Last week, during a talk that I was having with one of my friends, we came across a topic that all artists will recognize… Procrastination.
And it’s not just artists.. All human beings are dealing with this behavioral pattern, including me.
We want to become fit but struggle to go to the gym.
We want to live a long life and be healthy but struggle to eat healthy every day.
I also struggle with doing a task NOW and it’s easy for me to postpone the task to ‘a better time’ (a.k.a. I’m procrastinating) but there’s a big risk of procrastinating too often in your life: you waste time.
I believe that time is the most valuable asset you have as a person so you need to do everything within your power to make the most of it.
And no, that doesn’t mean that you should make your life hyper-efficient and time-track every minute. The goal here is to enjoy life. Have a healthy balance between achieving your goals and living your optimal life at the same time.
In this blog, I’d like to give you my five cents on why I believe artists are professional procrastinators and lastly, I’d like to give you a few tips to overcome it and create more balance in your life.
Here’s why artists are professional procrastinators
The easy answer: Artists are humans and humans need to deal with all the imperfections that our minds and bodies have.
The hard answer:
- Creative Block: Artists may feel stuck or uninspired, making it difficult to start or continue a project.
- Perfectionism: Artists often have a strong desire to create something perfect or exceptional. This perfectionism can lead to procrastination as they may delay starting a project until they believe they have the perfect idea or skill level. (Spoiler alert: It will never be perfect)
- Fear of Failure or Rejection: The fear of not meeting their own standards or receiving criticism from others can cause artists to procrastinate. They may delay sharing their music out of fear of rejection or negative feedback.
- Overwhelm: Artistic projects can be complex and time-consuming. Artists may become overwhelmed by the scope of a project, leading to procrastination as a way to avoid dealing with the stress.
- Lack of Focus: Artists often have multiple ideas and projects in mind simultaneously. This abundance of creative ideas can make it challenging to choose one and stick with it, resulting in procrastination.
- External Distractions: Like anyone else, artists can be distracted by external factors such as social media, personal issues, or other responsibilities, leading to procrastination.
- Lack of Structure: Some artists thrive in structured environments with deadlines and external accountability. Without these constraints, they may struggle to manage their time effectively.
- Self-Doubt: Artists may doubt their abilities or question whether their work is valuable or meaningful, leading to procrastination as a way to avoid confronting these feelings.
- Lack of Motivation: If an artist’s creative work is not aligned with their personal goals or values, they may lack the motivation to start or complete projects.
- Burnout: Overworking or pushing themselves too hard can lead to burnout, causing artists to procrastinate due to mental and physical exhaustion.
I’m not sure if there’s anything that you’ve noticed within these bullet points but what I’ve noticed is that procrastination is the result of fear, insecurity, and self-doubt.
When you’re insecure about your own music, it becomes very appealing to procrastinate because once you decide to release your music, people might give you their opinion and say that it’s sh*t (that’s what you are afraid of). You are able to avoid these negative comments by simply not releasing your music and so that’s the decision most artists subconsciously take. The path of least resistance.
The same goes for your social content. If you’re insecure about how you look in a picture, chances are pretty big that you won’t post it because you want to avoid getting wrecked by negative comments from other people.
To me, it comes down to self-confidence.
How to overcome procrastinating
First, you need to love yourself and embrace your imperfections before you are able to put yourself out in the world. That is the fundamental part of the game. It all starts with self-confidence. You need to know who you are and what you stand for. You also need to know that you nor your work is not perfect (and it will never be perfect).
It’s OK to be imperfect.
Second, become self-aware.
Every time you procrastinate, you are postponing a task or decision that has to happen NOW. Next time this happens, try to be aware of your own thoughts. Try to catch yourself coming up with excuses and try to be hard on yourself. Do the task now. Make the decision now. You’re wasting time, trying to avoid short-term pain or conflict. Most of the time, the excuses that you come up with aren’t even realistic. Your brain is trying to answer a question that is impossible to answer and so it comes up with bullsh*t to stop you from doing it.
Will people like my song? You’ll never find out if you don’t release the song.
I know this is hard… It’s like a muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it gets and the easier it gets to recognize those moments when you are trying to self-sabotage.
These are just two relatively easy things you can do to overcome procrastination in your life. It will help you to achieve your goals, live a happier life, and stop wasting time.
If you struggle with procrastination and you feel that you aren’t able to deal with this yourself, feel free to reach out to me!