Productivity and Focus

Process Not Perfection-Overcoming Procrastination and Perfectionism

Perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. When you procrastinate you may say:

“I need time to think this through before I get started”

“I’m not in the mood”

“I need to get organized before I start”

“I have other things to do first”

“Let me check off some easy things on my to do list before I do that big project”

“It’s better when I work under pressure”

Except when you don’t. Then the overwhelm of procrastination and perfectionism begin to take over and you crack under pressure. Here are tips in breaking through procrastination and getting things done.

There are several art teachers I’ve had in the past few years that have been patient in explaining the art process and procrastination.

The process of creating art is not unlike any other process or project for work. Sometimes it’s not about perfect. It’s about getting started. And getting things done. You could be an artist in a studio or a lawyer working on a deposition and if your crippled with procrastination it’s difficult to move forward.

When my art teacher Edna Dapo of Phoenix Center for the Arts shared this video about creating art I knew it would speak to the many people who struggle with perfectionism. It also speaks to those who struggle with procrastination. Many of you know I am an artist-painting, ceramics, jewelry, drawing. It’s not something I share with a larger audience because I sometimes feel like my art could always be better.  This video is a reminder that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it has to get finished. There are many great things I’ve learned from my art teachers. Edna Dapo, my painting and drawing teacher at Phoenix Center for the Arts, says’ “It is not the finished product that you need to focus on, it is in the process of creating. In creating, you become a better artist.”

When I would complain how hard jewelry fabrication especially bezel making, my patient and kind jewelry teacher Carol Berger Taylor would be quick to remind me that “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” In whatever you’re doing you may feel inadequate or feel like it’s not perfect. When you can move away from that and focus on finishing you can leverage your procrastination, level your perfectionism and get more done.

My high school art teacher, David Robinson an accomplished ceramicist and painter gave me the best advice of all. “Make a mark on the page.” You could be writing an email, working on a project or starting a painting, just get started. Get into action.

If you struggle with procrastination join me at Ironwood Public Library on March 28 from 6:00 pm -7:30 for a workshop on Leveraging Your Procrastination. Learn ways to take control of your workday.

Another workshop to attend is at Grotto Gallery in Tempe. This four-part productivity series is geared to artist who need to get more productive with their work.


Margo Crawford is a Certified Coach in Productivity. As a Productivity Expert she works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She coaches by phone nationally and in person in Phoenix, Providence and Boston. If you want to get more productive and organized in your office call 602-677-8275 or email [email protected]