Procrastinate, Precrastinate...Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.

Marion Fayolle for the NYTimes

Marion Fayolle for the NYTimes

I really liked this piece called "Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate" by Adam Grant in yesterday's NY Times. In many things, I'm the pre-crastinater Grant describes:

I know that for many people, anxiety brings procrastination with it. And I've experienced that, too, with some of the most meaningful, amorphous tasks in my life, especially when I was younger (There was a certain book project...).

More frequently, though, I find myself chasing the euphoric feeling of progress, as described by Grant. At what cost? I believe that the cost has been creativity. One of Grant's students, Jihae Shin, spent years trying to convince her professor that procrastinating could aid the creative process. He didn't buy it. So she designed some experiments to explore the topic. What she found is that our first ideas tend to be the most conventional. It's only by letting our minds wander that we come up with unusual patterns: 

I've been feeling this need increasingly lately. Creative thinking needs space to flourish. It can be hard to give yourself freedom and license to do it, especially with anxiety pounding on the door. The way that I've been approaching it is to try to tune in to the feeling I get as I approach the task.

If > crazed pre-crastinator feeling > then > back off for a couple of days and see what insights time gives me

If > avoidance procrastinator feeling > then  > amp up my attention a little to see if I can bring the work into focus

The place that I tune in is the meditation mat. What about you? I'm gonna open a topic about this on the Talk board and see if anyone has thoughts to share.