Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?
I am a perfectionist. I am a procrastinator. I like to write lists and tick items as they are completed. I’ve even been known to add items if they’ve happened to be done as an aside. There is little more frustrating than closing the office door knowing some items are languishing waiting to be ticked off. Being disorganised and overthinking each task can make me anxious and then the inner critic kicks in which is the usual cause of procrastination rather than perfectionism. After all there is so much to be anxious about: will the content be the quality required; do I know how they like their work presented; are the statistics accurate and properly researched; is the type font the right size and style and what if the deadline comes and goes and the project is still awaiting that perfect final touch.
An approaching deadline is a personal motivator, having to pull things together at the eleventh hour helps keep me focussed on the end result. Internal dialogue (white noise) has led me to explore opportunities for personal growth and development through which I’ve found having a creative outlet reduces the volume of that critic . I find that in the midst of the creative flow procrastination is an awkward stranger.
On the other hand having to do anything from a sense of duty quashes creativity and invites procrastination. Thinking about having to do anything usually rouses the debate of ambivalence as the two brains battle it out. The creative right side chasing the adrenalin rush versus the logical (self-critical) left.
The voice of the inner critic belongs to my father: That last blog was no good; you only got two likes and no comments; what makes you think you can write; call that seam straight, the corner is round and the pattern is out of synch …
In the presence of the critical voice creativity loses confidence: Gone, dead, died, gone to where dead creativity goes, dead as a dodo, dead as a doornail, dead as Monty Python’s dead parrot. Nothing deader than dead creativity.
However, hear this left brain: 2014 is the year of the right brain! A year of being deliriously, deliciously and bountifully happy with imperfection.
In the very olden days when I was a teenager Leonard Cohen wrote a song called Anthem …
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Imperfection, 2014 is your year. All cracks permitted (some wise ones too).
It will be a year when the light will shine through those cracks and illuminate creativity. This is my prayer for myself and it is my prayer for you too.