Gratitude and Procrastination: Can They Work Together?
Today is the day before Thanksgiving here in the United States. I have many things to be grateful for, including my procrastination. What? Yes, you read that right. I’m grateful for my tendency to put things off. I’m also grateful for many other things. Read on to find out more.
Things I’m grateful for:
1. My family: This goes without saying. My family is so important to so many aspects of my life. They support me, they make me laugh, and they inspire my creativity. While they may drive me a little crazy from time to time (because whose family doesn’t?), they love me even at my worst. They give me the opportunity to be a better person and to show the love in my heart.
2. A warm, secure home: I could certainly create in other circumstances; it’s been done. But being at home in my own space with the ability to close the door is a luxury I sometimes forget to be grateful for, so today I look around my space and I don’t see the laundry that needs to be done or dishes in the sink. I see comfort and laughter and time spent on creative pursuits. Procrastination kind of gets me in the housekeeping department but it’s okay because at least I have a warm, safe home to procrastinate in.
3. My gear: I could create without my computer or a lovely camera but I’m grateful for the means to have these things that allow my creativity to flourish. I could write on a notebook with a pencil or take photos with my phone (and sometimes I still do) but I’m not limited to that. I can write and edit on my computer any time of the day, even when the internet goes out because I have software that doesn’t require an internet connection. I have a camera that takes sharp, beautiful pictures and allows my imagination and my vision to soar. The sky’s the limit and all I have to do is allow the vision that I see in my mind to come out of my fingers.
4. The internet: I have a decent internet connection that’s fairly reliable. I can access learning with just a few clicks. I can expand my horizons in either writing or photography. I can become inspired through Facebook groups or TikTok videos or tweets or Pinterest boards. The world is at my fingertips and all I have to do is think of a few keywords.
5. Those of you who read my blog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to come to my website and read my thoughts or my book articles. You’re the reason I spend hours writing these posts.
There are so many other things I’m grateful for but those are the ones that relate most to my creativity and my output. Of course, I’m grateful for my health and for my pets, as well as a million other things.
Procrastination and gratitude
So by now you’re probably wondering why I’m grateful for procrastination and how the two work together. I recently read an article that said procrastination is more of an emotional response than a lack of motivation. It’s a response to feelings of fear of failure or of boredom. This really clicked with me. While I certainly find that I start putting things off when I don’t want to do them, like laundry or dishes, this isn’t always true of creative pursuits.
I’m grateful for my procrastination for two reasons:
1. It lets me know some emotion is working behind the scenes; and
2. It steers me in a different direction and gives me the motivation to work on something else.
When I start to notice I’m procrastinating on my writing, I can now analyze what emotions might be behind it. I might have a fear of failure: what if these edits are too much for me? Or what if I never get picked up by an agent? I might be bored with my writing temporarily. Once I notice these emotions, that might be enough to get me back on track.
If simply being aware of the emotions isn’t enough, I now know enough to give myself some space. Recently I started feeling overwhelmed by my novel revisions. I was procrastinating in unproductive ways like playing games on my phone. Once I started being aware of the emotions behind the procrastination, I decided to funnel my creativity in a different way. I began giving my photography business more attention and it’s really growing. Now that I’m on top of that, I feel renewed energy to go back to my novel.
Today I’m grateful for procrastination because it’s given me more of an awareness of my emotional state and because it’s also changed the way I look at how I create. I can still be a creative person, just in different ways when I’m feeling burned out on writing. I’ve learned to give myself the space to procrastinate and still create.
Do you find yourself procrastinating? Can you analyze why it is that you’re doing it? Maybe, once you’ve identified the reason behind it, you can begin to be grateful for it. Go out there and do something great despite your procrastination!
And happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. May you have much to be grateful for.