – Sometimes we fear rejection if we perceive that people won’t like our work. We may fear tasks that require technical expertise that we do not yet possess or understand so we put them off. If we never put our work on display so that the public can view it, no one know that our work exists. If we fear complicated technical tasks that we do not understand, it is better to ask for help in these areas so that we don’t miss out on the opportunity to expose our work to different audiences on different platforms.

b) Lack of Motivation or Inspiration – We may procrastinate believing that we need to ‘feel’ motivated or inspired to work on our art or creative business, but this simply is not the case. Avoidance tactics based on depression only leads to more depression because we have not made any attempts or taken any small steps to complete our goals. We are still in effect right where we started.

c) Low-Self Confidence – If we are not very confident in our abilities to perform a task or learn a new skill, we may consistently put important tasks off rather than face personal failure. Confidence is increased with familiarity. Once we become more familiar with a task, we become more confident in our abilities to complete that particular task.  When we continue to avoid the tasks we know we need to face, we never gain the skills that are necessary for success in whatever area we wish to pursue.

d)Perfectionism- We all would like to experience the joy of being considered an expert in something.  Many of us want to do the very best that we can. However when we set expectations that are too high for our skills at the time, we may find ourselves procrastinating because we believe that if we can’t do it like the experts, it’s just not worth doing.  This belief is both false and detrimental because you don’t become an expert without time and practice. We are all beginners at one point in our lives. There is no shame in admitting this.

3. Create a work schedule – Creating a work schedule helps you to organize the tasks ahead so that you do not become overwhelmed with what you have to do during the day, week, and month.  When you know what you are going to be doing at a certain time of the day, this lessens your anxiety and fear.

4. Divide large tasks into small actionable goals – Breaking large goals up into smaller goals helps you to both gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment.  As you begin to achieve each small task, you gain confidence and your depression about not getting things done begins to lift.

 5. Set up a specific time for each task – When you set a specific time for each task, you make yourself accountable for getting to work in that period of time. As you work, you will notice how you use your time, you can then address how you can improve time management issues.

While “procrastination” can seem like an insurmountable problem, with a positive attitude and a willingness to address the issue, you can overcome it.

 

Artist Sources: Procrastination Info 

1. Procrastination Help :: How to Stop Procrastinating

2. Procrastination Help Courses

3. Stop Procrastinating – The 21 Day Program to Break The Habit 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Life Bites: Overcoming your inner Resistance to Change So That You Can See Life’s Possibilities Part 1

When Life Bites: Overcoming your inner Resistance to Change So That You Can See Life's Possibilities Part 1

No matter what your profession is in life, there will come a time when you have to learn a new set of skills or you are forced to participate, kicking, screaming, pulling your hair out and gnashing you teeth in an entirely new situation that you can neither avoid nor put off for next week. When we realize procrastination is not an option, we must learn to be both flexible and sensible about the tasks ahead. However, if we change our point of view and look at the skills, the knowledge and new relationships we can gain from these experiences, we can begin to view sometimes difficult situations in a more positive light. As an artist, I find that I am always having to adjust to different situations in the market place. I have sold art in a gallery setting, and to private collectors, but I am still learning how to create my own unique presence online. The marketplace for selling art has changed. With the advent of social media, artists like other business professionals must learn to sell their work on various different platforms. At first, I was excited about learning about the world of internet marketing, because I strongly believe that we can reach out to more people who need encouragement and share our unique point of view and passion. Then, as soon as the sky had opened up and poured opportunities for learning upon my weary head, various doubts and worries began to fill it and I was trying everything that I could to focus on how grateful I was to receive the help that I needed at the time that I needed it. I literally had to sit myself down and think about the many different reasons why I created art. Had art found me or had I found art? Nevertheless, I remembered that I created art because I wanted others to see the extraordinary in what they perceived was ordinary, unimpressive, everyday life. If we learn to do this, we will always have a grateful, feasting heart, because we will recognize the extraordinary in others as well as ourselves. When I created this particular piece in enamels, I was initially disappointed in the size of the piece, because I was completely sold on the idea that unless a work is grandiose in size, it has no impact, but that is just not true. Sometimes, smaller paintings, photographs etc. that you can easily carry or hold in your hand have a sense or feeling of intimacy that larger paintings cannot always deliver. I have also noticed this same principle at work when observing life. It is not always those that shout the loudest that make the biggest impact over time, but those that plant their genuine seeds of wisdom, love, perseverance, and compassion.

As always, feel free to share your individual thoughts and experiences with this subject! I’d love to hear from you!