Do you often procrastinate? Are you doing it now by reading this article? If yes – awesome, continue reading.
Most of us consider procrastination the biggest troublemaker and productivity killer. You see it as a vice, consequently, you try to overcome its effects, kill the procrastination beast and cheat with all the possible means.
But what if it’s not quite so? What if procrastination can virtually lead to productivity? Have you ever thought about this aspect? Many outstanding productive people, in fact, were chronic procrastinators. How did they manage to achieve success? What tips did successful people use to beat procrastination?
Here are five unusual tips from hard-core procrastinators that will help you boost your productivity level:
1. Victor Hugo: Lock away your clothes
The author of Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and many more tremendously famous novels was beating procrastination with the most extraordinary and radical means. One episode from his life is the most illustrative here.
Hugo started writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame quite close to the deadline – in the fall of 1830. While the deadline was in February 1831. His preparation was thorough, but he did not feel like writing. Thus, he did something that didn’t leave a choice – he got naked and locked away his clothes.
The aim of all that was to avoid temptations of going outside. Hugo had nothing to wear but a shawl. And for many months, this rag (as his wife claimed) was his daily uniform. Did it work? Absolutely. He finished the book weeks before the actual deadline.
2. Gerhard Richter: Create a crisis
Gerhard Richter, world known German artist and procrastinator, got millions with his paintings. For example, Abstrakis Bild was sold for $20,802,500 at Sotheby’s. How did he manage to procrastinate and, at the same time, complete paintings of photos, abstracts, “blur” photo paintings, and many more works of art?
It’s striking that he actually wastes time on garden and not on his paintings. In one of the interviews, Richter described his daily routines: “I could spend my life arranging things. Weeks go by, and I don’t paint until finally I can’t stand it any longer. I get fed up. I almost don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to become self-conscious about it, but perhaps I create these little crises as a kind of a secret strategy to push myself.
It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea.” Thus, his secret strategy to become more productive is a simple crisis.
“Chance determines our lives in important ways.” – Gerhard Richter
3. Bill Clinton: Take criticism seriously, not personally
The 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, was described as a “chronic procrastinator” by Time magazine. Could you believe that a two-time Grammy winner may be addicted to postponing? Clinton had weeks or sometimes months to make comments on the drafts of his speeches, but, eventfully, it all ended with cut-and-paste in the end.
Even his Vice President Al Gore called Clinton “punctually challenged”. However, despite all the criticism, he managed to never give up. The key secret to productivity is the way you perceive criticism, according to Bill Clinton. If you take it too personally, you won’t be able to resist the feeling of deficiency that finally leads to the inferiority complex. Therefore, keep your cool when you are criticized. Then, you have more chances to stay productive.
4. Franz Kafka: Try to wake up the night productivity
The Czech writer worked as an insurance clerk and it was the time to existential thinking. The novelist though didn’t put his ideas into action. After Kafka had been promoted, he had more time and procrastination infected him for good.
His routine day after work, as he mentioned it on one of his letters, looked like this: “Lunch till 3:30 … sleep until 7:30 … ten minutes of exercises, naked at the open window … an hour’s walk … then dinner with my family.” There is nothing about writing though. When did he actually write? Beginning from approximately 11 p.m. and continuing up to 6 a.m. Not the perfect system, for sure, but that’s was the most productive time for Kafka. It appears that he spent most of the daytime napping.
“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
5. Leonardo Da Vinci: Start several things at a time and make notes
An artist, mathematician, sculptor, writer, inventor, military engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci, is an outstanding figure in history. But despite the success he achieved, he was never focused on one thing at a time.
During his lifetime, he managed to complete only 20 paintings. The Virgin of the Rocks took him 13 years to put the final changes. While his most illustrious work The Mona Lisa – as many as 16 years. The reason for that was his multi-tasking capacity. He was an incredibly broad-minded and all-round personality with so many genius plans. To improve a willpower, he had a rule book where he had more than 7,000 pages of notes.
His procrastination wasn’t already a secret for his benefactors. And some of them threatened him with bankruptcy in order to have his work done at last.
What if procrastination can be a way to extreme productivity and perfectionism? And still, you have structured procrastination as an option and a solution.