Creative Geniuses, including adults with ADHD, often use procrastination, sometimes even intentionally, to get things done, at least those things that don’t pique your interest. For days, perhaps even weeks, you try to coax yourself into completing a task you’ve committed to or have to do.
Each time you sit down to do it, you’re distracted by something more pressing, more important or, let’s face it, more interesting, and despite your effort, you don’t make a dent in it until…
At the last minute, mere hours away from the deadline, you swing into action! With adrenaline pumping, you’re able to focus like a laser and plow through the project or task. You’re “in the zone.” Nothing keeps you from getting it done, not the ringing phone or emails arriving, not your colleagues or your hunger, family commitments fall by the wayside as does everything that normally distracts you. You’re a machine!
Most Creative Geniuses recognize themselves in the above description, and even tell me how amazing it feels when they are able to achieve this level of focus, even hyper-focus. Many admit it’s their standard approach for anything they do. And they insist the work they produce is great. But is it?
Or if it is great, have you ever wondered how much better you’d be able to do if you were able to achieve the same level of focus without waiting until the last minute? Could you go beyond great and be amazing, perhaps even be the best?
For Creative Geniuses, time is often elastic; when you’re in the zone, you’re three times as productive as most people but you can’t accomplish a boring task in a month of Sundays! No wonder you’re usually a poor judge of how long something will take to complete.
In fact, you may even rely on external signals (your boss screaming, “You haven’t started yet!?”) as an indication of when to start working. Unfortunately, it’s half-past the eleventh hour and there’s no time to review or do a final check, so even if your work is good, it’s far from the best you could have delivered.
If you think there are benefits to procrastination, consider these questions. Even if you’re “getting by,” ask yourself, could you do better if you started earlier? Are you tapping into your true potential when you use this procrastination strategy to get things done? How much better could your work be if you’d had the time to put your best effort into it?
Many Creative Geniuses tell me, “If it wasn’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done!” If you rely on that approach, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Maybe it’s time to consider learning some alternative strategies.