Creative Flow: 8 Reasons Why Procrastinating is Better than Working
Don’t you hate wasting time? You need to get to it and do the work.
But what if forcing yourself to do the work isn’t always the best answer? What if doing so will result in long lasting creative blocks?
On the other hand, procrastination could hold unlimited potential for your sanity, overall well being, and productivity.
I’ve become prolific because I learned the value of procrastination. I stopped fighting it and gave into it wholeheartedly.
Procrastination could be the key to unlocking your creative flow too.
I love creating stuff that matters and I like to think I’ve been rather successful, but there are times when I just I don’t feel like it. I’d rather be doing something else, even if it’s just daydreaming, or, as too many others see it, procrastinating.
I’m cool with that. And yet I’m one of the most productive people I know. Seems kind of odd doesn’t it?
I’ve talked with others I know who are extremely productive, more so than I am, and all have admitted they don’t buy into the “work your butt off” mentality.
It’s liberating and allows one the freedom to remove unnecessary pressure that otherwise would inhibit one’s creative flow.
I’ve spent the last two weeks not writing and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it, and I don’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty about it.
Here’s the thing, when I force myself to write I end up with work I don’t appreciate or I spend hours staring at a screen until my eyes are about to pop out.
That’s wasting time! And it is stressful.
Procrastinating is better than spending time stressing myself out.
Creative types, especially writers, are famous for giving the advice to sit down and do the work even if you don’t feel like it. I refuse.
The mind needs down time, it needs time to ponder, and even time to recover.
If we are always going, going, going, forcing ourselves when our mind and body are telling us to rest, then we’ll just end up getting nowhere faster and probably crash somewhere along the way.
If we are creating just anything for the sake of staying busy, we are more likely to be unhappy, miserable, and dissatisfied with the results.
So why do we force ourselves anyway? Put a stop the madness.
I discovered that the more time I put off writing and procrastinate, the more time I spend creating. It goes against everything I’ve ever been taught, but it works.
How’s that possible?
The short answer is: remember The Tortoise and the Hare? You can still win by taking your time.
The long answer is:
8 Reasons Why Procrastinating is Better than (Constantly) Working
1 – You’ll create work that matters to you.
Today we are all about working to meet deadlines, to get things done and then do more and more. It’s excess. And what we ultimately end up doing is burning out early and often. Downtime allows you to recharge your mind, body and soul. Recharged we create work that matters, that feels satisfying and worthwhile.
If you don’t feel like creating right now, that’s okay. Go for a walk, go to a movie or take a nap. When you’re ready to create you’ll know it and you’ll do a better job that you will appreciate.
2 – You’ll be less stressed.
Procrastination helps release stress.
Stress is not only counter-creative it is destructive. 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. (Read more from source.)
To be at your most creative you need to be relaxed, stress free, and ready and willing to enjoy the creative process.
3 – You’ll produce more.
Procrastination enables you to produce more by giving your brain time to take in and organize your thoughts, all that you have learned and researched. If the brain is always going from one task to another it doesn’t have time to refresh and allow thoughts to settle for further reflection.
4 – You’ll be happier.
By taking time off from the creative process you’ll find there are other things to enjoy than just your butt aching in a chair and your eyes getting sore from staring at the blank page on a computer screen.
The world is full of wonder and awe, go explore it and come back and write about it, paint what you saw, or sculpt something that caught your eye and inspired you.
5 – You’ll have more quality time for your loved ones.
My wife loves going to the zoo and visiting historical places, and so do I. But all too often I put off a day trip to stay home and write (to do the work as it were).
I’ve wasted too many days forcing myself to write when I didn’t feel like it and I ended up producing stuff I wasn’t happy with.
I don’t do that anymore. Instead, I get up, turn the PC off and take my wife somewhere wonderful. Watching her smile ignites my creative passion anew and when we get home I’m usually ready and willing to write stuff that matters to me (and hopefully my readers!).
6 – It’s easier.
We’ve come to a point in history when we believe everything must be ever more challenging in order to create wonderful work.
Procrastination is easy to do. The mind needs to know that “easy” is okay and not everything has to be a challenge to be worthwhile..
7 – Your natural creativity will flow.
Whenever you force yourself to create you’re not allowing your natural creativity to flow. You’re taking a “short cut” up the steep side of the mountain and it’ll take you ten times as long to get to the top than taking the winding path that leads leisurely to the top. Worse, you might give up because the path is too treacherous and exhausting.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s nothing wrong with a good challenge and putting in some hard work, but the point is that we can only go, go, go so long before we reach the point of diminishing returns.
8 – You’ll have time to eat healthier.
When you’re constantly busy there’s little time to eat properly. When I pushed myself to create, I constantly munched on gummy bears, popcorn and pop tarts, and drank plenty of coffee to wash them down.
By taking the time I deserve to relax and restore myself, I eat healthier food and more slowly. I actually enjoy my meals now.
Overall I feel much better, healthier, and when I sit down to create, I’m ready, willing and able, with energy to spare.
I’ve chosen to make procrastination something that works for me, not against me.
The problem is that too often when we take a break and are not doing some kind of work we call it procrastination. It’s always been a dreadful word none of us want to be accused of.
We’ll overwork ourselves to the point of burning out before we allow ourselves to be seen as procrastinating.
Let’s be honest, forcing ourselves to stay busy doesn’t mean we’ll produce more or that what we produce will be quality work.
No. More likely we’ll be silently resentful of all the time we spent staying busy and missing out on life. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but the day will come.
I say embrace procrastination and you’ll waste less time, and you’ll be energized when you do feel like creating.
Procrastination is a word. Powerful, maybe, but it only has the meaning and power you give it.
As humans we are meant to relax and do things to free ourselves from the daily grind so we can regenerate. Sleep, relaxation, and play are built into our DNA!
The fact is we can be way too hard on ourselves and force ourselves into creative blocks if we don’t listen to our mind and body.
If you’ve been feeling blocked for days on end it might be that your mind is overworked, your body is exhausted, and they are telling you something.
Listen to them.
Sounds like it’s time for some quality procrastination.
Have you taken any down time lately? Did it help? Share in the comments.