Procrastination takes many forms. There is the obvious kind, doing any other unrelated task except the one you should be doing. Or the most common type, favoured by those who know deep down that their jobs are more title than actual, thus their days are filled with endless meetings and email checks. Then there is the worse kind of procrastination, where you fool yourself into believing you’re moving forward, convincing yourself that you are doing the necessary things to achieve your goals. It is similar to the importantly titled procrastinator with one major difference. You have control over your degree of procrastination.
What I am saying is, in the common workplace environment, procrastination, especially in a faux democratic structure, is a necessary evil in the politics of work life. The meeting gives everyone the illusion of having a voice. When it comes to a personal goal or endeavour, the only voice you have to heed is yours.
What about…and how about…then there’s….but I need – all excuses, more procrastination. Regardless of the task or goal, somebody has to instigate it. If it’s your goal, it should be you.
My own procrastination is over filmmaking and writing. I have made a few short films and I have written several more, but that was all some years ago. The same with a book I begun writing, eighteen thousand words in the various characters have remained in limbo for a couple of years, waiting for their next meaningful action. I have hidden my lackadaisical approach to project completion in my crafty procrastinating task, that mimic the true goal, in a roundabout way.
I write a blog a day, post on multiple social media platforms, take photographs and shoot short videos. Like I say, covering the main goal in a roundabout way. So what is the main goal? Writing for a living is the main goal, closely followed by making a film or television show of what I write. So I should get to doing it, right? It is the doing that gets it done. But the buts keep coming.
The litany of excuses not to write the next chapter of my book – I need to rewrite the previous chapters; is it any good? Where is the story going – are all just delaying tactics. Same with making the next short film – I want it to be better than the last one; can I ask people to work for food again? Is the script good enough to make? Maybe I should finish the storyboards before I recruit a crew – more huff and bluff. Reasons coupled with excuses, wrapped up in fear.
The thing is, if you are shooting arrows or throwing rocks at others with your keyboard strokes, happily pontificating on the merits of others works, should you not at least have the gumption to put your own efforts out? Even if it’s for no other reason than to prove that the criticisms you have levelled at others are not just all emotive theorising.
It is a true bugbear of mine; the critic who has never done anything, especially the faceless one. That is not to say every film critic should have made a film – they should have, even a rubbish never-to-be-seen-by-the-public one – but if one is a critic, be fair and back your arguments. Barbed comments, whilst sometimes witty, are just cruel, not constructive.
Returning to the central topic; procrastination. I enjoy blogging, it’s a way to empty one’s head and I can meander – hence the mini critic rant – but it is undoubtedly a method of acceptable procrastination for me. Many creative types embrace procrastination, having – much like this – written or made films in defence of seemingly aimless, unrelated activities to their craft. Procrastination is a necessary part of the creative process, they say. It gets the juices flowing, sparks the neurones, they plead, unconvincingly.
Procrastination is all well and good when you make a living writing. A deadline enforces an eventual end to faffing about; you have to get the work done. The rest of us, writing blogs, reading blogs, going on courses, doing network things, joining online groups, recording ideas and whatever else is used to delay the moment when we have to sit in front of the screen or blank piece of paper and begin, continue or complete that thing we’ve been avoiding as we wait for the ‘right’ moment, or that flash of inspiration, or for the ‘ it was as if it wrote itself’ happening, we need to realise – I need to realise – that it’s not coming.
Procrastinate by all means, but do so knowingly. Then stop and get to work.