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3 Ways to Beat Creative Procrastination

3 Ways to Beat Creative Procrastination

Over the New Year, I had the luxury of catching up with an old friend. She is currently a design college student in America taking some subjects in Animation. Despite her night-owl lifestyle filled with sketches and digital rendering, she still feels pressurized to work harder.

“I really should be doing more animation stuffs now,” she told me in an MSN conversation.

I replied that I was surprised at her will to overwork herself. So I advised her to go easy on herself. Then I told her a horror story of an ex-colleague who turned into a listless workaholic. He was an art director of an advertising agency. When I last heard of him, his colleague told me that his life revolves around design, conceptualizing and practically nothing else. He appears at work looking unshaven with a T-shirt and Bermudas. Then he begins his day conceptualizing and fleshing out artwork for pitches and existing clients. In a nutshell, his life revolved around work with minimal to no social life.

The extremity of the story seemed to shock my friend on the prospects of her impending career. This extreme reality of the design industry exists. And it still remains probably one of the biggest challenges to many designers today. This article technically will not solve the problem once and for all, but it sure will help utilize your time to the fullest:

Get Started!

One of the hardest parts to any mean feat is to get started. It feels like getting out of bed on a Monday morning. To a designer, getting started usually means opening a working file on a relevant design program.

– Take things one step at a time. A to-do list is useful. Being able to anticipate what happens next will make matters easier to understand.

– Plan your work in your head. It is natural to have no idea what to do if you open your design program without thinking of what you want done. Do the mental work in your head while you are commuting or taking a shower.

– Complete the first step to the task – whether it is naming a new folder for the artwork, or opening a new word document. If you have been a hard worker, your brain will take this as a signal to get started.


Getting the right idea to deliver the right treatment can seem like a fine art of its own. Researching will help pad up what you are looking for. However, it should not be a replacement for proper conceptualizing. Doing so is as good as adding more ingredients to replace cooking.

– Write down ALL your ideas on paper, no matter how dumb you think it is. Fine-tuning an idea can provide effective results.

– Draw a mind map. Write down your key objective and branch out with other ideas. Do a second round of mind-mapping if you want to avoid clich?� ideas.

– Ask around for opinions. This is the best way to get a fresh perspective on matters. It can even boost your morale to work.

Challenge Yourself

The best way to get stronger is to keep facing challenges. Professional athletes keep training to shave seconds off their records. Designers can do the same too.

– Give yourself a reasonable deadline and stick to it. A deadline may sound stressful, but it gives you a goal to aim for.

– Get out of your comfort zone. For example, if you are a right hander, try writing with your left hand for awhile. Making new comfort zones exercises the mind to be more creative.

– Learn something new. Getting better at using a program or learning how to use new methods will increase productivity. Enrolling into a top design school for training will teach you about the more formal aspects of design.