Romney is another of my Jodi Thomas cohorts. A truly lovely person. She has led a very interesting life. One that includes a few years back as a courtroom artist!
Kathy, thanks for asking me to blog to your readers. I’ll also send a copy of my book, SECRETS FROM A CREATIVITY COACH, to one responder.
Maybe your readers are wondering about what a Creativity Coach does. As a coach I help people find a way around their perceived limitations—I help people do what they say they want to do. For example, writers don’t write and painters don’t paint. So why don’t people do what they say they want to do? Most of the time the answer is procrastination. People procrastinate for many reasons (enough reasons to fill a book), but here are 3 reasons I think are worth exploring: time, value and expectancy. You can find out more about these three concepts in Piers Steel’s book THE PROCRASTINATION EQUATION.
EXPECTANCY: you delay starting because you fear the worst. Why put forth the effort when the project will probably fail?
VALUE: the less you value a task, the harder it is for you to start it. It’s human nature to put off anything that is boring or unpleasant. This is why the post office is open until midnight on April 15!
TIME: the task will “take too much time” so it’s easy to postpone or a task can be done “anytime” or “some other time.” The catch to this one is that sooner or later the task will have to be done and by then you may be pressed to do your best.
Here are the solutions:
To solve an EXPECTANCY problem don’t dwell on what could go wrong; instead remember your past successes. Seek ways to stay encouraged, for example, surround yourself with people who are working toward their goals. For example stay away from people who only talk about writing but never write! Speaking of goals, do you have well-defined goals? In a coaching session if I asked you to tell me your goals, could you? If the answer is no, take a moment to write one goal for the day, week, month or even a long-term goal. Your goals should be a sentence. Now look at the gap between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow (your goal). Develop a daily plan of small measureable action steps to bridge the gap.
To solve a VALUE problem you must reframe the way you view the task (from no value to some value). Reward yourself when you complete an unpleasant task. Check your calendar to see if you have truly overcommitted your available hours and if you have, see where you can drop a club meeting or commitment to free up some time. Maintain a calm and organized working environment. A visually pleasing work space really does make it easier to sit down and do your work.
To solve a TIME problem see your future as concretely as you see the present. For example, if you’re working on a book make a fake cover of your work in progress. Tape this fake cover over another book and display it on your desk. To use your time more efficiently, define the steps of the project so you’ll know exactly what you need to do. Small increments of free time can be allocated to small tasks. Little by little it will get done. You can up your motivation by creating a series of short term deadlines like a certain number of words written per day. For writers I advocated tracking the number of words written per day (output) rather than tracking time spent writing (input). Only count NEW WORDS to steer your efforts away from rewriting and editing. Use your high energy time slots on high-value activities. Don’t use your best minutes on household chores. I will never forget the client who wanted me to help her finish her book. When I asked her when she felt most energetic she told me between breakfast and lunch. When I asked her if she wrote during that time, she said “Oh no, that’s when I do my grocery shopping and clean my house. I can get so much more done then!” When I suggested she shift her writing time to her most energetic time slot and do her grocery shopping mid-afternoon she was amazed. She understood her body’s rhythm or high and low energy waves but she hadn’t realized she could use this information to her advantage career-wise.
In Steel’s book there is a test to help you determine if you struggle with expectancy, value or time issues, but you can probably figure it out on your own. Try one or two of my easy suggestions and see if you can push procrastination out of your life.
I welcome your comments and questions. There’s a lot more I could say about this topic, but I bet this is enough info to get things going with your readers.
Romney Nesbitt is a Creativity Coach, artist, author, and art teacher with a B.F.A. in art, M.A. in Painting and a Master of Divinity degree. Nesbitt is the author of SECRETS FROM A CREATIVITY COACH.
She writes an advice column for artists, “Ask a Creativity Coach,” in ART FOCUS OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE.
Romney has worked in the art field for over 30 years as a painter, art teacher, community college professor, illustrator, and courtroom artist. She began writing in 2004 and presents workshops on the creative process locally and nationally.
As a creativity coach, she helps people problem-solve their way out of limiting thinking in order to reach their creative goals.
20 MINUTES! that’s just crazy. But you are right. You think you’ll spend just a little bit answering emails, checking amazon, a couple of tweets, and voila! three hours have passed.
Andrea, yes! Procrastination does manifest in social networking sites, youtube videos etc. It’s too easy to just “take a minute” to check your FB page and before you know it 15 or 20 minutes has passed. Time is precious and little bits of time add up to things like novels, paintings, meditation time, journaling, hand-made gifts etc. I encourage you to limit your on screen time to 20 minutes a day–total! That’s plenty to keep up with your friends etc. and spend all that extra time on things that feed your spirit.
You would, indeed! I have it, and it’s great.
Great article. My procrastination has names like facebook, twitter, etc 🙂
I would love this book!