For some of us, nothing gets a house cleaner, the landscape tidier and the garage reorganized faster than an artistic deadline. Despite knowing in our bones that art and our business are our passions, some of us will do almost anything to avoid starting or finishing a project.
Artistic procrastination can strike the best of us, and in short bursts, it may not have any more of a side effect than sparkling kitchens and alphabetized food pantries. However, lingering procrastination can stifle the creative spirit and tank your business’s bottom line.
While procrastination may never be cured, it can be controlled.
Check for Underlying Issues
Before trying to corral your artistic procrastination, be sure something more serious isn’t at play. Mild avoidance and creative blocks are a normal part of most creative processes.
However, lingering procrastination may be a sign of burnout. Working multiple jobs, juggling family obligations and overcommitting can lead to weeks or months of creative avoidance.
Examine your schedule and time commitments, be honest about the physical and mental symptoms you may be experiencing, and seek out healthy ways to rise above burnout.
Once you’ve determined your wellbeing is not at risk, you can try the following tips.
We block out time for dentists and date nights — or they’d never happen. We can also block out time for our artistic endeavors.
In 1997, Fast Company referenced a study involving nurturing productive habits. They concluded morning people managed to procrastinate less because they had more energy earlier in the day — not to mention family and friends tend not to be so needy for attention during that time.
Night owls can mimic the habits of those morning folks by creating a hedge around their most productive time, letting loved ones know when their attention is off-limits to everything but their art.
Productive people also tend to make their effort and time do double duty. Can your art become part of your marketing? Using one creation in multiple ways can boost your output. Soundwave Art for Businesses utilizes augmented reality in marketing, showcasing your artistic skill and business savvy simultaneously.
Change Things Up
Sometimes all we need to get the passion flowing again is to add an extra dimension to what we already love. Consider taking a class or mentorship in your creative field. The creative side of your brain will have something shiny and exciting to add to your skill set.
A word of warning here, though: Learn what you need when you need it. Though it may be fun, there’s no need to study sculpting marble just yet if you’ve only begun whittling basswood. Joining a class like this before you’re ready is another form of procrastination.
If you run a business, adding unique new selling points for your art can boost motivation. Augmented reality technology is one way to do this.
Adjust Your Expectations
Life events, supply chain issues, family emergencies… Sometimes we think we can do it all. We can’t. And when we don’t meet our self-imposed expectations, we can fall into the artistic procrastination habit.
Reexamine how much you can do in a month and list specific, actionable steps you can accomplish given your life circumstances. Check the items off as you go, giving a clear visual reward for your forward momentum.
Laugh at Imperfection
Perfection kills productivity in any venue, but more so with creatives that like to endlessly nitpick over a piece, never releasing their creation into the world or putting it up for sale on their website. Check-in with yourself to ensure your fixing and tweaking isn’t just another way to avoid finishing or moving on to the next task.
Take a tip from Facebook’s motto: Move fast and break things. Create, release, repeat. Then Enjoy!