I'll Do It This Afternoon! Creatives On Procrastination

By
Grolsch Canvas

Procrastination; it’s something we all deal with on an almost daily basis. Whether it’s the small day-to-day tasks that we’re continually putting off or the massive projects that seem impossible to tackle, there’s always that nagging urge to leave the things that need to be done and focus on the things that don’t. In our quest to work out the best way to beat away our laziness we spoke to four of our favourite hard-working and productive creatives about how they deal with procrastination, and what they do when they just can’t fight the urge.

EIRIK TRAAVIK – EDITOR, DANK MAGAZINE

Norway-based editor and journalist Eirik Traavik founded Dank Magazine with two friends in 2011. Since the first issue it has continued to be one of the most consistently beautiful, interesting and clever skateboarding magazines around, featuring stunning photography alongside fascinating and well-written articles.

Image courtesy of Dank Magazine

How do you deal with the urge to procrastinate, and is it something that affects you often?

The urge to procrastinate is usually always there, but I've found some ways of working around it. First of all, I block access to all my go-to blogs/websites/social media-platforms with Leech Block or similar software. Then I take my phone and throw it over to the couch on the other side of our office. After that, I usually put on some music that I've listened to while working thousands of times before, background noise, really. Preferably something monotonous with little/no lyrics, Pantha Du Prince or some Madlib instrumentals or some Jon Hopkins, stuff like that, anything that helps getting into a productive trance. I also make rules for myself, these days I try not to read any news between nine and four.

What's your favourite way of procrastinating?

I used to be really into playing online Scrabble, so I used to waste a lot of time competing against others with nothing better to do in the middle of the day. Going on the Slap Forum (the site for skateboard gossip) is a favourite. I also waste a lot of time reading stuff. As a journalist, you have this constant fear that you're not up to date, and with an endless amount of articles and links at your fingertips it's pretty easy to just waste hours and hours, all while tricking yourself into thinking you're doing something productive. Cooking blogs are cool too. When I worked at home I would always make pretty extravagant lunches and a lot of coffee. If I realise that work for some weird reason isn't going to happen I'll just leave the office and go skating or running, hopefully returning with a clear head the day after.

You can find out more about Eirik and Dank Magazine on their website and Tumblr.

Image courtesy of Dank Magazine

TIMOTHY HYUNSOO LEE – ARTIST

Timothy Hyunsoo Lee is a full-time artist from New York via Seoul, South Korea. Timothy creates incredibly detailed, complex and impressive 3D paper sculptures and watercolours that draw on his scientific background as much as his personal outlook.

Image courtesy of Timothy Hyunsoo Lee

How do you deal with the urge to procrastinate, and is it something that affects you often?

I'm actually fine with procrastinating, because approaching deadlines actually make me more productive. People think of procrastination as a bad thing; I'd like to think that it's just a more honest reflection of how much we prioritise that particular task. Even though I often put off projects until the last minute, that doesn't mean I'm not constantly thinking about them. I actually have about four folders set up on my computer titled (in sequence): Things Coming Up Soon; Things Coming Up; Things Coming; Things. I place projects or reminders in these folders based on how far away they are, and as the deadlines approach the projects are placed closer towards "Things Coming Up Soon" until they're actually in that folder - and that's when I really start paying attention to them. When I'm actually working though, I'm very focused. I think stressing about getting stuff done is actually what causes people to get into a cycle of "bad" procrastination. 

What's your favourite way of procrastinating?

I'm usually reading or writing, or more often than not, I'm working on another project I find interesting. Social media (twitter, instagram, facebook) are all great ways to procrastinate but also pretty dangerous - they suck you right in - so I try to disassociate those outlets as my source of procrastination. Luckily, I'm always working on multiple projects/paintings at once so if I really don't feel like working on something, there's always other things to do.

You can see more of Tim's work on his website and Instagram.

Image courtesy of Timothy Hyunsoo Lee

DAN STIRLING – ARTIST / ILLUSTRATOR

UK-based Dan Stirling meticulously creates amazing hand-drawn artworks using fine line pens – a time-consuming craft that requires patience, dedication and skill.

Image courtesy of Benedict Stenning

How do you deal with the urge to procrastinate, and is it something that affects you often?

‘Procrastinate from procrastinating’ is a pretty lame meme I just thought of! I feel blessed to have what I consider a vivid imagination and maybe a heightened sense of observation. I’m never short of ideas or inspiration for personal projects. As my drawings can take up to months to complete, tending to my wellbeing is a new skill I’m having to take on; getting out and interacting with people at least once a day is a new thing that you could say I procrastinate over more than the drawing itself. I can easily go a few weeks without much human contact, drawing solidly, but it's not the best idea if you don’t want to lose your marbles! Most of my ideas come to me when I’m alone, but without human contact I tend to overthink an idea until its dead. I think it helps to have a laugh in order to relax which is sometimes when the best ideas reveal themselves.  Exercise gives me the mental balance I need to motivate me in all aspects of life.

What's your favourite way of procrastinating?

Ironically my favourite way of procrastinating is the thing I think we all need to procrastinate from - staring at screens, clicking, scrolling, searching, Instagram, Facebook and the futile battle of keeping updated. It almost seems like we don’t have a choice at the moment, but we do, and because its always going to be there I think we should learn to be more present and aware.

You can see more of Dan's work on his website and Instagram.

Image courtesy of Dan Stirling

KEVIN DOUCH – BIG SCARY MONSTERS RECORDING COMPANY

Kevin Douch started up the independent record label Big Scary Monsters over 10 years ago, and since then has gone on to release well over 100 records from artists including Andrew WK, Cursive and Walter Schreifels, as well as launching sub-labels and putting as much back in to the music community as a person possibly can.

Image courtesy of Kevin Douch

How do you deal with the urge to procrastinate, and is it something that affects you often?

I think being self-employed has always kept me pretty well motivated, as it's often as simple as "don't work, don't get paid!" I'd like to think I have a pretty good work ethic though and tend to beat myself up if I haven't achieved a certain amount in a day. For better or worse I begin every morning checking my emails and end every night exactly the same way, so I try to make myself as available as possible for our bands, and squeeze every bit of work time out of each day. I worked on my own from home for the first few years of the label so got very used to doing that. Weirdly it then took me ages to adapt when we moved into our first office. I found the distraction of being around other people too much and would spend half the day just spinning in my chair and disappearing down YouTube rabbit-holes!

What's your favourite way of procrastinating?

I can always tell if I'm tired and procrastinating by the number of times I check the BBC Football page in a day! Although right around this time of year I do tend to get a bit caught up in planning holidays too. That's the lousy weather’s fault though!

You can find out more about Big Scary Monsters on their website.

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