View Full Version : What's some creative ways to quit procrastinating?

11-20-2002, 08:53 AM
I always find the little things get in the way of the big things and before I know it, the little things keep me from doing the big things... make sense?

What are some creative ways to stop procrastinating?

11-20-2002, 09:01 AM
list making and then start with the worst job and work your way up.
If you want to get creative make your list on colored paper, use jell pens. Write it out with your opposite hand

11-20-2002, 09:17 AM
Well, I don't know if this will help you, but it helps me...

I find it helps if I have a list (as debi-d does). Then I have a better idea of what I would like to accomplish, and can better plan my time.

Have some music that I find helps motivate me. This might be different for different tasks, but it really seems to make a difference.

If there's something on my list that I can finish quickly, I might do that first. Then I feel that I have gotten something done right away, and the rest of the day seems to go better.

I think it's also important to reward yourself... whether it means spending some time with a good book, good friends, or taking a walk... giving yourself a little boost for accomplishing the things on your list helps keep off the "all work and no play"! :)


11-20-2002, 09:22 AM
By not turning on the Computer would be one!

11-20-2002, 12:30 PM
I'd say the list too. And updating the list often :)

Ron van den Boogaard
11-20-2002, 02:57 PM
turn to The Artist Way forum. Readthe book and you'll be in great shape

ron (http://home.wanadoo.nl/brainbox/)

11-21-2002, 04:22 AM
Popping back in to write a couple of creative ways I've found that works for me....

Tell a friend and have that friend ask about your progress.
Get a calendar, set a deadline, do a count down to due date.
make work index cards for jobs you hate. Put the cards face down and pick a card a day and just do it.
Divide jobs up into smaller segments.

11-21-2002, 06:26 PM
Interesting points, but why should we be ruled by time? If I am not in the mood to do a specific task, then I will not give it my best effort and it then becomes a chore and hence 'work'. If I am in the mood to do it, then the task becomes a pleasure and it shows. I am happier doing it and so do a better job.

So my advice is, do what you need to do when you are in the right frame of mind to do it! Why cause yourself unnecessary grief?

Writing lists takes time, and time is precious and could be spent on doing something more pleasurable.

Hope this helps! If it does, explain it to my wife and Manager - PLEASE!! LOL!!!:D :D

11-21-2002, 09:47 PM
I have aquestion is your wife a first born and you the youngest?

Ron van den Boogaard
11-22-2002, 07:19 AM
Procrastinating in itself is not so bad, what makes it horrible is the self-induced guilt. The should-haves and the could-haves, not to mention the would-haves.
For some people lists can be of great help, but it also can make matters worse if you don't succeed to fullfill the lists. So be nice to yourself and not induce guilt is one thing. And I find you actually get more things done, be it not in a specific order. This week I did parts of my website and refurbished a heater, but did not paint. Now you could call that procrastinating, but they are things that I felt like doing. I was in the mood for them.

On another level -and I am a great adept of Julia Cameron- procastrinating is a sign of blockage. The earlier remark I made here on reading The Artist Way was not meant as a joke. I truly belief in that as it gives you great insights in why the procastrinating is happening.

And Debi: I am the oldest of two.

And now I am off to buy a fuse, the laundry can wait and I will paint this afternoon.

Ron vdB (http://home.wanadoo.nl/brainbox)

11-22-2002, 07:26 PM
Cover that d*** television set with a sheet and shove it into the darkest corner of your basement!

Covering the computer also helps.

Also, I read that women have a much harder time than men scheduling time to paint. Like you said, the little things always get in the way: you have to clean the house, the kids need attention, your files need organizing..!!!!! the list goes on and on. I always feel guilty sitting down and painting if the kitchen floor isn't swept, or the counters aren't perfectly clean..hmmmm...
What I realized was that I was suffering from a lack of priorities. Now, I repeat to myself over and over throughout the day painting comes first, painting comes first..... I put painting at the very top of my list.
It also helps to keep a log of how much time you actually spend time painting in your studio. I'm designing one right now :) I'm going to use it for business purposes as well.
Hope this helps you! :D

11-23-2002, 10:18 AM
Wow ...I could not agree more with the comment about women finding it hard to make the time...

I was very good my first 4 years making time to paint almost every single day. I would put painting at the top of my list , I considered it an occupational priority . But currently, my spouse is away on an extended trip with his work (7 months) - leaving me with my kids , job , house, pets, bills & shopping, repairs and snow shovelling to boot ...

Guilt about not having time to paint is a strong factor, but so is simmering resentment that I cannot even find a moment these days to do something I love, and need to do ...The ideas have come but I have little or no time to implement them beyond scatching them down on a piece of paper ...arrrghhh! It feels like being forced onto a sabbatical but on someone else's terms, not mine ...

For the first time in my life I am entertaining going way after he gets home this time ( several weeks later of course ...lol) , renting a cabin for a few days to retreat and paint till I drop ...I have already mentioned this to him and I he agrees ...I honestly think I will need this to pull myself back together artistically...

My husband and I are both first borns ...had to answer that as I thought it was interesting that it was asked of Johny :D

Sorry about the rant and thank you in advance for your patience! ;)

11-23-2002, 10:28 AM
...upon reading through other threads, this reply of mine was better suited for "How Does Stress Effect Your Creativity" thread ...lol ;)

11-23-2002, 10:46 AM
In answer to the questions, I am the youngest and my wife IS the first born. Why? !:confused:

I might fight my lethargy and procrastination if I feel up to it tomorrow!

11-24-2002, 07:32 AM
Interesting points, but why should we be ruled by time? -Johnny

Ilis, Hi. As a lifetime member of the "Time Killers and Procrastinator's Club", I heartily disagree with Johnny, albeit in a friendly way.

Give me an afternoon, my computer, some new magazines and a good movie and I can kill the entire day without batting an eyelash.

Time and the awareness of time, is the only thing that keeps me on track.

I have found a pyschological remedy. I am not exactly sure how it works, but it does.

I take a kitchen timer and place it on "one half hour". Just the awareness that the timer is counting down gets me moving. I get the kitchen clean and my painting started before the timer clicks off. When the half hour is up, I start the timer all over again.

It has solved my "I have all day to get things done" attitude and I "do it now" rather than later or never.


11-24-2002, 09:42 AM
I don't have any problems with people disagreeing with me in any capacity. In fact I welcome it, just leads to more colourful World in which to live. It would be boring and tragic if everyone was the same.

I readily admit that my views will not suit everyone. We have a saying over here - "Horses for Courses."

If allowing yourself a specific time for a specific time suits you, carry on and do it. It does not suit me, that's all. I like to do things in my own time and in my own way. I also know that this can and does upset a lot of people I have worked with. As far as I am concerned, that is their problem. I am myself and that is the way I choose to be.

"Do not hold back the swift
Nor rush onwards the tortoise."

Extract from "Idolise What The Brain Has Kissed"
by John Redman

Peace and Happiness!

Ron van den Boogaard
11-24-2002, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by JohnnyRed
I readily admit that my views will not suit everyone. We have a saying over here - "Horses for Courses."

"Do not hold back the swift
Nor rush onwards the tortoise."

I agree with you Johnny, sometimes I procastrinate (I wish there would be in Dutch that is equally beautifull) so much really nothing gets done, sometimes I do so much I don't have the time to procastrinate.
I look at it as different energy levels at different times and in the end I feel things get done anyway. But you have to look at it over a longer period. And sometimes not doing things it does happen frequently that those things take themselves of the list in some miraculous way.

But it does annoy people and then just when they get used to it they get really surprised when things do happen. Restored an old heater for a friend this week and she was totally blown away that the job was done in two days, she had counted on early January.

I used to be in advertising where it was quite fashionable to work 60-80 hours a week. After a few years I noticed that it was entirely possible to do the same stuff in half the time and have time to spare to watch Jeremy Clarkson and all the football matches that you can imagine (that is soccer for you guys across the pond).

Personally I feel the main thing about it is self-induced guilt. If you make yourself feel bad because something wasn't done then procastrinating is a bad thing (I vaguely seem to remember from a distant past).
Renee wrote previously: "Give me an afternoon, my computer, some new magazines and a good movie and I can kill the entire day without batting an eyelash."
It does not sound like boredom or anything, sounds like you get a lot done: watching a movie, read magazines, do stuff with your computer. It is just that the to-do list said this was not allowed and the dishes had to be done. So you were very unkind to yourself. And amazingly dishes sitting in the sink have a tremendeous patience, they can stay there for weeks and not moan about it and if you wait long enough they turn themselves into really interesting art projects. (I have not yet found a way to conserve a satisfactory way to conserve the mold, so if anyone can be of help, pls.)

Well time to have a beer and Clarkson is on in a few hours, so I better get prepared.

Ron (http://home.wanadoo.nl/brainbox)

11-27-2002, 04:10 PM
This has been interesting reading - really shows how different we all are. I'm a list person - and always break the jobs up into small bits so I can keep adding the ticks as they get done. Sort of childish I guess - but it does spur me on.

I sometimes use the timer too Renee, if theres something I really dont want to do. I set it for 30 mins and work like mad at my job to see how much of it I can get done in the time - it sort of becomes a 'beat the bell" game. Again rather childish - but hey - if it works....

Also appropriate music - loud, cheery pop for housework!


11-27-2002, 05:34 PM
First I sort what absolutely has to be done and what doesn't. I make lists. I give myself deadlines.


11-28-2002, 09:24 AM
Hi ya llis.... As for me, music helps get me "in the mood" and tackling the worst job first and getting it over with also helps me.
I don't have enough of those to actually make a list - probably because I won't allow myself to let them pile up. It is so much more fun to paint when not feeling quilty about un-finished chores LOL Carol

11-28-2002, 11:09 AM
Great inspiration here!

I have ADD so list-making is like breathing for me. It's the ONLY way anything gets done around here.

I work on my porch, and need time in the mornings for the temp to be liveable (winter schedule...in the summer it's the reverse). That's my time to do household things. After months of chaos, I drew up a schedule. Each room gets a different day for tidying up, and one morning is just vacuuming the whole place (just a 5-room apartment, thankfully). My kids have chores now, on their own schedules, so that helps. I also have a Palm Pilot that I use religously (my other brain), to remind me about appointments, paying bills, and things like that.

Like others have said, breaking down big things into smaller tasks helps enormously.

11-28-2002, 11:02 PM
Thanks much everyone. All great ideas. Johnny wish I could have the liberty to do things when I wish, but alas I have to work and get those stupid things done so I can have ME time. There is nothing I enjoy about work. Work is work that is why they call it work..... LOL

I think it's that very resentment of having to work that keeps me procrastinating. That statement probably will not make any sense to those that do have the liberty to do things when they feel like it, but in all reality it's a big killer for me. I know those big jobs have to be done, but I keep putting them off until I'm forced by time to get them done by the deadline. I hate that almost as much as I do the "work" robbing my ME time.

When I worked away from home, I sorta had my time scheduled for me. When I came home, I did the house stuff but the weekends were MINE. I lived for the weekends and when I had the chance to work from home, I jumped at the chance thinking that I could work at my own pace and have more ME time in the long run. Now I'm finding that I work ALL the time. Forget weekends for me. My work follows me around all the time and robs me of my creativity. I tend to put those big jobs aside and piddle with the little things until I can't put those big jobs off any longer.

I really liked the idea of making a schedule. I do a bit of that already, but I think I could use a little bit more organization and planning. In the long run, planning really does save steps. It's like painting really... you can really do so much better if you take time to plan before you begin. Do those thumbnails... check out those colors.... think a bit. That's sorta like making a list.

Recently I've decided to TAKE some me time. What's the saying... all work and no play... I'm taking Wednesday mornings and Sundays to be all my own no matter what. Of course, it might help if I told my husband what my decisions had been.... then he would not have been so surprised to see me burst out in tears when he handed me a big contract last Sunday that needed to be typed by Monday morning. Sigh... what's a girl to do? :)

Ron van den Boogaard
11-29-2002, 05:42 AM
Like I said before: reading and doing The Artist Way is one thing. The whole matter of procastrinating is covered extensively in it. This thread could go straight into that section.

Directly from that book; tell husband and friends and kids and whoever, what time is yours and that it is absolutely non-negotiable.

Then there are jobs to be done and jobs to be done. Some jobs need to be done, sure. Tax-returns need to be filed in time and the dogs need to be walked. No way around it. But there are a lot of jobs that are conditioned behaviour. Look at jobs critically and some can be done less, some can be done by others.

"Give me something pleasurable to do and I never have to work again" Plato said. Some jobs can be made fun. I used to hate doing the dishes, now I have made it a sort of meditational exercise; do them with complete attention. And it actually have become a fun thing to do. And as a result only seem to take a few minutes. If something is fun and you don't hate them, then there is less point procastrinating.

Fear is as we all know probably the worst kind of emotion. But a lot of them are little fears we make up ourselves "The neighbours will think I am a slob, when the newspapers all over the floor." Etc. Silly because we have no way of knowing what they will think, we just make that up in our own minds. And if they say what they think and it is not favourable, should you care? Perhaps they are not the right wpeople to have around. You should spend time on art first, the rest later, so if neighbours/friends/whoever thinks it is not right, that means they're not supportive of your art, so there is no place in your life for them. And then I have found that when things are changed often people come up with totally different things then the expectation we did create in our own minds.

Guilt. A lot of the procastinating has to do with the guilt we create. We beat ourselves over the head when things don't get done. We make ourselves feel bad and thus create a downward spiral, less gets done, we feel awfull about it so the jobs to be done turn into a huge mountain that is very difficult to face.
This is one part that pleads against lists. With a list all this goes on record and it is actually on paper where we "failed" (Don't get me wrong I am not saying they're not helpful, but they carry this risk in them)

Although right now I did come to grips with this stuff, it took quite a few books and conversations to get me there. And once again The Artist Way has been extremely helpful. Also Chopra's "Seven Spiritual Laws for Success", Eckhart Tolle's "the Power of Now". But as books go, you need to run into the one that speaks your tone of voice, but they have the rare quality of turning up by themselves. When the student is ready, the master.....



11-29-2002, 06:10 AM
Thanks Ron.... I've been thru The Artist's Way a couple of times and even lead a group here on WC, so I do know where you are coming from. I don't use list making as something to hold my feet to the fire over, but rather a focus tool.

I think it is indeed a good idea to re-read and learn again... and I do agree that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. After saying that.... I want more. LOL Just looking for more and more creative ways to quit procrastinating. There has to be a new idea out there somewhere.

Another thought I had is that perhaps it's in my genes.... you know, something that is so a part of you that it's almost impossible to overcome.

Thanks for adding in the titles of those other two books. I've not read either one of those. :) I've been meaning to do that, but I keep putting it off. :)

Ron van den Boogaard
11-29-2002, 08:14 AM

what seems to be in the genes or personality os quite often a deep routed beleive that often got imprinted in us at a very young age. Can be beleives of our parents that "work is bad" or play is "bad". It stays with us all our life and it is buried so deeply that we can't really get a hold on it, but somehow it keeps determining our actions.

A few years back I learned something from a lady who did "family-constellations". In short they put a bunch of strangers together, who mysteriously start behaving as your own family (really strange experience, btw). Somehow the cause deep-routed problem comes up and is then handed back in the form of a symbol to the parent/grandparent/uncle where it came from. and in some mysterious way it disappears.

Not wanting to go through a workshop myself, I did the following; I looked at my youth and all the things that were said and done and it make me see where some of my actions came from. What my mother had said to me as a young child. I then wrote a letter in which I thanked my mother for what she had given me and telling her what I wanted to hand her back as there were quite a few things I did not need from what she had given me. Printed out the letter, stuffed it in an envelop, just wrote "mother" on it (no address: I just needed to get rid of stuff, no need to start an argument with her) and chucked it in the mail. Did the same thing with a letter to my late father. Et voila, it did work and it did change my actions and the way some things in my life.

And I find writing very creative, so perhaps?


Ron vdB (http://home.wanadoo.nl/brainbox)

11-29-2002, 08:30 AM
Great idea Ron. :) You may very well have hit on the root of my procrastinatation.

I did a bible study once on prayer life where we explored praying thru troubled areas. One of the things that we did was identify our relationship with our parents and what effect they had on our prayer life. Seems strange, but if you think about it, many people would have trouble praying to "Our Father" if they did not have a good relationship with their earthly father. Sorta hard to believe in a all loving Father if your earthly father didn't give you that to begin with.... that sort of thing. Anyway ... same type of thing in the 10 step program for alcoholics... they are told to contact everyone that they have hurt or has hurt them and make amends.... if the person has died, then pretend they are talking to them in a pretend chair and talk with them getting everything out that they want to say. For some in our group it was quite heart wrenching.

I agree, this procrastination thing has very deep roots and some we may never understand or overcome.

Ron van den Boogaard
11-29-2002, 08:52 AM

no matter what you read or do it are always the same basic things over and over again, so I am not surprised to read about the Bible study and AA.

I agree, this procrastination thing has very deep roots and some we may never understand or overcome.

Now, don't make this an affirmation, otherwise you won't get anywhere!


11-29-2002, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by Ron van den Boogaard

Now, don't make this an affirmation, otherwise you won't get anywhere!



11-30-2002, 12:48 AM
When i am procrastinating about anything in my life i use the what i call "The Rocking Chair".I imagine myself at seventy years old sitting on a porch(note im using the American word so you know what i mean,in Oz we call it a verandah),in my rocking chair and thinking and going back over my life. While i do it i think about what the thing im not certain about and see what my life would have been like if i had just gone ahead and done it or if i didnt.If i regretted not doing something or trying it then i jump right in and do it,but if i dont feel something then i know its not important to me in the end.Not sure if that is of any help to you with your art but amazing how it puts alot of things into perspective.

11-30-2002, 09:12 PM
:D Great idea, Moo. :D

12-01-2002, 06:45 AM
The best way I have found of putting things in perspective is to say, "In a hundred years, who will care?"