• Shawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD

It May Not Be Procrastination

Stop assuming that you're procrastinating. Sure you and I both procrastinate on some things. Usually the ones we just don't want to to do. But there are often projects, be it for work, family, or personal pleasure that have us thinking the worst about ourselves, thinking we're procrastinating again, when we're actually not.


I often see this situation when the project requires a new way of thinking about the "whole thing" or putting various parts and pieces together to create something new. It could be a report your putting together for a client, a vacation you're planning, a space you're renovating, or a book you want to write. There seems to be this delay before you take action. A delay before you start building that report, before you make a decision on where you're going, before you clear the space, or before your start writing the first chapter. And you label that delay "procrastination" because you haven't started on the project.


An outline of a woman's face with stars and the universe as her mind - The Creative Process

The Creative Process


But you have started. Though there's no visible action, your wonderful, creative mind has started thinking about the project. The Creative Process has begun. Society has rewarded and lauded Action for so long that we have come to believe that if we're not doing then we're not working. However, before we start a project we need to think about it. We need to think how the pieces could go together. Then we need to think about how we want the pieces to go together.


Now that you know it's not procrastination, here's how to intentionally influence (and embrace) the Creative Process.

  • Give yourself an hour or so to review the project. Review what's required, what you know, what you don't know yet, who else is involved, when it's due, what outcome is desired.

  • Create a mind map and get your thoughts down on paper. Yes, paper. Go old school. Get out your colored pens, pencils or crayons. Grab some blank paper and start drawing connections between your ideas. There are apps out there that can help create a mind map and there's no one "right" way to do a mind map. However, since the goal is to embrace the creative process and to provide space for it to work, involving your body fully in the process will help. Feel the marker in your hand. Touch the paper. Watch as your hand moves from one thought to another. Enjoy the colors blooming on the page. It's all about you making connections. Here's an example of one of mine.

Example of a mind map

  • Let your mind wander in an out of this project as it chooses. You can encourage your creative processing over the next few days and weeks by bringing the project to mind, then allowing it to slip back into your subconscious. Let your mind continue rolling the ideas over and over as you go for a walk, drive to the store, or take a shower. No stressing or worrying. You're not procrastinating. You're using this time to process the information.

  • Start doing. You may feel ready to take the project on or your calendar indicates you need to start now to get it done. You're ready, go!


Embrace the Creative Process - woman's head in outline as the background

What habits, skills, and strategies do you need to develop to embrace your Creative Process?


If you want a partner in building that strategy contact Shawndra.





If you still want tips for dealing with procrastination, read about the 5 Strategies to Stop Procrastinating.