Procrastination Vs. Creative Thinking Time in Creative Agencies

Procrastination is something we all deal with on a daily basis, especially in creative agencies. Generally, procrastination happens when we are doing a task that does not seem particularly interesting or is one that we don’t know how to start. Webster Dictionary defines procrastination as “putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time”.

In a creative agency, procrastination can also happen when there is a creative challenge or creative block. Instead of tackling the problem head on we often end up surfing the internet to distract us from the job at hand. Facebook is one of the greatest distractors because of its constant feed that updates every minute with something new. It’s a dangerous way to fall victim to procrastination.

Procrastination vs. Creative Thinking in Creative Agencies

As I start a new project and stare at a blank screen, the first question that comes to mind is; Where do I begin? I find that when I try to focus, my mind wanders off before I snap back to reality and get to work. It’s human nature to have our minds wander while trying to start a new project or even finish one off. So, what do you do when you start to notice that your mind is wandering a little too much?

3 Tips to Help you Avoid Procrastination in a Creative Environment

  1. Take a Step Away
    From the computer or project and go for a short walk – I find that when I step away and let my mind wander off guilt-free when I return I am able to focus and rock out the creative job.
  2. Break it Down
    If you have already taken a walk and you are still aimlessly surfing the internet rather than attacking the project, find a smaller task that is related to the overall project and start there. If you are able to finish up a few small parts then this sense of accomplishment will fuel the motivation to attack the larger portions.
  3. Put it in a Time Box
    Another step you can take is to put a time frame for work and for play. If you break up the hours and put it into your mind that you will work for X amount of time and then take a break and do something fun for X amount of time. Then during the time where you set out to work, you will be more productive, as you know that in X amount of time you can take a break without feeling any guilt and this turns into creative thinking rather than procrastination.

Creative Thinking vs. Procrastination

For many people in the creative industry, it is hard to differentiate between creative thinking and procrastination since they often look the same. If you are like me, when you start a new project you will sit there for a moment staring at your screen and then quickly think, “Oh, I’ll just watch this video and then I’ll get started”, which then leads to a large amount of time spent scrolling the internet and being unproductive. Even though spending some time surfing the net can seem unproductive, doing it for a reasonable amount of time can give you the head space to get going on a project. The trick is to keep this amount of time reasonable so it doesn’t go from being a creative minute to hours of wasted time. To do this I always recommend starting lists, brainstorming via word clouds or pictures. This gets the creative juices flowing, without being to focused and it usually tends to turn up creative ideas. And this leads to a more productive use of your time and tends to keep you away from procrastination and more in the direction of creative thinking.

The sooner you get the creative juices flowing and stay clear of procrastination suckholes such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, the more you’ll get done and the better you’ll feel. Keep these above suggestions in mind to stay moving forward on the right track or to get you out of a procrastination rut.

This article was written by previous Function Point team member, Eric Ivker

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