On Point tackled a pressing subject Tuesday: procrastination.
Some of the leading thinkers of all time, from Charles Darwin to Leonardo da Vinci, set aside crucial tasks to work on something else, one of our guests, author Andrew Santella, told us. For Darwin, the theory of evolution waited years to develop so that he could study earthworms and barnacles.
Maybe it was because of the massive snowstorm that had buried parts of the northeast, leaving people home from work and not at all in the mood to shovel their walkways, but we got a lot of great comments about putting stuff of as it piles up and gets even worse. Why do we do it? And does it always hinder us, or does it sometimes help us?
Facebook friend Audrey writes:
For me, procrastination is a strategy. After so many years, I have a good idea of how long it takes me to do something. When I get close to the amount of time that it would take me to complete it before the deadline, I gain clarity and purpose that I wouldn’t have had a few days or a few weeks earlier. I also want to make sure I have as much time to think about the issue or task and come up with all possible solutions before I sit down to complete it. Of course that doesn’t explain putting off the dishes or the laundry, that must be another part of my brain all together.
Facebook friend Dakri writes:
TOMORROW (noun): a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.
And from our email queue:
I think procrastination stems from perfectionism, or at least from feeling not adequate enough for the task. This is compounded by the dislike of the sheer amount of sometimes tedious work involved. One solution is to do a small amount and give oneself a small but meaningful reward for doing a piece of something.
i have come to terms with so called procrastination or laziness. as an artist woodworker, i have come up with the term ‘gestational period‘ for developing both the ideas and the execution.
As a theatrical designer part of my process is to practice incubation. This is a time that I am not thinking about my project yet my mind is. I am often faced with limitations in which to create my art and this can be at times overwhelming. When it gets to that point it is always important to step away from the project and work on something else so that when I return I have “fresh” eyes on the project. 9 times out of 10 I am surprised and pleased to see what I produce after an incubation period.
Procrastination? NO, I view it as preparation of an idea, a necessary percolation in any creative process.
I am a scientist and also have ADD. Procrastination, hyper focus and creative thinking are part of the ADD mind. Urgent deadlines stimulate the ADD mind into a kind of hyper focus action and procrastination brings that about. That creative thinking and hyper focus of ADD mind is also source of inspirational thoughts and observations.