Do you find yourself saying “I’m not there yet.” I get it all the time, designing and writing in fits and bursts. Re-working and killing lines of thought that might sound clever but don’t go anywhere. Thinking about it now makes me want to rethink this whole article…
Procrastination sounds like a dirty word but in a digital world, things aren’t fixed. There’s always more than one right answer and what harm is there in looking for a better option. When did we start measuring success by how quick we can deliver and profitability on how lean we are with our time.
Technology and manufacturing seem to have led the way, promoting agile and lean methodologies. Those of us who bump up against technology are rolled into these new ways of working. We all seem to be in a race to deliver quickly and be constantly responding to small requests.
I trained as an illustrator. The illustrations I admire are carefully put together and thoughtful. You can see where time is invested.
Yet, illustrators are having to find ways to simplify their methods so that they can compete. Choosing to work with simple vectors and iterate with common assets or a theme. I can’t help thinking that these efficiencies only result in a homogenised approach. It’s too tempting to take the easy route, hold back or rework a previous solution.
Bigger projects allow for extra investment in craft and experimentation. Less pressure on speed means that we are able to take risks and not rush the thinking. I’m conscious to apply the same mindset with smaller jobs. Allowing a breathing space, taking time off the clock, pausing before committing resources. Creativity isn’t always immediate and ideas can arrive in random ways. You might be thinking about something altogether different when things start to click. Given the space to reflect makes you more focused and able to execute an idea more effectively.
There is a downside to doing nothing, my biggest regrets are the chances not taken. Some things could be done in half the time or a delay has meant that we ran out of time. Ideas can get left behind and forgotten. A more urgent project or distraction will consume our time instead.
‘Just do it’ works too. Reacting to an event or capturing a mood, responding to a news story or waking up with an idea. I like to get things done before the working day starts. Jumping the gun and not delaying can feel like you’ve cheated the system and given yourself a head start.
Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech was being written the night before but still didn’t include the most memorable part. He improvised much of the second half of the speech. If you watch it back he rarely looks down, he stops reading and starts riffing. He abandoned the script and went with the moment. He could only do this because of the hours spent speaking in church and at other events. He took the time to explore ideas and find his authentic voice.
If you want to find inspiration then consider dilly-dallying, dithering or stalling. Give yourself the head space then just do it!
I’m currently pondering over a book, find out more here:
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