Thursday, 31 January 2013

Constructive procrastination

Hexagons © Karen Thiessen, 2012
Recently I came across a New York Times article about positive procrastination written by John Tierney. I was surprised to learn that like me, other folks have discovered the benefits of procrastination. I call it constructive procrastination. This week I procrastinated by finishing all my bookkeeping for 2012, even though it is not due until April. Normally I don't enjoy bookkeeping, but this week I did. I've also made 14 containers of soup stock, even though I don't like cooking. Early in my career I procrastinated writing my CV by labelling and filing all my slides, I procrastinated writing a grant proposal by cleaning windows. If I'm filing slides and cleaning windows, I'm being super constructive in my procrastination, because those are two activities on my list of the least enjoyable things to do. I'd rather have a root canal than clean windows (it's true). In the end I wrote the CV and the grant proposal and, having built momentum by completing other odious tasks, the writing wasn't so painful after all.

Once in a while I'll procrastinate with an enjoyable activity. Hexagons is the result of pleasurable constructive procrastination from summer 2012. I also made two table runners and a few other projects while I was at it. While I was engrossed with English paper piecing, I realized that I wasn't doing what was most important, but I couldn't face my current studio project. Stitching the hexagons allowed my mind to subconsciously chew at the studio project, so that when I finally dove into it in September, it flowed effortlessly.