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Monday, September 07, 2009

Professional Procrastination


Never put off til tomorrow what you can put off til next week... no, that's not right, is it? But lots of people put things off indefinitely, and I can be numbered amongst them, sometimes... Usually, I'm waiting for 'the right time'. That special, elusive 'right' time, when I'll a. feel like it b. have everything available c. want to do it d. know I can do it e. have the time to do it....and I'm sure there are lots of other things that have to be in place before I can do whatever it is.

Now, if what I'm trying to do is something unpleasant, you could perhaps see the point in putting it off. But often, what I'm aiming to do is, in fact, what I WANT to be doing...or so I say, anyway. So what's wrong with that picture? I don't let anything get in between me and a bar of chocolate (my friends and colleagues will confirm that). So why would I let things get in the way of making art? Sometimes it's to do with not being ready. I have an idea for the new Quilters Guild Contemporary Quilt Group challenge, for instance. It's part of a much larger idea I have about scars, erosion and things breaking through to the surface from the depths. I've been playing with this for a while, working with marks and images in between the writing of the books. Sitting here, now, thinking about it, that series has been ready to make for a while. I've just been doing other things, like writing, and the Paid Job, and Festival of Quilts. All of those things are great fun, and a good way to spend my time. However, and it's a big however, it doesn't get the art made.

So, what do I really want? At the moment, I want to finish the Evolon book, which is so nearly done that it hurts, to send away all the orders I've had for the completed book over the last few days (thank you all!) and to call the bank for information that I need to complete my tax form. And oh, yes, I want to make art. So, today and tomorrow, I have the time I need to clear my feet, fulfil those orders, meet with the art teacher at the school to discuss a potential project, nip to the doctor's to collect my happy pills (always important!). I'll also run a workshop on Tuesday night, and hopefully go to my friend Jill's opening (it's her MA finals show, and I don't want to miss it). I might even manage to shoehorn a haircut into Tuesday pm... And then I have three days at work. And then it's the weekend, and I have four whole days to focus on the art and the book.

Procrastination is fine, if you've got the time for it. I don't. So I have focussed on the essentials, my commitments in the short term, and I've decided how to tackle them. Many of these things are just a phonecall away. That takes five minutes from a whole day. The post office will take an hour, so will the school visit. But that's still a lot of time to get moving on what needs to be done. I'll be able to sit down with the Evolon manuscript and see exactly where I am with it, and scope out how I'm going to finish it in the next week or so. I've done enough worrying about fixing it; now it's time to fix it. Deep breath, and on it goes.

I talk about procrastination at some length in the Creative Focus book. It doesn't get a chapter to itself, though; it isn't that important. We just make it important in our heads. A bit of planning and a lot of focus gets us to where we want to be, and quickly, too. And I might just get a small bar of chocolate to reward myself with after all that work...I am on a diet, after all! But the main reward for this kind of planning is the feeling you get afterwards, that you have achieved everything you needed to, and the time ahead is now clear to get on with what you really want to do.

ps You know you're not making enough art when you can't find a new photo for a blog post... this one is 'Sun God', one of the projects in the upcoming Evolon book, a rust dyed and stamped piece of Evolon, ready for stitch.

10 comments:

Heather said...

I love Sun God - he's beautiful. In my case, procrastination comes from a fear of messing things up. In your case it must stem from having too many other things to do first. They must be tumbling over themselves to be prioritised. Hope you fit in your art days as soon as possible and looking forward to receiving my copy of Lovely Lutrador.

circleinthesand said...

Oh Marion, I can soooooo relate. I am the Queen of Procrastination....and I like your chocolate therapy!!! And, I too, like to paraphrase Miss Scarlet - my favorite saying is "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow"!!!

Beth said...

I can totally relate. I enjoyed this.

Yankeegirl said...

Procrastination is fine, if you've got the time for it.

LOVE that line!! I think most of us can relate to this posting. Well done, Marion.

Chauncey said...

It is great to see I am in such good company.

Wonderful post, Marion!

Judi B said...

Terrific post, Marion. I did not realize we are both coaches! What fun. And -- I have a passion for lutradur. My little art quilt greeting cards use lutradur on the tags.

Judy Nolan said...

No time for procrastination (LOL)! There's also a saying that you make time for the things that are important to you. Great blog post!

JaneO said...

Don't put off making time for procrastination - now there's a motto for a tee-shirt. Would my house ever get cleaned if I weren't avoiding getting on with my artwork? Probably not. Good luck getting it all done.

Lisette♥Shade of Shadow said...

Love your blog and I really love your work it's very inspiring.
Good luck with your book and art!

Nina E J said...

I couldnt agree more- it is so easy to procrastinate, and you do it although you want to do the thing you are procrastinating for! how ironic huh?! Love the image by the way, its lovely and looks mysterious!