Procrastination and the creative process

There are two types of people in this world. The people who get things done as soon as they know they need doing, and those that leave things until the last minute. Sometimes when I’m feeling super keen I am the former, but most of the time I still regress to my 15-year-old self, setting my alarm for 4am so I can finish my French coursework in time.


Why when I know I have weeks to complete a project, do I not start it until the latest possible minute? Why do I torture myself so?

This is the conversation I have with myself:

Sensible part of brain: Well, you’ve got lots of time for this work, so why not start now, get it done ahead of time, and be able to give it proper attention?

Silly part of brain: OR… I could have a little sit down and a biscuit, and start tomorrow? There is loads of time after all.

*repeat this conversation daily until the day before the work is due*

Silly part of brain, throwing biscuits on the floor in a panic: SHIT!!! I’ve only got a day!! Why didn’t I start earlier??

Sensible part of brain: SIGH

I found a cartoon today on my new very favourite website, Toothpaste For Dinner, that perfectly sums up my work style:

"The creative process"

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Working at home doesn’t help, as you’re surrounded by constant distractions that always seem so much more interesting. You know things are desperate when the hoover looks enticing. What strategies do you have for getting things done in a timely manner? Any top tips for avoiding procrastination?



  1. 1 November, 2012 / 10:37 am

    Oh I love this so much! I always, always plan to be prepared – and to be fair, I often start well in advance – but then I think ‘Oh good, I’ve got ahead of myself’ and then I sit back and wait until the deadline, thinking ‘No probs, I’ve already made a start’ only to find, when I go to ‘quickly finish it off’ that I’ve still got loads to do. Cue the ‘all the work while crying’ stage!

    • 1 November, 2012 / 2:32 pm

      Oh yes, that’s a classic – that false sense of security is fatal, especially if you end up with several things to ‘quickly finish off’ in one day!

  2. 1 November, 2012 / 10:42 am

    Love it!! And yes, this is how I work too!!

  3. 1 November, 2012 / 11:43 am

    Indeed! Us freelancers like to live on the edge!
    I sat down to work earlier – logged onto email, saw your blog, read it, clicked through to Toothpase For Dinner….oh look, almost lunchtime…:-)

    • 1 November, 2012 / 2:31 pm

      Haha! It’s easily done! I got distracted by Toothpaste for Dinner in the first place and just turned it into a blog post to ease the guilt :-)

  4. 1 November, 2012 / 11:49 am

    I’m afraid I’m one of those people that people hate. I’m organised to the hilt and early for everything. Homework was given out and I did it first night and now for example kids sports clothes are washed night they have played and then put in bag waitin in hall for the next week!!! No advice apart from I think it’s all down to DNA as my mummy and granny are absolutely the same!!

    • 1 November, 2012 / 2:31 pm

      Yes, you’re right, I hate you.

      Only kidding! I am sometimes organised like that, but then it slips a bit and it’s hard to get back on top of things then. Well done though, I am very impressed :-)

      • 1 November, 2012 / 2:51 pm

        Ha ha that comment by me was a bit like “oh my child slept through from 1 week old!!!” :) xx

  5. 1 November, 2012 / 5:03 pm

    I love that cartoon! Toothpaste for Dinner is amazing. don’t beat yourself up about it – if you’re not homeless and putting dinners on the table you must be doing summat right.

  6. Nicky Richards
    1 November, 2012 / 8:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing that website….. Doh, just wasted half an hour of precious work time!!!

  7. 1 November, 2012 / 8:56 pm

    When I have something to write I always make sure I..
    1. have an entirely clean, and fluff free writing area.
    2.have my time consuming smoothie made and even gone as far as taken a shopping trip for the perfect ingredients.
    3.have baked cookies on hand incase I get hungry, obviously baked before starting to write.
    4.have taken a rest from preparing steps 1, 2 and 3
    5.realised Ive wasted three weeks preparing and am now so late all I can write it hey click this link cos I love this product

  8. 2 November, 2012 / 8:18 pm

    Nope no tips, I’m exactly the same! Must be the creative types apart from the odd special one ;)

  9. 5 November, 2012 / 12:45 pm

    Well, you could make a list, you could leave the hoover where it is or you could just pour a large gin and tonic and keep doing what your doing – it’s good stuff – well done!

  10. 6 November, 2012 / 12:14 pm

    Very nice post about Procrastination and the creative process. I’m very happy to read it.

  11. 14 November, 2012 / 10:42 am

    Great post! I had to laugh all the time I was reading it… is it possible that my brain works the same way? :D Oh, you cannot imagine how much I hate it. Unfortunately, I’m fighting with a silly part of my brain right now! And I’m not a winner…

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