You’ve had trouble prioritizing work or creative time in your schedule. Maybe you’ve had a hard time finishing an assignment you really didn’t want to do at the moment, but had to do eventually.
Does this sound familiar?
You put it off and do other things like binge watch Netflix, wash your dog, or throw glitter in the air, but at the back of your mind, all you can think about is the project needing to be done. You’re unable to enjoy your current activity because the unfinished project looms over you like a dark rain cloud.
We’ve all experienced this. I used to experience it frequently when I was in school. But about two years, ago a friend of mine told me there was a method to procrastinating. I tried it and discovered just how well it worked.
Before I get into what I learned, keep in mind the process requires focus, concentration, and some will power.
Now, the first thing you want to do is determine the task that needs to be done. I’ll give a simple example: You need to study a script for an upcoming play.
Ok, once you determine the assignment, flush out the specifics. Make your approach to the script breakdown less vague, so that you know exactly what you need to do to study effectively.
For example, instead of just reading your lines over and over again until you’re blue in the face, you can ask questions about your character’s past and their objective in the scene. You can check out a great article about breaking down a script here for help.
After you’ve given the assignment enough thought, set a timer for an hour. The next step is to get the assignment completely out of your mind. Do NOT think about the script or anything related to the script for one hour.
You’re allowed to literally do anything else, except for thinking about the script (or anything illegal). I suggest watching something, playing a game, reading, exercising or throwing glitter (it’s super fun!) – anything to keep your mind engaged. Your focus should be fully on what you’re presently doing for one hour.
Then when the timer goes off, immediately stop what you are doing. Set the timer for an hour again, but this time, only work on the assignment and think of nothing else. Put off all distractions. Lock yourself in your room. Be isolated and think only of the script and remember what you specifically need to do to get it done. If it helps, set goals and make checklists during this time.
For the whole hour, work on the script and you’ll be surprised how much you’re able to get done. When the hour is up, switch it up again and only focus on whatever you feel like doing.
The variety will help keep your brain active and fresh. Repeat this cycle until you’ve finished your assignment. It will not only challenge you to stay focused, but accomplish what needs to be done.
This is difficult to do at work, because you’re expected to work all of the time. But this technique can be used outside of work when you find you have time on your hands. This has helped me when I’ve had trouble focusing in the past, and it should work for you. So procrastinate away!
But remember, it requires discipline and determination. May deliberate procrastination help in your creative process and with any project you need to complete.