I recently stumbled upon a term I hadn’t heard before: Productive Procrastination. The basic definition is when someone is productive as a way to avoid doing some other productive endeavor. Weird, right?
But I get it. I know I’m guilty of it myself. I’ve caught myself working on a blog post instead of editing a story draft. Or practicing my guitar instead of writing a blog post. There’s a thing I know I should be doing, but instead, I work on some other creative project.
It’s also an oxymoron. When I think of procrastination I think about watching something streaming on my TV instead of doing laundry. Complete abandonment of the main thing I should be doing. But when you add ‘productive’ to the mix, well, it makes it seem less lazy.
This also makes me wonder if productive procrastination is actually a bad thing. Sure, I may be avoiding the thing I should be doing, but at least I’m doing something creative, right? I may not have spent an hour editing a short story draft, but at least I recorded a new podcast episode.
And who’s to say that I won’t get to that draft at some point. I’ll probably end up working on it instead of practicing guitar tomorrow.
It’s sort of a shifting of priorities. At least, that’s what I tell myself in order to lessen the guilt. I do eventually get around to doing whatever it was I was supposed to have done, I just take the scenic route on occasion.
Truth is, as long as I’m doing something creative, even if it’s due to avoiding another project, I feel it’s a win. Being creative is my passion, my reason for being. Admittedly, I have far too many interests and I know that contributes to this constantly shifting of attention. In the end, however, I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I complete something (even if it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing).
I know there’s a solution. If I were to set up a schedule to follow – editing on Monday, music on Tuesday, podcast on Wednesday, etc. – I’d probably be able to better stay on task. But scheduling creativity is boring. It kills the spontaneity of the process. That’s my favorite part of it.
I’ll just have to accept the fact that I’m a productive procrastinator when it comes to my creative endeavors. The burden I must bear. But I’ll wear it proudly. I’d rather be creating something, even if it should be something else, rather than creating nothing at all.