The Procrastination Conundrum / by Karishma Kusurkar

Procrastination can be good and also very very very bad.  Procrastination in its best form can lead to great side projects which can sometimes lead on to bigger things.  The amazing Jessica Hische - one of my design heroes - is a serious advocate of the side project and so am I. In fact, here are some of mine.

  From my project Spaces + Places

From my project Spaces + Places

Procrastination can also become a challenge, particularly if you are spinning lots of plates all at once, in terms of projects. As a multidisciplinary designer, it is often very easy to lack the discipline required to bring projects to fruition.  The book of ideas that I have is useful and exciting but can also be awfully distracting at times.  The problem I've encountered the most over the years is that whilst I love the ideas stages and the creative/design stages, I find myself trying to avoid some of the more boring parts and well, let's be honest, who doesn't.  

To keep myself and my projects on track, here are some of the things I have learned and which I hope you'll find useful and help keep your procrastination at a useful level.

1. Juicy numbers. Keep an eye on your finances. I absolutely hate it when creative folks claim that because they are a creative, they don't need to be financially astute - it's such an excuse! You don't need to be amazing at maths to keep control of your business costs, returns and invoices, you simply need to be co-ordinated and if you can afford it, get someone else to do it for you.  I have found that using Wave Apps to track expenditure and send out invoices is really useful and the basic account has most things you need PLUS it is free.  Beware of Wave's reminder notices though, they aren't the most delicately designed and could make your clients feel like a criminal because of the big stamp of "unpaid" written across them. To prevent client criminalisation, I recommend simply resending an invoice if it is unpaid.  That said, it is my only really criticism of them. Wave suits my needs perfectly. 

2. Bold moves. Procrastination can hit the hardest when you're feeling your lowest.  Be confident with what you do but open your door to other good ideas.  If you are like me and you work a lot on your own, it can be easy to lose confidence in yourself and start second guessing things, be it yourself, your projects, why you ever became a creative in the first place and everything else under the sun. This can lead to delays in projects, it can make you feel miserable and if you aren't able to talk about your work, others certainly won't have reason to.  This doesn't mean you've got to be annoying about it and flog your wares constantly, but do post about your projects online and tell people about what you are doing.  People are always interested and in many cases, very supportive.  If they are not supportive, try and listen to their reasons as to why they aren't. It could be that they have a genuinely helpful idea packaged up wrongly or that they are simply morons. Do give them a chance though before you discount them - and you can discount them, it's your business after all and you make the final decisions.

3. Keep your hobbies.  I love reading and I used to read a lot of books, but I confess, of late I have mostly been reading Reddit (at this point, I could definitely create a side business creating memes of puppers and doggos).  What made me conscious that I hadn't properly read a proper work of fiction in a long, long time was a literary quiz I involuntarily became involved in, in which I was terrible... really really terrible.  I was acutely aware that I did not remember a bunch of stuff that I really ought to have known. Then I remembered I hadn't read a novel in a long time.  The card game I am working on -  Espionage -  is directly linked to things I have experienced and in particular, books I have read.  This in turn made me wonder whether I was closing off future creative opportunities by casting aside my hobby of reading.  

  I procrastinated making this instead of improving my writing

I procrastinated making this instead of improving my writing

I'm not totally uncultured, I get my fix of stories from podcasts but they are all factual and any business or design reading I do is also non-fiction. All of these too are an influence on my work but sometimes there's nothing better than curling up with an awesome work of fiction to get your imagination going and maybe that is some good procrastination right there.  

I know you never asked for these tips, nevertheless, I hope they prove useful in your endeavours no matter what stage of your career you are at.  Thank you for persevering with my blog - I am finding my feet with these posts and trying to create content that is hopefully interesting and helpful to someone.   

This is my current blog description:

"Karishma's thoughts and stories on multidisciplinary design, collaboration and ideas."

Stay tuned for more of the above.

If you've got a topic or a burning question that you would like me to explore, do send it my way.