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Procrastination to Creativity?

Biz 101, Design, Strategy

In an effort to keep the non focused energy at bay, I turned on a series of Ted talks as I attempted to press on to get my day going.  Here’s where I landed… very fittingly, the first on the habits of an original thinker, and the second on the mind of a master procrastinator.

To my great relief and intrigue, both of these talks were not only on point, but seemed to support something other than we (as a mass grouping looking to get ‘ahead in life’) have typically been sold.  For years we’ve been fed the idea that unrelenting work and toil is what will get us ahead, but in an industry that in so many ways bucks the system of ‘how things are done’,does this model apply? Do creatives follow the same process?  SO…could there be something to procrastinating?? 

As was examined by Adam Grant in attempting to determine what makes up (what he calls) an Original, he stumbles on a couple points that I think are both interesting and comforting (I may or may not procrastinate myself).  He presented me with the idea of Creativity vs Productivity (in terms of procrastinating).  He addresses the pre-crastinator (one who worries long before the due date – or the Panic Monster), on a curve against the procrastinator (or the Instant Gratification Monkey)…these against Creativity levels.  What he found was that there is a ‘sweet spot’ between the two, typically with an amount of procrastination that seemed to stand out.  He noted that being given a task, procrastinating for a limited amount of time and then getting back to the task didn’t ignore the original request, but rather kept the task and its challenges working in the background. This didn’t always amount to being the first to create, but something even better…which leads us on.

Grant found that it is not necessarily the first to create that ended up being the most creative.  This lead to the realization that maybe being first is not the best (sure…a foot race still needs a first place, but there has to be more to life than that…lets continue). What if the Quick to start group – or the movers are not the group we all need to be in.  Granted, there has to be a first, but how many of those are still on top? What if its not the mover, but the position of improver that we should be aiming for?  What if a ‘slow to complete’ was the better more sustainable or lucrative path?  The thought that being different..but BETTER (and maybe not the initial) is where I fit in?  I have always been pro longevity in business; creating strategy for the long term, well structured gain rather than a quick burst (that is often not sustainable).  

Grant tells of a company that was beat to market in its industry…for a number of reasons, one of them being the founders back up plans and seeming lack of commitment created doubt; but what doubt?   Most would say doubt in the founder…if your not all in how can you make any idea or business work?  But what if its doubt in the idea that created the need to slow down?  What if the need to not necessarily get it all right or figure it all out trumps the need to be first in the space?   This had me thinking again…isn’t doubt just doubt?  Isn’t it all bad? It turns out…doubt is not just doubt.  So what if idea doubt leads you through a creative process that not only begins and ends with a great idea, but runs you though dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s?

So…with my gears turning, I jump into Tim Urban’s lecture, and end this on the best note.  It turns out, that even a procrastinator with a creative brain, will be creative regardless of the timeline!  The path is not straight, or ordered, and most likely will include hours on YouTube, but it will be creative and it just might be genius!