Procrastination Boot Camp Revisited: Have you started working in your boot camp projects?

In Friday’s post I talked about motivation being created by projects asking small questions, about what we can accomplish as we work through them, and a big question of whether we can create what we set out to achieve. Over the weekend I considered the  list of unfinished projects I drew up for the procrastination boot camp, the challenges they posed and what questions they asked me.

Procrastination Boot Camp List

Finished Roman BlindsThe blinds had felt too challenging, so answered the big question, Can I make these? immediately with a big fat ‘NO’.

Knitted SlippersConversely the knitted slippers answered the big question too soon – I knew I could finish them as soon as the knitting part was finished, so I gave up before I had sewn them together.

Bethelhem Star BlockThe Bethlehem star block had been a real challenge to make, but once I had finished it, I knew it would be easy to turn it into a cushion. Once more, the big question, Could I make this? was answered too soon. So the block is still waiting to become a cushion.

Even worse than no longer finding a project challenging, I never considered the curtain tiebacks a challenge – just a chore to save money.  So they never posed any questions.

These first four projects underline the idea that motivation is strong if a project has a mixture of small challenges and an uncertainty about the final outcome that remains until the very end.  However, the patchwork block, the cross stitch project and the short story  all posed small questions about completing/creating individual parts of them and asked the big question, Can I complete this? Yet, I had still abandoned them.

Lanarte Embriodery

Reflecting on these three projects, I recognise they had one thing in common with all the projects on my boot camp procrastination list; prior to drawing up the list, I believed I had no real need to complete them. However, since I took the boot camp approach, I have completed the blinds and the slippers, despite their lack of creative challenge. Nothing about these two projects themselves changed when I created the list. What changed was that creating the list told me I needed to finish them, because they were sapping my creative energy. In other words, my need to reclaim my creative energy was more influential than the creative challenge they, or any other projects on the list, offered me.

If you made a boot camp list, but haven’t worked on any of the projects on it, ask:

What are the reasons I made this list?

If there isn’t an obvious reason you need to finish, can you find a different perspective that shows you really do need to finish?

12 thoughts on “Procrastination Boot Camp Revisited: Have you started working in your boot camp projects?

  1. Interesting post – maybe I am in denial but I don’t see myself as a creative procrastinator – my projects are ongoing, and because I never follow anyone else’s patterns rather making it up as I go along, sometimes I need a break from the project for a while. Do I ask myself a question? not really – maybe can I replicate the delicacy of a snowdrop in felt? – and then I am off with the scissors and felt and obsessed by it until its done.

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    1. I agree, sometimes we need to take a break from a project, but that doesn’t mean we’re procrastinating. Maybe you aren’t a creative procrastinator – which is only to be applauded – but a lot of people are, so hopefully my reflection will help someone move on.

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  2. What changed was that creating the list told me I needed to finish them, because they were sapping my creative energy….this is my favorite line in your post. It is also the reason I did some sorting today in order to face some projects I want to do BEFORE I start others! Thanks!

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  3. Sorry the second half of my post was lost!

    However, I procrastinate in other areas and asking questions as to why I am resisting doing something is a great strategy, it helps to unlock barriers (often unconscious) armed with that information I can turn it into motivation.

    For example – I put off writing up instructions for projects – why? its the least fun aspect of creativity, unless I have to for a specific purpose, such as a submission date or running a course, I will put this off.

    So your process of asking questions helps me to clarify what the barriers are and also what I need to keep motivated.

    I am target orientated and competitive – I struggle to admit the competitive element but it is often the strongest ally in getting things done!

    Thanks – your posts always give another way of looking at things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post and comments. I think you really touched on something, Bekki, when you said that procrastination zaps one’s energy. So true!! And the idea of having an honest dialogue with oneself by asking questions is a great place to start moving forward again… No matter what one is procrastinating about. Even the questions might vary for each person, but tapping into why there is avoidance is key. Thanks for reminding us of that!

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    1. Thanks for your comments Carina. I think you’re right, procrastination is a slippery fish, it’s so important to be honest with ourselves about it. And yes, I agree the questions may well vary for different people.

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  5. Procrastination just robs the valuable time you have. Once something fails it can knock me back. I’ve been putting off starting the process of making a pair of jeans, I have an on-line course to follow and finally got around to starting to watch it. The course is broken down into clear stages and I’ve realised that’s how I need to work on them – in small steps and not try to do too much at once. So this evening I’m starting – once I’ve finished reading blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Helen, thanks for your comment. You’re right things often seem daunting because we’re focussing on big picture, when in fact all we need to do is work on the next step. Hope you made a good start on the jeans.

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