According to some psychologists, active procrastination can enhance your ability to creatively problem solve. Sounds pretty good right?
Hit the link below to read about this in more detail. The team at HQ have also weighed in on their favourite way to actively procrastinate.
Working on a big idea is all consuming. A mainstream 8-hour working doesn’t work for me. So from the moment I awake around 5am, to the moment I sleep, my day needs to be broken into iterative loops of active and passive problem solving… Meditation. Breathing. Showering. Cycling. Yoga. Stretching. Walking. Juicing. Bus Journeys. Driving. Reading. Guitar playing. Small talk. Eating. Music. Drinking. Ranting. Take a bath. Sleeping. These are all useful ways to actively procrastinate. Just make sure you switch off and relax at least two hours before you want to sleep, i.e. no screens. That way your sleep time become a useful passive problem solving time too.
I actively procrastinate when I can’t figure out how I want to approach something. Most often it’s when I’m writing … I know broadly what I want to say but maybe not the best way to say it. I’ll take some time out, maybe go for a walk or a run, and just let my mind wander. I trust that my subconscious mind will go to work on it and I’ll come back and be able to write what I need to.
It’s not so much procrastination and it is knowing my mind has to be empty before I start something I really care about. I know a few elements have to be in place before I go… I have to be outside. Or at least with a decent expanse of green in front of me. Water or mountains are where I find most calm. I also have to have a decent desk or table for handwriting (or laptop if I’m really stuck). It’s a very a introverted, peaceful time for me, so I hate having other people around. My favourite spots are on trains or planes (I once wrote an entire short story on my flight from Singapore to Borneo), at my parents place in the Douro Valley or my family farm. The empty space always gets filled with something extraordinary so I know it works…
Other musts are my dog (for the occasional break) and a glass of wine (no more than one or my creative lines gets slightly fuzzy… and I can’t read my handwriting any more).
I agree with Jeremy. For me, active procrastination or purposeful delay is a form of passive problem solving. Going to the gym before work is my preferred way to disconnect and kick-start my day. Similarly, reading a book, taking a long shower or choosing to stroll into work in the mornings are moments that allow my mind to wander. The creative challenges that I face don’t simply disappear just because I’m not actively thinking about them. Your unconscious mind is brilliant at drawing connections when you least expect it. I’ve had my best a-ha moments while distracted with other stuff.
When ever I need a break or feel like I can’t focus, I turn to food (I’m sure the team is not surprised by this!). Whether it is cooking a meal from scratch or popping some popcorn in the microwave, the action of preparing food (and eating it of course!) always helps my mind to relax and refocus. Cooking is a form of creativity, right?! So being creative with food opens my mind up to being creative in others areas of my life. Many a work notepad has been ruined by grubby fingers!
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